Monthly Archives: December 2017


On the lookout for Snowy Owls, I instead encountered this scene of a Peregrine Falcon eating a freshly killed bird. At one point I caught a quick glimpse of what I think was a webbed duck foot, but could possibly also have been a cormorant. Despite all the gore, the Falcon was exquisite to observe. Especially beautiful were the hues of its slate blue wings in the early morning light.

Peregrine Falcons eat mostly birds. Over 450 species of bird prey have been documented in North America alone. From the tinniest Ruby-throated Hummingbird to the enormous Sand Hill Crane, few birds are safe from the talons of the Peregrine Falcon.

The Falcon methodically eviscerated its prey, all the while watching gulls, crows, me, and any other potential thief.

Robber crows stopped by to see what they could snatch and one brazen fellow made off with a gizzard dangling from its mouth.

A gull popped its head up from a lower rock outcropping to see what he could steal and after taking a quick look at the Peregrine Powerhouse, thought better of attempting robbery.


Nature’s Finest Flyer

Did you know that the Peregrine Falcon is the world’s fastest bird? A bird’s airspeed velocity is variable. During a hunting dive the Peregrine Falcon will average about 200 miles per hour; 242 miles per hour is the maximum speed recorded. The Golden Eagle is the second fastest bird, with an average diving speed of 150 miles per hour and a maximum speed of 200 mph.

Saved from the Brink of Extinction

Excerpted from The Nature Conservancy

Peregrines are fast, aggressive creatures and are on top of their food chain. While young Peregrines are preyed upon by Golden Eagle and Great Horned Owls there are few threats towards the adults other than man.

By the mid 1960’s, there were NO Peregrines in the eastern United States and the decline spread westwards so that by the mid-70’s western populations had declined by up to 90 percent. It was estimated that 3,875 nesting pairs were found in North America prior to the 40’s; by 1975, only 324 pair existed in the US. Loss of habitat, shootings, egg collecting and other human disturbances had weakened North American populations for decades but drastic declines didn’t occur until after the widespread use of a popular insecticide – DDT. Like the canary in the coalmine, the Peregrine Falcon provided humans a warning as how chemical pollution can disrupt the environment and the life around it.

The use of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, or DDT, began during World War II as an extremely effective pesticide. Its use continued after the war as a way to control agricultural pests and in killing malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Unfortunately it would be years later before it was understood that DDT would have adverse effects on a variety of ecologically important insects, birds, and the environment. Bats, Fireflies and Peregrine Falcons were just a few species that were greatly affected. Editor’s note: In the United States, DDT was manufactured by some 15 companies, including Monsanto, Ciba, Montrose Chemical Company, Pennwalt, and Velsicol Chemical Corporation.

For the Peregrine Falcon, DDT poisoning was due to its being on top of the food chain. After consuming other birds that fed on seeds, insects and fish contaminated with DDT, the poison eventually accumulated in its system. High concentrations of a DDT metabolite called DDE prevented normal calcium production causing thin, frail eggshells that would break under the weight of the parent during incubation. Because of the toxic contaminant, many eggs did not hatch and the populations precipitously dropped until a mere 12% of normal peregrine falcon populations remained in the United States.

In 1970, the American Peregrine Falcon was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969 (and then again in 1973 when the Endangered Species Act passed). Encouraged by the EPA’s banning of DDT in 1972, recovery projects began to take shape. Beginning in 1974, The Peregrine Fund, along with various national and state agencies in both the United States and Canada, embarked on a reintroduction program for the peregrine falcon.

Thanks to the scientists and researchers at Cornell University, adult birds were successfully bred in captivity. After the eggs hatched, they were raised in the labs until three weeks old. They were then placed in hack sites (artificial nesting sites) where they were fed and cared for by unseen benefactors until flight and hunting skills were developed enough for them to become independent. More than 6,000 American Peregrine Falcons have been released in North America since 1974 due to the cooperative efforts among federal and state Fish & Wildlife Services, The Peregrine Fund, Midwestern Peregrine Falcon Restoration Project and the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group.

