Tag Archives: Eastern Point

New Film: A Flight of Monarchs

When watching, know that the first two minutes of the film were shot in Gloucester. I think you will be dazzled by the sheer numbers of Monarchs that travel through Cape Ann’s backyards and meadows during the peak of migration.

I began photographing the Monarchs in 2006, which was a year when we had an extraordinary number of Monarchs visiting our shores. At that time, I became determined that if ever again this phenomenon were to occur on Cape Ann, I was going to have the ability to document on film, rather than only through still images, this beautiful event for my community. It’s hard to imagine without observing and here you can see what I have wanted to share.

A Flight of Monarchs begins on a September day as first one and then passels of Monarchs begin to arrive to the fields and meadows of Cape Ann, carried across Massachusetts Bay on a tailwind. By the early evening light they begin to pour into the surrounding trees, clustering to stay warm in the branches furthest away from the prevailing breezes. The following morning as the sun begins to touch their wings, they alight from the trees, seeking the freshest wildflowers from which to drink nectar to help build their lipid reserves for the several thousand mile journey south. They drink and drink until the last of the sun’s rays dip below the tree line. As they arrived on a tailwind, they again depart, and are carried to the next gathering area. For coastal Monarchs, Allens Pond, which is located in Westport, Massachusetts is often the next stop.

In the next scene, the butterflies have arrived to the sacred oyamel fir forests of Angangueo, Michoacán, deep in the heart of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt. It’s early morning and the butterflies are suspended in great primordial branched clusters that may become so heavy from the weight of so many butterflies the boughs of the trees bend to the breaking point. Later in the day, as the sun begins to warm their wings, the butterflies begin to stir. During the winter, it is imperative that the Monarch’s body temperature remains relatively low. They leave the sunniest branches in search of shade and a drink of water from nearby mountain streams. Occasionally in late February, as the air temperatures begin to warm with the coming springtime, for a short period during the day, the butterflies leave the trees all at once. This phenomenon is called a butterfly “explosion,” and is a truly magnificent event to observe.

A Flight of Monarchs is set to the evocative and tender “Fields of Blue,” written and performed by composer and guitarist Jesse Cook and his band, to which permission was granted by the artist for the purpose of this short film. Here is a link to Cook’s website. I highly, highly recommend attending a live performance of Jesse Cook and Company. As was I, you will be completely taken by their gorgeous music, exquisite artistry, and with Cook’s songwriting, will travel in beautiful melodies inspired from around the world.

I am currently editing my feature length documentary, Beauty on the Wing, which after months and months of organizing and editing three years of footage, is currently running at approximately twelve hours in length. At eleven hours too long, I have a great deal of editing to accomplish in the coming winter months!

A Flight of Monarchs presented here is the shorter version of the film that I created for the Berkshire Museum’s “Butterflies” exhibit. The first version is six minutes long and played on a continuous loop in the main gallery of the exhibit hall. The longer version will soon be posted on Vimeo.

 

Niles Beach in the Thickening Fog

Niles Beach Foggy Afternon ©Kim Smith 2014After a day of madly painting interior rooms, whipping our home into shape for the holidays, and for Liv’s upcoming wedding, I took a walk to get out of the paint fumes in what I had hoped would be a lifting fog. Instead of dissipating, around every bend in the road the fog became increasingly dense.  Albeit beautifully atmospheric, I imagined how dangerous it would be to be aboard a ship in the heavy fog and wouldn’t have wanted for anything to be a sailor or fisherman yesterday.

 

October Nor’easter Storm Snapshots

Eastern Point Seagulls ©Kim Smith 2014Out on Eastern Point this morning great flocks of seagulls were riding the waves while the Niles Pond swans and ducks were tucked into their shoreline retreats. The cormorants were many and could be seen clustering on rocky perches all around the inner harbor.

Niles Pond Swans ©kim Smith 2014Gloucester’s DPW crews were out and about clearing the streets from downed limbs.Gloucester DPW ©Kim Smith 2014

I only stayed for a moment at the Brace Cove berm because the waves were so tremendous that it really didn’t feel safe. I am glad to report though that at 10:30 this morning the narrowest slip of land that prevents Niles Pond from becoming Brace Cove’s salt marsh appears to have weathered this October nor’easter.

Brace Cove seagulls ©Kim Smith 2014

storm damage Gloucester ©Kim Smith 2014Downed Tree Mangles Portable Potty

Brace Cove Seals Sleeping at Daybreak

Brace Cove seals at sunrise ©Kim Smith 2014While filming B-roll for several projects I caught the sunrise at Brace Cove this October morning. The seals were awakening, as were the swan couple, the cormorants and gulls stretching wide their wings, and the songbirds breaking fast on the abundance of wild berries and seed heads found along the berm at Niles Pond. Click image to see full size.

Brace Cove seals at sunrise -2 ©Kim Smith 2014Brace Cove Seals

Brace Cove at sunrise ©Kim Smith 2014Fledgling juvenile male cardinal ©kim Smith 2014Juvenile Male Cardinal

Niles Pond daybreak ©Kim Smith 2014Niles Pond

Sparrow ©Kim Smith 2014Camouflaged!

Any Scat Experts Out There?

coyote scat in the road

I’m actually pretty sure it is coyote scat. I have been coming across these piles recently (pretty large dog poop size piles) in the road and on the sidewalks along Eastern Point. At first I thought they were left behind by very inconsiderate dog owners, but then started seeing them out in the road, where I can’t imagine any conscientious dog owner would allow their dog to do their do. If you look close, you can see berries or something in there that I don’t think of as typical dog diet stuff. Anyone have any other ideas?

E.J. Lefavour
http://www.hobbithousestudio.com

Drama on Niles Pond

niles pond drama

While walking very early by Niles Pond one morning recently, the peace and serenity of the place was suddenly shattered by the persistent distressed crying of a duck at the far wooded end of the pond.  I looked for her and the cause of her distress, but it took some time to locate her in the reeds.  Then I saw the reason for her mournful cries.  This coyote had apparently gotten her mate and possibly her babies as well.  I couldn’t see what he was feeding on, but her cries made it obvious that it was something very dear to her, and since there was no mate at her side, I assumed he must have been watching the nest while she went out to feed and was caught unawares by the coyote.

When I started photographing, both he and the duck looked in my direction.  He seemed to know I was too far away to be of any concern to him, so he yawned and went on about his business.  The duck however kept looking in my direction and crying, as though pleading with me to do something.  My heart went out to that poor devastated creature.  I know coyotes need to eat, and it is better for him to feed on a duck than someone’s pet cat or dog, but it still made for a sad start to my day, and a much sadder start for her’s.  The coyote however was satisfied.

E.J. Lefavour

http://www.hobbithousestudio.com

Swallows, Swans, Cygnets and a Muskrat

swans swallows cygnets

It is wonderful to see the swans with their cygnets on Niles Pond again.  I really hope these little ones make it, as last year none survived.  I love to see swallows swooping, but these two made a pretty pair on the wire.  The muskrat was just cruising as normal along the shoreline.  You gotta love Niles Pond, there is always something to see.

E.J. Lefavour

http://www.hobbithousestudio.com

Schooner Lincoln – Afloat and Wrecked

Bill Hubbard looked into the Lincoln after my GMG post of 5/16/14 (http://goodmorninggloucester.wordpress.com/?s=schooner+lincoln). He discovered thr following information and photo: "I found that the schooner in the picture was the three-masted Lincoln. She was built in Essex by Arthur Dana Story and launched in 1920. She sailed out of Gloucester as a coasting schooner under several captains but continued to be owned by A.D. Story. She carried cargo of coal, lumber and potatoes from Maine and the Canadian Maritimes to Gloucester, New York and Boston.

Bill Hubbard looked into the Schooner Lincoln after my GMG post of 5/16/14 (http://goodmorninggloucester.wordpress.com/?s=schooner+lincoln). He discovered the following information and photo of her in Gloucester Harbor: “I found that the schooner in the picture was the three-masted Lincoln. She was built in Essex by Arthur Dana Story and launched in 1920. She sailed out of Gloucester as a coasting schooner under several captains but continued to be owned by A.D. Story. She carried cargo of coal, lumber and potatoes from Maine and the Canadian Maritimes to Gloucester, New York, and Boston.”

"In 1928 Schooner Lincoln was severely damaged when rammed by a steam collier, but her load of lumber kept her afloat until towed into Gloucester. Her cargo was salvaged, but the hull was declared a total loss. In 1931 she broke in two and her stern section floated ashore on Eastern Point." Thank you FOB Bill Hubbard!

“In 1928 Schooner Lincoln was severely damaged when rammed by a steam collier, but her load of lumber kept her afloat until towed into Gloucester. Her cargo was salvaged, but the hull was declared a total loss. In 1931 she broke in two and her stern section floated ashore on Eastern Point.” Thank you FOB Bill Hubbard!

Furry Catkins

pussywillow blooms

My favorite botanical sign of spring.

Pussy willow is a name given to many of the smaller species of the genus Salix (willows and sallows) when their furry catkins are young in early spring.

Before the male catkins of these species come into full flower they are covered in fine, greyish fur, leading to a fancied likeness to tiny cats, also known as “pussies”. The catkins appear long before the leaves, and are one of the earliest signs of spring. At other times of year trees of most of these species are usually known by their ordinary names. (Wikipedia)

E.J. Lefavour

http://www.hobbithousestudio.com

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