Tag Archives: Gloucester

EASTER’S APRIL FULL MOON #pinkmoon

Beautiful to see Easter morning’s full Pink Moon descending behind the twin towers of City Hall

OH JOYOUS SPRING!

Happy Spring dear Friends!

Please forgive me if I am slow to respond to your notes, emails, and kind comments. I am so sorry about that but am spending every spare minute on the Piping Plover film project, creating the first rough cut while converting six plus years of footage. And uncovering wonderful clips of these extraordinary creatures, some I am just seeing for the first time since shooting! Not an easy task but I am so inspired and full of joy for this project, trying not to become overwhelmed, and taking it one chunk at a time, literally “bird by bird,” as Anne Lamott would say.

From daily walks, a mini migration update –

Gadwall female

Gadwall and American Wigeon pairs abound. Both in the genus Mareca, they share similar foraging habits when here on our shores and can often be seen dabbling for sea vegetation together.  The Orange-crowned Warbler was still with us as of mid-week last, as well as the trio of American Pipits. The very first of the Great Egrets have been spotted and Killdeers are coming in strong. The first Ruby-throated Hummingbirds will be here any day now; at the time of this writing they have migrated as far north as North Carolina

Have you noticed the Weeping Willows branches are turning bright yellow? In the next phase they will become chartreuse. For me it it one of the earliest, earliest indicators that trees are starting to emerge from dormancy. And our magnolia buds are beginning to swell, too. Please write with your favorite early signs of spring and I’ll make a post of them.

xxKim

Male and Female Gadwalls, American Wigeons, Black Ducks, and Buffleheads foraging for aquatic vegetation

More spring scenes

Eastern Screech Owl in camo, possibly brown morph 

Owl on the prowl

White-tailed Deer at Dusk

Orange-crowned Warbler

Orange-crowned Warbler preening

RED-TAILED HAWK SETTING OUT FOR THE HUNT

Nearly every afternoon late in the day, we see this beautiful young Red-tailed Hawk hovering to hunt prey, seemingly effortlessly suspended in mid-air and barely moving a muscle.

EASTERN POINT BEACON PAINT BOX SUNSET

Eastern Point Dogbar and Lighthouse Beacon

LAST OF GLOUCESTER’S COAST GUARD ISLAND CUTTERS, THE KEY LARGO

By 2023, the Coast Guard plans to phase out home-ported Island Cutters. They will be replaced with a fleet of six larger vessels called Fast Response Cutters that will be ported and maintained in Boston.

USCG Key Largo from Niles Beach

NEW SHORT FILM – MYSTICAL CASTLE BY THE SEA

Ocean effect snow creates a magical scene at Hammond Castle.

 

WINTER WONDERLAND AT HAMMOND CASTLE IN THE SNOW

Gloucester’s most magical of castles-by-the-sea

 

For more about the unique architecture of Hammond Castle click the link HERE.

My daughter Liv and I love the Cloisters in Manhattan and it’s so interesting to learn that Rockefeller, Hammond’s friend and peer, was so intrigued by Hammond’s new castle, he was inspired to build the Cloisters!!

GLOUCESTER’S LOBSTER TRAP TREE IN THE SNOW!

Gloucester’s very own wonderfully unique Lobster Trap Tree, the only one in the world decorated with buoys painted by local kids and local artists.

January 22 and 23rd are “pick up your buoys” days

BEAUTIFUL HARBORVIEW INN IN THE SNOW

The Harborview Inn always appears lovely and well kept and I often want to stop and take a photo of their summer gardens. The Inn looked especially beautiful in the fresh fallen snow and I couldn’t pass without stopping this time.

The Harborview Inn is open all year round. For more information email at info@harborviewinn.com and check out their live webcam from the front porch that faces the boulevard.

#lunareclipse BEAVER FROST NOVEMBER FULL MOON

The rain put the kibosh on viewing the full lunar eclipse, but happily the skies cleared fairly quickly to catch what I think is the tail end. You can see in the photo below that the Earth is casting a reddish shadow on the lower right side of the moon. The Moon had a lovely overall golden rusty-reddish hue as it was descending over the Harbor and behind Our Lady of Good Voyage.

I took a bunch of photos of the beautiful Beaver Moon over the past few days, the skies have been so cooperative!, and will try to find the time to post this weekend.

