Perched on the lobster traps, I only had a fleeting moment to take a photo pulling into the parking lot at Captain Joe’s. While getting my camera out, the Hawk appeared to pop into a lobster trap. He popped back out, I took a snapshot under cover of car, then off he flew.
Raptors such as Sharp-shinned Hawks and Peregrine Falcons are attracted to lobster pots because the traps often house songbirds such as sparrows. The smaller birds eat the crusty tidbits found on the pots and the larger birds have learned to find a tasty meal there.
Sharp-shinned Hawk Range Map
Several years back when there was a male Snowy Owl at Captain Joe’s, a Peregrine Falcon flew on the scene, defending his territory by repeatedly dive bombing the Owl. The Falcon disturbed him so much so that the Snowy eventually departed.
Lobster Boat Arethusa and Crèche of Common Eider Hens and Ducklings
You never know what wonderful glimpses of wild life you may encounter at Captain Joe and Sons. Sunday morning during the podcast, a crèche of fourteen Common Eider ducklings and their mother hens were spotted, bobbing in the waves and foraging at the edge of the dock.
Common Eider Moms, along with non-breeding “aunties,” band together for protection. The individual broods come together to form a crèche, which may include as many as 150 ducklings!
The Cape Ann Monarch Milkweed Project was positively a resounding success. Thank you to everyone who ordered and picked up your milkweed plants. Thank you to Joe Ciaramitaro from Good Morning Gloucester who turned my small seed of an idea into a fabulous community-wide project and who also very kindly offered Captain Joe and Sons for mug up and pick up. Thank you to all my GMG fellow contributors and all the FOBs for coming, and for everyone’s enthusiasm in the project.
And, most importantly, the Monarchs thank you!!!
We have exactly fourteen plants remaining and all fourteen are spoken for. After all the plants are picked up and the money totaled, we will have enough to make a donation to the Rocky Neck Cultural Center. So thank you again. I am very inspired by the success of the program and plan to later in the summer have a Cape Ann Monarch Aster and Goldenrod Program.
Monarch Butterflies at Eastern Point
How to Plant and Care for Your Milkweed Plants
Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) has a taproot. Plants with taproots do not like to be disturbed once established so it is best to plant your Common Milkweed seedlings as soon as possible. Common Milkweed is not too fussy about soil and is the milkweed we see growing in fields, roadsides, dunes, and meadows. It can reach up to six-feet in height, but more commonly grows two- to four-feet. Common Milkweed spreads by underground shoots and by seed dispersal.
The Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) are well-rooted year-old plants and can be planted in the garden now, or within the next month or so. Marsh Milkweed grows best in good garden soil and/or moist areas. Marsh Milkweed is clump forming and does not spread by underground shoots.
Both milkweed species prefer full sun, but will take some slight shade. Plant with the soil line equal to the soil line in the pot. Place a stake nearby so that you do not step on your little milkweed seedling. Water gently. Check frequently on your milkweed plant until it is fully established. Water when dry, but do not over water. Monitor for milkweed aphids. Milkweed aphids are tiny soft-bodied orange insects. If you do see any aphids, gently wash them away with water; no soap or strong pesticides needed!
Hooray–our milkweed plants shipped from Missouri Monday and should arrive to Gloucester by Thursday!!!
Plants will be available for pick up at Captain Joe and Sons, 95 East Main Street, Saturday morning at 9:00am and we will be there all morning until noon. Felicia is helping and we will have coffee for everyone. Written instructions will be provided on how to take care of your plants. Looking forward to seeing you all at the first ever Monarch~Milkweed Mug Up!
I did not collect the funds ahead of time. Please everybody, if you ordered plants, be sure to pick-up Saturday morning. I am counting on you!! If the project is successful, we will do this again later in the season, with Seaside Goldenrod and New England Asters, but we can only have another plant sale if everyone honors their commitment. Thank you!!
For more detailed information, see previous posts:
Thank you to everyone participating in the Cape Ann Milkweed Project!
Monarch Butterfly Nectaring at Common Milkweed ~ Good Harbor Beach
Milkweed may not be for everyone’s garden; even if you did not order plants, you are welcome to come on down to the dock Saturday morning, the 18th of May, and learn more about the Monarch-milkweed connection. The plants are being shipped on Monday the 13th and I will keep you updated on their progress.
Tonight I am placing the order for the milkweed plants. Please get your orders in.
Thank you, thank you to Everyone participating in our Cape Ann Milkweed Project!!!
Newly Emerged Monarch Butterflies. I called these two butterflies the” Twins,” because they completed every stage of their life cycle within moments of each other, including pupating and emerging from their chrysalides.
Everyone who wrote in yesterday and placed an order has been recorded. Anyone interested in ordering either Common or Marsh Milkweed today, please place your order in the comment section of this post or yesterday’s post, which explains the project, and includes all details. Don’t forget to specify whether you are interested in Common or Marsh Milkweed and how many plants you would like.
Thank you so much to everyone who is participating. Keep the orders coming!
Monarch Caterpillars Feeding on Milkweed in the Summer…
In March I shared an article about bringing back the Monarch Butterflies. Great interest in planting milkweed was expressed by many. The way to bring as many Monarchs as possible to our region is to help recreate the butterfly’s habitat in our own gardens. The number one way to do this is by planting native wildflowers, milkweed for the summer caterpillars, and asters and goldenrod for the fall migrants. Number two is to make a commitment not to use pesticides, which will indiscriminately kill all the creatures that your milkweed plants invite to your garden.
Monarch Eggs on Common Milkweed ~ see the tiny yellow pinhead-sized dots on the top of the upper leaves of the milkweed plants (click to view larger)
Milkweed is the only food plant of the Monarch caterpillar and the flower is a fantastic source of nectar for myriad species of bees and butterflies.
So many readers wrote in requesting milkweed plants that my friend Joey from Good Morning Gloucester blog has very generously offered his place of business—Captain Joe and Sons—as our go-to-place for picking up plants!! It’s going to be a super fun morning–stop by with your coffee, visit, learn about milkweed and Monarchs, and pick up your order.
Please place your order today or tomorrow. I am not pre-collecting the money and am fronting the funds to purchase plants. I don’t want to have dozens of homeless plants, so I am asking everyone to please be on the honor system.
We are ordering two types of milkweed. The cost is 7.00 per plant, which will come in a 3.5 inch square pot. The plants are on the smallish side however, that is the ideal size for shipping and transplanting milkweed. I am writing instructions for planting and they will be provided at the time of purchase.
Monarch Caterpillars J-Shape on Common Milkweed Getting Ready to Turn into a Chrysalis
Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is the milkweed we see most typically growing in our dunes, meadows, roadsides, and fields. It grows quickly and spreads vigorously by underground runners. This is a great plant if you have an area of your garden that you want to devote entirely to milkweed. It prefers full sun, will tolerate some shade, and will grow in nearly any type of soil. The flowers are dusty mauve pink and have a wonderful honey-hay sweet scent.
Marsh Milkweed (Aclepias incarnata) is more commonly found in marshy areas, but it grows beautifully in gardens. It does not care for dry conditions. These plants are very well-behaved and are more clump forming, rather than spreading by underground roots. The flowers are typically a brighter pink than Common Milkweed.
Monarchs deposit their eggs readily on both types of milkweed and in my garden I grow Common Milweed and Marsh Milkweed side-by-side.
The cost of the plants includes shipping from Missouri. Hopefully everyone will be good and if they place an order, will honor their commitment. If there is any money beyond what was spent on plants and shipping we will donate it to the ongoing fundraising drive for the Rocky Neck Cultural Center purchase of the beautiful center on Wonson Street.
Plant pick-up is at Captain Joe and Sons, 95 East Main Street, Gloucester, on Saturday, May 18th from 9:00am to 12noon. If you cannot pick up your plants at that time, please ask a friend.
My order to the nursery is being placed on Tuesday night, so please get your orders in asap. Place Your Milkweed Order in the comment section of this post. Be sure to indicate which type of milkweed, Common or Marsh, and number of plants.
Our deepest thanks to everyone who is participating.
Female and Male Monarch Butterfly on Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
Rain date pick up: Sunday, May 19th from 9am to 12noon.
Boston Globe garden writer Carol Stocker stopped by to visit my garden today. I made lobster salad, purchased fresh from Captain Joe’s earlier in the morning. She thought the lobsters so delicious she wanted to bring some home to her family and also meet fellow blogger Joey Ciaramitaro.
Carol Stocker and Joey Ciaramitaro
Check out Carol’s outstanding gardening blog where several times weekly she posts information and updates about all things gardening for our region–horticultural advice, garden tour and plant sale schedules, design tips, and with links to her weekly live gardening chat.
Standing at the parking lot’s edge I turned west toward the silvery setting sun. As the clouds broke the reflected light beneath the pilings caught my eye and a familiar scene became new again. We would be hard pressed to take a bad photo from nearly any Gloucester Harbor vantage point!
The gorgeous weather coinciding with the long weekend is a gift and I am trying to enjoy every spare moment, spending time with my family along with taking advantage of the added opportunity to film more “B” roll for video projects. While photographing at Good Harbor Beach late in the day yesterday afternoon two Monarchs heading south flew past. There is a little passel traveling through Gloucester this weekend, along with a host of yellow sulphurs. Look for the butterflies on asters and seaside goldenrod.
I am delighted to tell you about several of my upcoming fall programs:
Two of my oldest and dearest friends came for lunch this past week, Jeannette and Kate. I was in a jam for time and struggling with what to prepare. How silly to be stressed–what could possibly be more welcoming to serve to out of town friends than fresh lobster from the shores of Cape Ann? I ran over to the dock at Captain Joe’s the night before lunch, purchased four lobsters for a very reasonable price, cooked all four, ate one for dinner that evening, and shucked the meat of the remaining three. The next morning I found the most gorgeous and savory olive baguette at Alexandra’s Bread. I served the cold lobster, very lightly dressed with mayonnaise, over a bed of farm fresh baby romaine and my version of ceasar salad dressing, garnished with colorful wedges of fresh cantaloupe, and Alexandra’s bread. Lunch was simple to prepare, local, nutritious, delicious, and a huge hit!
I am so regretful I did not take any snapshots, but am not very good at entertaining and photographing simultaneously. Kate was snapping away with her iphone. Both she and my daughter take wonderful photos with their iphones–I think it has as much to do with their great “eye” as it does with the phone’s eye. I’ll write more about my friend Kate’s jewelry design business in a future post. You may have clicked on her link from the Designer section of my blog: Kate Hines. My beautiful ‘girl-with-a-pearl’ earrings that I wear nearly everyday were a gift from husband, made by Kate.
Kate Hines Photo ~ This is a mirror I made (or rather glued the shells to the old frame) years ago. Where did i find the time to do that??