The success of these recovery programs allowed the declassification of the Peregrine Falcon as a federally endangered species in 1999. Although the bird of prey remains federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and will be monitored until 2015, the survival of the Peregrine Falcon marked the most dramatic success of the Endangered Species Act.

Joe The Woodcarver


Joe The Woodcarver


Seated by Pavilion Beach, Joe carves each

piece with the care and skill and memories

that more than forty years in Gloucester

have instilled in his mind and in his hands.


With his family sitting near him he lays

out large and small sea- horses, whales

and mermaids while chatting with a stranger

about the sculpted wood now emerging .


He talks about his collection of old photos

and the pictures he has taken with the

camera of his eye,  while his knife fashions

from one of those pictures a fearsome white shark.


From eye to mind to hands to knife, Joe

whittles for each a life by the sea; images

of the world around us and beneath us

as we pass a lovely afternoon on Pavilion Beach.

Originally posted August 12, 2012

© Marty Luster 2012

More picture-poems at

Winter Solstice Anal Emma and more

David Cox got after me at the Christmas party I was not posting enough and goodness, a month has practically gone by since my last photo. So instead of posting my annual analemma shot for Winter Solstice, and wish everyone a Happy Festivus, I’ll post some pics from the other end of the analemma. When Thacher Island is a hot paddle in July.

No kayaking today!

Six lighthouses on Cape Ann to choose from but these two are my favorite.

If you ever played the Computer game Myst popular in 1993 you know that the Miller brothers had to have visited Thacher Island.

Except in Myst, there were zip lines between the lighthouses. Rockport should install them.

Rubber Duck wanted to say hello to the sixty seagulls lining the rail. Only Homie stuck around.

Me: “What rhymes with orange.” Rubber Duck: “No it doesn’t.”

I quack myself up. OK, I’ll stick to photos. Here is the analemma. Today on the winter sostice we are the yellow ball. The blue ball of course denotes when certain people who do not chicken out jump into Gloucester Harbor.

The meteorological start of Spring, March First, is only seventy days away. (And Mother’s Day, the day we catch the first striper, is 143 days away.)

Happy Festivus one and all. (Now help me up bro, my knee!)

TBT Post: David Brooks and Co Just Cuckholded Every Other Lobster Trap Tree On The Planet

Another Year and Another Unanimous Decision For The Gloucester MA Lobster Trap Tree As The Without A Doubt Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of The World.

2015-12-12 16.55.11

While towns up in Maine are still going back to the same old tired plans trying to make their trees the tallest (by making them horribly disfigured Christmas Spikes Instead of Christmas Trees)  David Brooks and the Gloucester MA community once again made them all pale by comparison.  David Brooks and Gloucester MA is playing chess while Rockland Maine is playing checkers.  But after all these years and crushing their spirits with their horribly disfigured Christmas spikes and them using terrible Chinese sweat shop labor Christmas bows on their trees while Gloucester MA adorns their Lobster trap tree with hand painted buoys made by the angelic youth of  Gloucester.  But this year after the over the top outpouring of support, David Brooks decided to go 3 dimensional on their ass.

You don’t just experience the Gloucester Ma lobster trap tree from the outside, we built this shit so dope that you can actually enter inside the tree and the entire inside is adorned with the beautiful hand painted buoys as well.   They turned the Lobster trap tree game on it’s head.

Hilarious that they thought they could compete.  I feel bad for these other communities, I really do.  Just when they think they have a chance, along comes Brooks and Co just crushing their Christmas dreams.


Kim Smith photo.

In all seriousness, it’s nice that the other communities try  to compete and we wish them nothing but the best during this Christmas season.


Gloucester MA Lobster Trap Tree> All Other Lobster Trap Trees

Word on the street is that the makers of the other community lobster trap trees were all infiltrated by moles from the creators of the Land of the Misfit Toys.  True Story.