VENUS AND THE WAXING CRESCENT MOON

Beautiful sky, Moon, and Venus Sunday night.

AUTUMN HARVEST – SONGBIRDS FEASTING ON FRUITS, BERRIES, AND SEEDS

A very berry morning to you!

During early morning walks it has been a joy to observe the many beautiful songbirds breakfasting  on the array of autumn foods readily available, truly a smorgasbord of seeds, berries, and fruits.

My wild creature habitat radar has been especially drawn to a wonderful spot, so nicknamed ‘Four Berries Corners.’ Always alive at this time of year with chattering songbirds, there is a lovely crabapple tree, bittersweet, a small tree with black berries, privet I think, and two scraggly, but highly productive, Eastern Red Cedar trees.

In thinking about the about the most successful habitats for songbirds, a combination of seed-producing wildflowers, grasses, and garden flowers are planted along with primarily native flowering and fruiting trees and shrubs. The shrubs and trees also play the important role of providing nesting habitat and protective cover. The photo collection is a small sampling, and meant for design inspiration.

Native Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) and Male House Finches

A male and female House Finch feeding each other in the Crabapples!

 

Grass seeds, much beloved by many including Song Sparrows, Bobolinks, and even Snow Buntings

Poison Ivy berries – by no means am I suggesting to plant, just mentioning that over 60 species of birds have been documented eating Poison Ivy drupes.

Cattail seed heads for male Red-winged Blackbirds

 

Sunflower Seeds fo all!

Along with songbirds, come their predators. Look for Merlins, Red-tailed and Cooper’s Hawks

Blue Jay preening after a morning of berry eating

The berries of Spindle Tree are the most beautiful part of the tree, but the tree is not recommended as it reseeds freely and is notorious for pushing out species of native trees and shrubs.

Seed heads make great perches for dragonflies and damselflies

Coyotes getting in on the action– much of their scat at this time of year has plainly visible partially digested fruits and berries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BRIDGES BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH – CELEBRATING DIA DE MUERTOS NOVEMBER 2, 2021

I think perhaps because we are enjoying more freedom than we have had over the past year and a half, coupled with delightfully balmy weather, this year’s All Hallows Eve was especially magical and festive. I love how our East Gloucester neighbors celebrate the evening. The surrounding streets become a spread-out block party of sorts, with families and friends traveling in large groups, kids running rambunctiously about, sometimes with the adults, sometimes not, lots of laughter, catching up, treats, and funny tricks. And it seemed as though everyone stepped up their decorations, too.

We love making our ofrenda, not only as a tribute to loved ones that have passed, but I think of our offering as a way to express love for the beautiful creatures in our lives.

Celebrating Dia de Muertos brings back cherished memories of my sweet brother, who died way too young. Our beloved and generous grandmother, Mimi, was an artist who provided tremendous inspiration to me during her long, full, life well-lived. I think too of my husband’s best friend and song writing partner, Brian, who also died needlessly and way too young.

Joyful thoughts turn to the carved wooden creatures representative of a Piping Plover, Snowy Owl, and our crazy, fun, affectionate cat Cosmos, who passed away at 27 years old. This year we added a  wonderfully thoughtful  gift from my friend Mary Weissblum, a very realistic hand painted Monarch.

To add to the magic, the three Monarchs that eclosed during the wildly windy nor’easter, along with a fourth that emerged early Halloween morning, were released. Mid-day on the 31st, the four began shivering and quivering, as if waking from a deep sleep. When muscles were sufficiently warmed, they all took flight in a southwesterly direction.

Safe travels Monarca!

“Piping Plover”

“Snowy Owl”

Cosmos

Beautiful Monarch from Mary

Bridges Between Life and Death ~  Celebrating Halloween – Dia de Muertos – All Souls Day – All Saints Day  ~ October 31st  through November 2nd

HUNTERS MOON FROM THE BACKSHORE

October’s full Hunter Moon

BEAUTIFUL BASS ROCKS AND OCEAN HOUSE HOTEL

Snapshot from a recent afternoon. Love these autumn skies!Ocean House Hotel

DEER FAMILY MUNCHING ON FALLEN APPLES!

