Despite the pandemic heartbreak, along with the social and economic hardships so many are experiencing, the summer of 2020 been a beautiful season of sunrises and sunsets. This one is from several days ago.I’m so behind in posting local wildlife stories while trying to prepare all the ancillary materials needed to send my film to APTWW, a huge back log of stories really. But I did want everyone to be aware that there is a a great flock of juvenile Laughing Gulls on our shores right now. They are fishing feeding with juvenile Herring Gulls as well as with adult Laughing Gulls. The Laughing Gull juveniles are smaller than the Herring Gulls and have a very distant scallop pattern on their flight wings. Will try to post some more photos later today 🙂Laughing Gull juvenile
Hello Friends of Gloucester’s Piping Plovers,
Our Ambassador schedule is looking great for mornings and I am so appreciative of all who have volunteered to lend a hand.
We need Ambassadors during the afternoons. Please write at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know if you would like to volunteer for an hour a day for the next several weeks, possibly a month. The first week in a chick’s life is the most critical. When a chick reaches the 7 to 10 day milestone its chances of survival increase exponentially.
One hour old Piping Plover chick
We are meeting Monday, June 22nd, at 5:30pm, to go over any questions Ambassadors may have. We’ll meet at the the Saratoga Creek end of the beach, by the symbolic roping, on the Nautilus Road side of the beach, just after boardwalk #3. There should be no difficulty parking in the lot at that time of day.
I look forward to seeing familiar friends and meeting our new ambassadors. Thank you so much again for your willingness to help. Our new motto this year is Educate, not Enforce and our goal is to keep the energy positive and kind. Our City government is managing many, many issues due to the global pandemic and we do not wish in any way to add to their responsibilities.
Here is the schedule so far:
Kim 5am to 7am
Shelby 7am -8am
Jane Marie 8am -9am
Bette Jean 9am-10am
Jennie 11am to 12pm
The most tenacious of Piping Plover pairs has a second egg in their nest!
For the next few days you may see them on and off the nest. The pair won’t start brooding full time until all the eggs are laid. The reason being is that the hatchlings are precocial, which means active from birth. The parents want the chicks to hatch as closely together as possible so the tiny rockets zooming around the beach are more easily managed. The difference in a PiPl day old hatchling and a PiPl week old chick in human years is like trying to look after a newborn and a precocious preteen simultaneously.
Piping Plovers take about a week to complete the nest and lay all their eggs (sometimes two eggs or three or five, but most often four eggs). If they started brooding one egg full time, that egg would hatch a week earlier than the last egg laid, which would spell disaster for a precocial chick. Observing PiPl chicks that had hatched twenty-four hours apart was hard enough on the parents, let alone a week apart!
If you stop by to see the PiPls on the beach, please bear in mind they are working hard at completing their nest and laying eggs. Please don’t hover around the roped off areas or when you see the birds on the shore. Trust me, hovering attracts gulls and crows. Both species are smart and I’ve seen over and over again how human interest in the PiPls attracts these super predators to the nesting sites. Additionally, hovering around the adults off the nest stymies courtship and mating as well. Have a look with binoculars or take photo or two with a long lens and move on, especially when with more than one adult.
Thank you so much for your consideration!
Good Harbor Beach is sunrise central for me currently as there is so much beautiful wildlife to film and photograph happening right now all around on our shores and neighborhoods. You have to be there by 4:45 to catch the beautiful light. Lots of good stories to share, just need to find the time to organize 🙂 A sunrise photo will have to do for now.
Slight delay in posting episode 8 but lots of good things to talk about, including excellent clips of Piping Plovers mating as our Piping Plover Chronicles continues. See you then <3
Beautiful rainbow sherbet skies sunrise sequence Friday morning
You may be wondering why I have been posting so many sunrise photos, more than usual, from GHB (sincerely hoping its not boring). I spent a good part of the summer there filming the Piping Plovers and other beautiful species of wildlife, but I am also there gathering B-roll for all film projects. While the movie camera is running, it’s fun to take stills as well.
Almost invariably, the light is at its prettiest well before the sun rises. I like the blues and violets in the first photo. The second photo was taken about five minutes later. Which one do you prefer?
My grandmother was fond of saying “the early bird catches the worm.” I assumed she said that because I adored getting up early to eat breakfast with my grandfather before he left for work. In a large family with siblings and cousins, I had him all to myself in those day break hours. Having developed a passion and love for wild creatures and wild places, I understand better what she meant. She and my grandfather built a summer home for their family in a beautiful, natural seashore setting and both she and my parents packed our home with books and magazines about nature. Now I see her design…
Day break, beautiful scene, beautiful creatures by the sea’s edge
An approximately six foot in diameter protective barrier has been installed around the plover’s nest. This is a huge relief as many of us have noticed dog tracks in the cordoned off area. The plover’s don’t seem to mind the wire construct and go about their morning routine, running through the spaces between the wire grid as if the barrier had always been in place. In the above photo, you can see a plover sitting on its nest between the two clumps of grass within the enclosure.
Every morning the plover’s switch places several times, with both parents taking turns sitting on the nest, while the other leaves the restricted area to feed at the shoreline and bath in the tide pools. The above photo was taken on the 13th of June, before the barrier was put in place. There are minimal tacks around the nest site, so it would be logical to assume the nest was very recently established. The photo below, taken on the 15th, show many more tracks and it looks like there are three eggs.
Scenes from this morning’s Good Harbor Beach sunrise.
Pink and violet hues when I arrived at 5:15 quickly gave way to reds and yellow, and then the looming gray mass of clouds overtook the sky.
After attempting to photograph the Moon, Venus, and Jupiter in the night sky, the colors were so spectacular I couldn’t help but stay to photograph the rising sun. The beach was soon alive with surfers, paddle boarders, photographers, and dog walkers, in that order. The three panoramas were taken at about ten minute intervals. Click on the image or drag panoramas to your desktop to embiggen.
Thinking I would just take a few shots of the night sky, I had run out the door wearing only a light sweater. Staying longer than anticipated I came home shivering. Bundle up if out for an early walk on these gorgeous, albeit chilly, October mornings.
Please join us Friday April 10th from 5pm – 8pm at Cape Ann Giclee to view photographs by Good Morning Gloucester Contributors Kim Smith, Joey Ciaramitaro, David Cox, Manny Simoes, Craig Kimberley, Marty Luster, Fred Bodin, Donna Ardizoni, and Paul Morrison. Stop by for cocktails and appetizers. I hope to see you there!
All prints are 17″x 22″ and priced at only 60.00 each. James and Anna have printed the images on heavy weight lustrous paper and it really adds to the depth and beauty of the images. At this price, they will quickly sell. Come see!
Don’t miss the rare opportunity to purchase one of my photos for only 60.00!
Cape Ann Giclee is located at 20 Maplewood Avenue, Gloucester.