Flynn’s Beach Swan

On that balmiest of all January Saturdays, Tom and I walked along the Rocky Neck beaches. The Flynn’s Beach swan did not at all appreciate the interest shown by our curious pooch.

Mute Swan Hissing

The Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) is native to Europe and Asia and is an introduced species to North America. Called “mute” because they are less vocal than other swan species, the Mute Swan is also distinguished from other swan species by its prominent knob atop the bill. The male swan is called a cob, the female, a pen, and the young, cygnet. The female is slightly smaller than the male, and her knob is less pronounced.

Sand Bath ~ Note the grains of sand around the swan’s bill (click photo for larger view); the swan appeared to be using the sand as an aid in cleaning it’s feathers.


  • I take nothing away from Ed Flynn, he was trully a character, appreciated by those that met him, that said, the area is known as Oak Cove and not Flynn’s beach. Before the Flynns lived there the house was occupied by the artist Joe Jeswald who founded Montserat College of Art in Beverly, and taught many of us at the Rockport Art Association. No one refers to it as Jeswald’s Beach. If you wish to refer to it as Flynn’s beach to your friends, fine, but on the charts it is Oak Cove.


  • Great post and photos Kim!


    • Thank you E.J. –Tomorrow look for a video of Oakes Cove, filmed on a warm October afternoon–the light was extraordinary–no swans, but enchanting kids.

      Are you planing to attend the East Gloucester Cultural District meeting tomorrow night? I can pick you up.


  • Maps/Charts of old once refered to Good Harbor as Little Good Harbor because it was “little good” as a harbor, perhaps Joe you should stick with that if you are desirous of using old charts/maps. I would like to know where the chart/map from the 1800s is so that I can compare to current chart/ maps. Thanks. Like you I wish to be correct.


  • Dear Paolo,

    There is a very interesting account of why Good Harbor Beach was once called Little Good Harbor in Joe Garland’s “The Gloucester Guide” (if you can get your hands on a copy), pages 69 -73. The opening paragraphs to that account address your comment and they read as follows:

    “A parson who knew his Bible must have observed the striking similarity of Little Good Harbor to the ancient port of Joppa in Palestine (Jaffa today, below Tel Aviv). Though open to the Mediterranean, the biblical port provided safe harbor for small boats behind the protection of an offshore reef of ledges. There is a plausible theory, which we are about to examine, that in early colonial times our beach, equally open to the Atlantic, served a like purpose, and that behind it was a lagoon, a “little good harbor” for small boats—hence a “Joppa.” The Newburyport Flats inside the mouth of the Merrimack River, incidentally, have been called Joppa too.

    Today there is no harbor here, good or little good. The beach suffices as one of the finest on the coast. Yet, but for man’s ungovernable greed and obsession for tinkering with the landscape, “Joppy,” as the natives call it, would even now be a busy little port on a very good little harbor indeed.”

    Joe’s complete reconstruction, based on that of Dr. Elmer W. Babson, goes on to describe how when the knoll of pine trees that once protected the “little good harbor” was cut-down, erosion gradually destroyed the lagoon, creating a salt marsh instead.


  • Joe and Kim,

    Thank you for your info. The chart shows that the Jeswald/Flynn property to be owned by Oakes, so that explains a lot. There is another property that fronts on the beach owned by Oaks without the “e”. Regarding ” Little” Good Harbor, should we be calling it “Little” when we refer to it or not?
    Thanking you for the clarification in advance.


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