Please join us for a free live premiere of Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly at the Shalin Liu on Thursday, September 23rd, at 7pm. I hope to see you there! For more information go here.

Beautiful doe and two fawns find a treasure trove of fallen apples –

The two fawns were playful towards each other, stopping frequently to nuzzle and check out what the other was eating.

 

REMINDER: SAVE SALT ISLAND ZOOM CONSERVATION COMMISSION MEETING TONIGHT AT 6PM

SAVE SALT ISLAND MEETING TONIGHT AT 6PM.

PLEASE COME AND LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD

HERE IS THE LINK TO THE CITY’S PAGE, WHICH WILL TAKE YOU TO THE ZOOM MEETING

THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST!

HORSESHOE CRABS AT GOOD HARBOR BEACH! (AND SMITH’S COVE)

On Monday morning Good Harbor Beach daily walker, Bill, spotted a Horseshoe Crab at the shoreline. It was burrowing in the sand and heading out by the time I ran over to photograph. When I wrote about this briefly in a Piping Plover post, Tom Schaefer shared that he had recently seen a pair mating at Good Harbor Beach! And Martha Cooney wrote to say she and her brother had seen a Horseshoe Crab a Smiths Cove.

Horseshoe Crabs are seen at many of our local beaches and inlets but I think it is a fairly rare occurrence at GHB. If you have ever seen a Horseshoe Crab at Good Harbor Beach, please write and let us know. And we’d love to know also of any recent sightings around the north shore. Thank you!

Burrowing in

From Mass Audubon –

Horseshoe Crab Massachusetts Conservation Efforts

Horseshoe crabs have been crawling ashore in Massachusetts for about 350 million years, and they look the same now as they did when living side-by-side with dinosaurs.

In fact, horseshoe crabs are commonly referred to as “living fossils” because they are one of the most ancient creatures still living today.

The species that currently calls Massachusetts home is the Atlantic Horseshoe Crab (Limulus polyphemus). Unfortunately, the Commonwealth’s population of these incredible marine animals is in decline and facing increasing threats to their survival.

Species Overview


Horseshoe crabs are one of the most fascinating creatures in our oceans!

Unique Adaptations

They have excellent eyesight thanks to 5 pairs of eyes, and can see just as well at night as they can during the day. Horseshoe crabs also have a wide field of vision, which means they can see their surroundings in all directions—in front, behind, both sides, and above!

Photoreceptors on their tails are sensitive to circadian rhythms, enabling horseshoe crabs to “tell time” by tracking the hours of daylight. Large chemical receptors on their legs gather sensory input in much the same way as insect antennae.

Mating & Nesting

In spring, adult crabs make their way onto beaches during full moons to mate. Females usually only come ashore to nest for a single tide cycle each year. Males use their front clasping claws to physically attach themselves to their chosen mate, and they will stay attached for the entire tide cycle (or longer!). The female digs shallow nests about 5″-10″ deep in the sand, where she then lays 2-5 clusters that each consist of anywhere from 2,000-4,000 eggs.

Development takes 2-4 weeks, during which the eggs will molt four times before finally hatching. Once hatched, larvae remain in their clusters in the sand, not feeding, for several more weeks. They then molt into tiny, spiny juveniles and usually swim out to sea at the next moon cycle. Young crabs will spend anywhere from a few weeks to a full year near the beach where they hatched before heading out to new waters.

Conservation Status


In Massachusetts, horseshoe crabs are harvested to be used as bait for the eel and conch fisheries. Additionally, their blood is the only source of a chemical that’s used to test medical devices and injectable drugs for toxins. When harvested for medical use, the crabs are caught, bled, and then returned to the water.

Increased harvesting of these fascinating animals threatens their population. The problem has been compounded by closures of horseshoe crab fisheries in New Jersey, New York, and other neighboring states. As a result, there is increased harvest pressure on the dwindling populations of horseshoe crabs in Massachusetts waters.

It’s crucial that state managers have a robust estimate of the number of crabs in Massachusetts before they can set appropriate harvest quotas to ensure a sustainable fishery. As a first response, Massachusetts has reduced the annual quota for horseshoe crabs and prohibited harvests around full moons from late April through June.