Cape Ann Reads Children’s Picture Book Celebration reception and fair

Calling all children’s picture book fans! The four Cape Ann library directors and Mayor Romeo Theken hope you’ll join us for a very special Cape Ann Reads reception at Gloucester’s City Hall on Saturday January 27, 2018, to honor the scores of writers and artists that participated in the Cape Ann Reads contest. The party and pop-up portfolio/book fair will be open to the public from 12pm-4pm. There will be a brief awards ceremony at 1:30. Along with the medal and honor books, the jurors selected several more for special recognition. Breaking news: a group show of these will travel to all four communities in 2018 with support from the Bruce J Anderson Foundation, a Gold Sponsor.

Cape Ann Massachusetts can now boast the country’s FIRST ever picture book contest and programming hosted by four public libraries and wonderful community partners. The contest fostered the local children’s picture book network, and business in the region. Five books were self-published (or in the works) since the contest closed, reviewed and sold in local stores. An original Cape Ann Reads trophy by local artist, Jason Burroughs, has been commissioned and will be unveiled at the celebration.

SAVE THE DATE Cape Ann Reads celebration reception Jan 27 2018 (3)

Please contact if you’d like to sponsor a prize or award–or any cafes or restaurants that want to showcase a small tray of light fare or coffee/tea–as there’s time to be included in the printed matter.

Katie Kahl to New Position at Gloucester Marine Station


The School of Earth and Sustainability at the University of Massachusetts Amherst today announced that Gloucester resident Katie Kahl has been named to a newly created position, extension assistant professor in sustainable fisheries and coastal resilience, at the Gloucester Marine Station. She will bridge the university’s research capacity with ecological, economic and social needs in the area.


Sen. Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) says, “The appointment of Kate Kahl is certainly good news for Cape Ann and UMass, signaling a commitment by the university to boost research at Hodgkins Cove that has meaning for, and impact on, important issues such as strengthening the fishing industry and reaching a better understanding of marine ecosystems. The facility has a storied and important legacy of helping the commercial fishing industry. Now we can write a new chapter in that history by working together on shared priorities, and it’s critical to keep that work alive.”

The full Press Release link

#Sistahood Foundation

Let me begin by saying if you have delicate sensibilities than just read onto the next blog post because that’s what the scroll button is for.   There are pics here that may offend… but they are intended to be humorous and to women who’s breasts were cut off to save their lives, it makes light of a dark situation.


Last night Sista Felicia had her first of many Fundraisers to raise money for the #Sistahood Foundation through The Gloucester Fund which will provide services and brighten the lives of women in Gloucester and Rockport who are going through Breast Cancer treatments or recovering from Mastectomy/Reconstruction surgeries.   It was a fun night with Sista and friends making Naughty or Nice Gingerbread cookies and having some pre-holiday laughs!    Stay tuned for the next Valentine’s event!!



Winter Solstice for 2017 in Northern Hemisphere is today Thursday, December 21st

GREETINGS! The Winter Solstice for 2017 in Northern Hemisphere is today Thursday, December 21st, at 11:28 AM EST. Wishing you the very best for the season ahead — and always!



“The Solstice is a time of quietude, of firelight, and dreaming, when seeds germinate in the cold earth, and the cold notes of church bells mingle with the chimes of icicles . . . All around us the season seems to reach a standstill – a point of repose.”   —John Matthews

Thomas A Philbrook


‘Holiday Blues’ and What You Can Do Improve Your Mood

Cape Ann Wellness

Wishing everyone a Happy, Healthy Holiday! 

Unfortunately, the holidays are not always a joyful time for everyone. According to one survey by the American Psychological Association (APA), people may experience mixed emotions and increased stress during the holidays.

  • Positive Emotions at the Holidays: Happiness, Love, Connectedness, Higher Energy
  • Negative Emotions at the Holidays: Fatigue, Stress, Irritability, Sadness, Feeling Isolated

Increased Stressors at the Holidays May Include:

  • Overstretched for time/money
  • Pressures of gift giving and family gatherings
  • Staying on a (healthy eating plan)
  • Travel

56% reported they experience the most stress at work.

Social Isolation Can Add to Holiday Blues.

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