Tag Archives: Gloucester

A SPECTACULAR PAINTED LADY BUTTERFLY IRRUPTION HAPPENING RIGHT NOW!

The sheer number of Painted Ladies migrating are stealing some of the Monarchs thunder!

Many readers have written inquiring about the beautiful butterflies with wings in a tapestry of brilliant orange, brown, black, cream, and blue. Painted Ladies (Vanessa cardui) are often confused with Monarch butterflies, especially during the late summer. Both are currently migrating and you will often see the two species drinking nectar side-by-side.

As do Monarchs, Painted Ladies depart from Mexico to begin their northward migration in springtime. Both Monarchs and Painted Ladies belong to the brush-foot family (Nymphalidae) and can only survive in warm climates.

Monarch Butterfly, top, and Painted Lady bottom. Note that the Painted Lady is about half the size of the Monarch.

Sightings from the midwest recorded large numbers early in the season, and 2017 has proven to be an outstanding year for this most successful of butterflies. The Painted Lady is also nicknamed the “Cosmopolitan” butterfly because it is the most widespread butterfly in the world.

Painted Lady drinking nectar from the Seaside Goldenrod at the Gloucester HarborWalk

One reason we may possibly be experiencing a Painted Lady irruption in North America is because a rainy spring in the south was followed by a fabulous bloom of dessert annuals that provided abundant food plants for the caterpillars. Unlike Monarch butterflies, which will only deposit their eggs on members of the milkweed family (Asclepias), Painted Lady caterpillars eat a wide range of plants. More than 300 host plants have been noted; favorites include thistles, yarrow, Pearly Everlasting, Common Sunflower (Asteraceae), Hollyhock and many mallows (Malvaceae), various legumes (Fabaceae) along with members of Boraginaceae, Plantaginaceae, and Urticaceae.

Common Buckeye and Painted Lady Nectaring at the Seaside Goldenrod at the Gloucester HarborWalk  

Much, much more remains to be discovered about the beautiful Painted Lady, its habits and how their behavior and seasonal distribution varies by geographic location.

Read More about Painted Ladies here:

DANCE OF COLOR AND LIGHT

Painted Lady Drinking Nectar from the Purple-stemmed Aster

BEAUTIFUL AND ATMOSPHERIC FOG DESCENDING OVER EASTERN POINT

FV Endeavor in the Foggy Sunset

Heading out to photograph wild creatures, I found fog, too. Beginning in the afternoon and lasting into sunset, waves and ribbons of fog enveloped the east end of Gloucester until only shapes and silhouettes were visible.

Fog Ribbons and FV Endeavor

A wedding reception was underway at the Yacht Club, lots of folks were out watching the setting sun, and a photo shoot was taking place on the Dogbar. Returning home, Niles Beach and Ten Pound Island were even more shrouded in fog. Final stop was the Paint Factory to catch the last glimmer of light. Looking towards Ten Pound Island from the Paint Factory, in the last Instagram you can see the sliver of a crescent moon.

Great Auk #foggynight #gloucesterma

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Paint Factory #foggynight #gloucesterma

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Ten Pound Island #foggynight #gloucesterma

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GOOD MORNING! BROUGHT TO YOU BY FAT AND FURRY CAPE ANN RIVER OTTERS

Soulful eyes of River Otters.

What a treat to come upon this North American River Otter family foraging along the pond’s edge. They are quite shy and mine was a brief encounter, but I hope to meet up with them again soon.

River Otters are returning to Massachusetts for several reasons, including better wetland conservation, pollution control, and the fact that the remarkable comeback of North American Beavers has also helped NA River Otters. For the few short moments that I saw the otters, the youngsters were playing with each other, while also intently feeding on frogs and tadpoles.

River Otter Eating a Tadpole 

Folow this link for excellent information on River Otters in Massachusetts.

WHY YOUR PHOTO OF THE ECLIPSE MAY HAVE A MINI CRESCENT-SHAPE

The simple answer is that it is a moon-shaped lens flare! The flares in your image are crescent, or ellipse, shaped because the source of light was shaped like that. Had it been an ordinary day when the sun was not obstructed by the moon, the lens flares would have been circular. A lens flare is the phenomenon where light is scattered, or flared, in a camera’s lens system, often in response to a bright light.

The crescents in my Fujifilm camera photos are pale violet; the crescents in my iPhone photos are aqua blue-green.

The Green Darners were the first to awaken after the eclipse. #dragonflies #eclipse #gloucesterma

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IT WAS A GOOD HARBOR BEACH DOOZEY OF A DAYBREAK!

Good Morning! Brought to you by Good Harbor Beach.

The sky became increasingly dramatic as the sun rose under the thickening early morning clouds.

FRIENDS OF LITTLE CHICK

Common Tern delivering breakfast to its fledgling.

Here are a collection of recent photos of different species of shorebirds and songbirds gathering and migrating along Cape Ann beaches that Little Chick may encounter on his journey south.

During the spring breeding season Piping Plover mating adults chase all other birds out of their territory, from the largest Black-backed Gull to the tiniest Song Sparrow. At this time of year, during the summer southward migration, you’ll often see PiPl feeding alongside other PiPl, as well as with Semipalmated Plovers, Black-bellied Plovers, Killdeers, peeps, terns, and gulls.

Ruddy Turnstones

Ruddy Turnstones Photobombed

Common Tern fledgling squawking for breakfast.

Won’t someone, anyone, please, please feed me! Unlike Piping Plover chicks, Common Tern chicks cannot feed themselves at birth. Common Tern chicks can walk and swim, but it will be many weeks before they learn to fish.

Tree Swallows massing, foraging in dunes rich with insects and berries.

 Bonaparte’s Gulls

Compare Common Tern in the foreground to Bonaparte’s Gull in the background. Both have red-orange legs and feet and both are black-headed. The easiest way to differentiate when on the beach is the Common Tern’s bill is orange; the Bonaparte’s Gull’s bill is black. 

Least Sandpipers are the smallest of peeps. Note how beautifully camouflaged are they in the drying seaweed. 

Daybreak and early morning are often the most beautiful times of day to see wildlife.