Research & Ways to Help


Mass Audubon has been conducting long-term surveys of spawning horseshoe crabs on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard since 2001 in collaboration with the University of Rhode Island, the National Park Service, the MA Division of Marine Fisheries, and several other organizations and institutions.

At our Felix Neck and Wellfleet Bay wildlife sanctuaries, conservation staff work with trained community science volunteers in the spring and early summer to count adult horseshoe crabs spawning at several sites on and around the new and full moons at high tide.

The data collected during these surveys is submitted to the MA Division of Marine Fisheries, which uses the information to determine the best conservation and management practices for Massachusetts horseshoe crabs and the horseshoe crab fishery.

We invite you to join our efforts to help preserve these very special marine animals! Volunteers are needed every year during April, May, and June to count horseshoe crabs as they come onto beaches to spawn at high tide during the new and full moons.

Heading out to sea

 

MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS, CAPE ANN STYLE!

Just as did Robert McCloskey’s Beacon Hill Mr. and Mrs. Mallard Duck hatch eight ducklings, so too did our Niles Pond pair. Meet Luck, Chuck, Puck, Cluck, Stuck, Huck, Oouck, and Muck.

The family foraged for seaweed in the rough surf of the Cove before crossing the berm. The ducklings bathed, preened, and swam in fresh water Niles Pond. Mrs Mallard found a cozy patch of dried reeds to take a nap, which lasted all of two minutes before the little quackers were back in the water.

WARBLERS AND WHATNOTS! HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A BAY-BREASTED WARBLER?

The past week I have been astounded with the array of warblers that we are seeing in our garden and on walks in the neighborhood. The big attraction in the garden is the native pink flowering dogwood tree (Cornus florida ‘Rubra’), my neighbor’s maple tree and the tiny insects feeding there, and our funky weathered old bird bath. There has been so much activity in the bird bath we are changing the water several times a day! Perhaps the travelers are dusty and dirty and appreciate the fresh bathing water.

American Redstart

One of the most fun to see was an American Redstart and the new-to-my-eyes Bay-breasted Warbler.

Bay-breasted Warbler

We also had a trio of black and white birds for an afternoon, the Black and White Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, and a female Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Black and White Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, and Yellow-rumped Warbler

There’s much that could be written about each species. I’m posting these photos for ID purposes in case anyone else has noticed a recent influx of warblers in your backyard or neighborhood. Please write if you do. Thank you!

Common Yellowthroat taking a bath

 

CHASING RAINBOWS OVER GLOUCESTER

Last night’s lovely rainbow, from the Back Shore and Brace Cove. For a few moments it was a partial double rainbow.

 

HAPPY MOM’S DAY!

Think Pink!

Sharing this beautiful arrangement sent to us by our daughter Liv. The bouquet looks exquisite no matter which way you turn the vase, and is becoming more beautiful with each passing day. The fabulous combination of scents – of roses, peonies, and Oriental lilies – are wafting through our home.  Created by Audrey’s Flower Shop.

 

 

DEAD MINKE WHALE AT FOLLY COVE

Northern Minke Whale

The dead Minke Whale that washed ashore Friday at Folly Cove is still there, although his carcass has shifted further in shore. His body is torn and weather beaten and appears to have been tossed around quite a bit before washing ashore.

Wear boots with good treads if you plan to cross the slippery rocks to go see.

Several years ago, Al Bezanson shared the photo below of a Minke Whale stranded at Rocky Neck (the whale escaped).

Al Bezanson photo

Minke Whale range map

FIESTA CANCELLED

Gloucester Daily Times

April 15, 2021

The public celebration of St. Peter’s Fiesta will be cancelled for 2021.

As headlines continue to spread the news of the COVID-19 surges in both the United States and overseas, the St. Peter’s Fiesta Committee had to make the call to cancel this year’s festivities because of the uncertainty and the potential health risk.

But the novena – the nine-day prayer service –will take place virtually again this year thanks to the efforts of the group of women who lead this effort each year. The St. Peter’s Fiesta Committee will make details known as the novena organizers’ effort evolves in the coming weeks.

“We want to keep everyone safe and we don’t want to add to the problem,” said St. Peter’s Fiesta Committee President Joe Novello. “It wasn’t an easy decision but we believe it was the only and right decision. We still have to be patient.”

READ the full story hereAlthough Fiesta is cancelled, the Novena will take place virtually