Walking along the edge of the pond I heard a new-to-my-ears sound, an odd sort of mewing, repeated over and over again. What could that be? I snuck along as quiet as could be following the sound. To my amazement, it was a pair of Muskrats cavorting in the reeds, and they were courting and mating!!! You can just barely make out two together in the photo with the dense reeds, too dense to get a good photo, but not too dense to see what they were up to.
A female Muskrat is ready to breed at only one year of age. The breeding season lasts from March through August. A pair will mate while partially submerged, or on water-logged debris above the surface (where our little pair was mating). She may have 2-3 litters per year, with an average of 6 to 8 kits per litter.
Lest folks worry the pond will become overrun with Muskrats, they are a relatively short-lived mammal and have many, many predators including Snapping Turtles, large fish, Eastern Coyotes, Red and Gray Foxes, Weasels, River Otters, Bobcats, Great Horned Owls, and Northern Harriers. But their chief enemy are Minks and Raccoons.
For our reader’s general information, Muskrats are easy to distinguish from Beavers. They are about a tenth the size; Muskrats weigh 1 to 4 pounds whereas Beavers weighs 30 pounds or more. The muskrat’s tail is not large large and flat, but slender and elongated.
Throughout the winter of 2019-2020 we have been graced with a sweet pair of Pipits. As you can see from the map, we are fairly far north of their winter range. Sunday, March 15th, the two were seen again in their usual location at Brace Cove. They have found plenty to eat, between the wildflower seed heads and the tiny mollusks and insects available in the seaweed
That beautiful Cape Ann rosie pink light
After Thursday’s storm we tried going for a beach walk at Good Harbor, Brace Cove, and Niles before giving up and finding a less windy stroll along Niles Pond. The water was a gorgeous deep ultramarine and even the inner harbor was beautiful with whitecaps.
BY TAYLOR ANN BRADFORD
GLOUCESTER — When Brian Flynn found out that his sister Abbie was missing, he hopped on the next available flight to the East Coast.
Abbie Flynn, 59, of Gloucester went missing on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 2, around 4:30 p.m. after she had prepared to host a party at her Saint Louis Avenue home.
Ten days later, the search and investigation into the Gloucester resident’s disappearance is still inconclusive.
“I got the call on the Sunday night that Abbie went missing,” said Brian, who currently lives in Bermuda. “The Mass. State Police sent out a Facebook alert. I was with my son in California and he saw it and drove me right to the airport so I was at the house at 10 a.m.”
He said that Flynn’s family — Brian, his wife Leslie, her three children and husband Rich — were all there Monday morning.
“We just want to get Abbie back,” Brian said Friday. “That is all we care about.”
As the investigation continues, Brian feels that the family has been embraced by the entire city.
READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE HERE: https://www.salemnews.com/news/local_news/we-just-want-abbie-back/article_13709d2e-14f5-585e-bf40-10755d65d71d.html
GLOUCESSTER DAILY TIMES
BY TAYLOR ANN BRADFORD
Since 59-year-old Abbie Flynn went missing on Super Bowl Sunday, people across Cape Ann and further away have been trying to figure out what happened.
People have hypothesized about coyotes, suspicious vehicles, and made connections to drownings and other missing person cases in social media posts and in phone calls to the Times.
The Gloucester Police Department wants to put the public at ease.
“There is no indication, zero at all, no, none that this is connected in any way to any other cases or that foul play was involved,” police Chief Ed Conley told the Times on Thursday.
Conley confirmed that this is based on evidence.
“I have been as clear and transparent as I possibly can,” he said. “If I thought there was some sort of danger to the public, I would err on the side of releasing that information rather than keep it. But there is none.”
READ THE FULL STYORY HERE: