Author Archives: Kim Smith

FRIENDS OF LITTLE CHICK UPDATE

Piping Plover Flight Dance

Eclipse Day was a dream day filming wildlife on Cape Ann. I did the usual early morning stops at my “migrations stations,” but because I had taken the afternoon off to see the eclipse, I got to film in the afternoon, too, which I don’t often get a chance to do. First stop was Good Harbor Beach to see a beautiful subdued and rosy-hued sunrise.

The Tree Swallows were everywhere, in dunes, on the beaches, lined up on telephone lines, in meadows, and marsh. I filmed and photographed that hullabaloo for a bit, along with a dozen other species of migrating shorebirds and songbirds; there are simply too many images for one post. I’ll share these migration photos in the upcoming days.

Tree Swallows Biting and Fighting

The most wonderful of all was coming upon a tiny flock of Piping Plovers. Initially I thought only two, then a third joined the scene, and then a fourth!

One was definitely a juvenile, about the same age as would be our Little Chick. The PiPl were bathing, grooming, and foraging in the intertidal zone while also being dive-bombed by the Tree Swallows. This is behavior that I filmed last year as well. Tree swallows, although beautiful, are the fightenist little tuffies you’ll ever see. They’ll fly straight at other birds, biting one of their own kind, Barn Swallows, and plovers alike.

PiPl bath time

The PiPl that looked just like Little Chick also did the funny flight take-off dance that we all observed of LC. He flew around in a circle, backwards and forwards, spreading and unspreading his wings, and hopping up and down. It’s very comical and I can’t wait to share the film footage and storybook. Anyway, the little traveler I encountered on Eclipse Day was doing the PiPlover flight jig for an extended period of time.

Doing the Jig!

I stayed to watch the Plovers for a bit longer and then finished walking the length of the beach. On my return walk I was surprised from a quiet reverie to hear a flock of Plovers piping. I looked up and before I could turn my movie camera back on, a group of a dozen Piping Plovers flew past. Happy Day!

Tree Swallows Massing
Eclipse Day Sunrise Good Harbor Beach

 Backlogged with wildlife photos, more to come. Some wonderful surprises!

WHY YOUR PHOTO OF THE ECLIPSE MAY HAVE A MINI CRESCENT-SHAPE

The simple answer is that it is a moon-shaped lens flare! The flares in your image are crescent, or ellipse, shaped because the source of light was shaped like that. Had it been an ordinary day when the sun was not obstructed by the moon, the lens flares would have been circular. A lens flare is the phenomenon where light is scattered, or flared, in a camera’s lens system, often in response to a bright light. 

The crescents in my Fujifilm camera photos are pale violet; the crescents in my iPhone photos are aqua blue-green.

Crescent-shape caused by lens flare from the #eclipse #eclipse2017 (with Green Darners, too).

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IT WAS A GOOD HARBOR BEACH DOOZEY OF A DAYBREAK!

Good Morning Gloucester, brought to you by Good Harbor Beach.

The sky became increasingly dramatic as the sun rose under the thickening early morning clouds.

SAVE THE DATE: CITY COUINCIL HEARING ON THE PLASTIC BAG BAN

Save the date for the Gloucester City Council meeting to ban the use of plastic checkout bags. The new date is Tuesday, September 12th, at 7pm. Please come and support this important initiative! For our Kids! 

The Plastic: Pick it Up Kids Club

MEET OUR RESIDENT CARDINAL FAMILY

Northern Cardinals have been extending their range for decades and are now a beautiful and beloved part  of the New England landscape, all the year long. Safflowers seeds are a favorite (and squirrels don’t care much for these seeds). At this time of year, we daily place a small handful of chopped peanuts in a bowl to help fatten the fledglings, and they also love the Catbird’s blueberries. Meet our resident Cardinal family!

Papa Cardinal is always first on the scene in the morning, scoping his territory for potential danger. His feathers are mottled because at this time of year, like many songbirds, Cardinals are molting.

Fledgling #1 – The fledglings are shyer than the adults, but also persistently vocal, nonstop actually, especially when hungry. Notice how its beak has not gained its red-orange color.

Splish Splash! Mama Cardinal taking a bath. Oh no, Junior shows up–“haven’t you had enough to eat?”

Hungry Fledgling #2

MAGICAL CRESCENTS, HALOS, AND RAINBOW COLORS SURROUNDING THE #ECLIPSE

Hello Astronomy Friends and Paul T. Morrrison, All my photos from after the peak of the eclipse (around 3:05) have beautiful violet or green crescents, and swirly aurora borealis-like colors in the clouds around the sun. Even a bird that flew through the scene has a rainbow light shining through its wings. I wonder why is this? Thank you if you can help.

The Green Darners were the first to awaken after the eclipse. #dragonflies #eclipse #gloucesterma

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The bird is blurry, but you can see the rainbow effect.

A TREMENDOUS DAY! #bostonstrong

Attending the anti-Nazi demonstration in Boston was an event I won’t soon forget. The day began really well, with a fantastic interview of our GMG podcast guests, the playwright Israel Horovitz, and Gloucester Stage Company’s Heidi Dallin and Emme Shaw. Israel fills the room with his stories and Joey knows how to bring out the best of them. After the podcast, I stopped home and had a quick lunch with Jessica while getting kisses in for our granddaughter (and return smiles!). Jessica, Tom, and I discussed transportation strategies for attending the demonstration. The Blueline was decided upon, which as it turns out was so easy, I would take this route again without hesitation. It only took forty-five minutes to drive to Wonderland Station in Revere and parking is free on the weekends.

I am unfamiliar with purchasing train tickets from a machine and rather than holding up the other passengers, I suggested to the woman next in line that she go first. She laughed and said she would help. She was a woman of color, a beautiful brown color, and within moments I had my Charlie card. This was the first of several incidences of needing assistance throughout the afternoon. The train pulled into the station and off we headed to Government Center.

Disembarking from the train and entering the plaza, the streets were so quiet you would never know that only a few blocks away were throngs of thousands. There were tourists with cameras, families and young couples mostly, sightseeing and photographing. The walk from Government Center Plaza to the State House is rich in American history, and there were even tourists on the Common, seemingly unfazed by the demonstration underway.

At the State House entrance to the Commons, you could see tens of thousands counter protesters rallying, carrying signs, and chanting anti-hate and anti-fascist slogans. I am frankly not a person who feels safe in large crowds. But I have faced my fear twice this year, once for the Women’s March and yesterday, because I wanted to go to this demonstration for no other reason than to be one of a hundred million people-strong looking clearly into the eye of fascism to say, you will never gain power in America.

I held my breath and walked into the crowd. Along the criss-crossing paths of the Common were people of all ages and colors, in small groups and large, holding handmade signs and talking about their vision for America. My fear of crowds began to lessen, and at one point a young man, also of a beautiful brown color, lent me his hand so that I could stand on a bench to take a photo.

As I headed deeper into the crowd, a scuffle suddenly broke out. I was quickly caught in a rush of people and as I struggled to get out of the way, an older couple, also of beautiful brown colors, pulled me towards them. They were standing under a tree and instructed do not run, but “stand beneath this tree with us.” After a few minutes, the fighting ceased and we made our way together out of the center of the Commons.

Along Beacon Street, which was closed to traffic, there seemed to be a police headquarters of sort. This was also where the largest group of counter protesters had gathered. They had a megaphone and were leading the crowd in chants — “Black Lives Matter,” “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA, and “Whose streets? Our streets.” In repeated situations of high tension and raw emotions, the police kept their cool, handling haters and troublemakers with clarity of strategy and with lightning speed.

I left the rally at three o’clock and saw news footage taken later in the day, of police and counter protesters together chanting anti-hate slogans. I have to say I am so tremendously proud of the people of Massachusetts for coming together to protest peacefully for the love of their fellow man and humanity for all. #bostonstrong.I overheard this man say that he stitched his flag together the night before the protest, with no prior sewing experience.

More photos here.

BOSTON’S RAINBOW COALITION KICKS NAZI BUTTS

Forty thousand anti-Nazi demonstrators sent John Medlar and his cowardly band of fascists packing, after only one hour into what was meant to be a five-hour rally. The throngs of anti-white supremacy demonstrators gathered on the Boston Common was made of a diverse coalition. The great majority were there to protest peacefully.

The man in the red shirt getting arrested.

There were heated moments, with approximately two dozen arrests, but the well-prepared and cool heads of Boston Police officers prevailed.

The counter protesters completely eclipsed the fascists.

Hate groups are not welcome in Boston.

Chants such as “Black Lives Matter,” “Whose streets? Our streets,” and “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA.” rang loud and clear throughout the Boston Common.

Led by Commissioner William Evans, the Boston Police presence was tremendous. #bostonstrong

Bas-relief of Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment marching down Beacon Street, located on the Boston Common, opposite the State House. The Massachusetts 54th Volunteer Infantry was the first documented African American regiment formed in the north, in 1863. Bronze bas-relief by Augustus Saint-Gaudens.

 

HELLO FUNNY CATBIRDS!

I’ve yet to meet a Catbird I don’t love! With big personalities and a repertoire of beautiful melodies they are no stranger to gardens planted with blueberry bushes.

The first Gray Catbird to make an appearance in our garden arrived the day we planted blueberries. We don’t grow enough blueberries to provide all that we, and the Catbirds, would like to eat, so for the past several years I have been feeding the Catbirds handfuls at a time, the ones that come in the box that are smallish, and generally more sour tasting. If I forget to refill the bowl, the mom Catbird perches on a table just outside the kitchen window, calling and calling until the bowl is replenished. This summer she was joined by two fat little fledglings, also demanding of blueberries. The other day, both fledglings sat smack in the middle of the blueberry bowl and then proceeded to have a disagreement over the fruit!

Mature Gray Catbirds are mostly slate gray all over, with a little black cap, and when in flight, flash rufous red underneath. They belong to the same family of birds as do Northern Mockingbirds and Brown Thrashers, Mimidae, having that wonderful ability to copy the sounds of other songbirds and string them together to make their own music. During mating season, male Catbirds use their songs to establish their territory. The song may last up to ten minutes. This past spring, while walking along the wooded edge of a dune, I came upon a male singing his heart out. I didn’t have my tripod with me, but began recording him while singing. Boy, did my arms grow weary trying to capture the song in its entirety!

Catbird Egg

The oldest Gray Catbird was recorded to live 17 years. Catbirds are monogamous and if undisturbed, return to the same nesting site year after year. I love knowing that it’s quite possible that our current Catbird mama and papa may be the very same family that have been here for the past several years.

Patti Papows resident blueberry-eating Catbird

Note about the benefits of of planting blueberry bushes ~ Did you know that blueberries are native to North America? Fantastic for attracting songbirds to the garden, the foliage is also a caterpillar food plant for Spring and Summer Azure butterflies, and the blossoms provide nectar for myriad species of pollinating insects, including many species of native bees.

 

WELCOME TO THE COTTAGE ON SMITH COVE, A FUN AND CASUALLY ELEGANT BEACH AND NAUTICALLY INSPIRED SHOP!

Stop by The Cottage on Smith Cove, you won’t be disappointed! The little gray shingled shop is overflowing with sea, sun, and sand inspired home furnishings, jewelry, and lightweight, airy pure cotton tunics, tops, and wraps. There is even a charming selection of children’s clothing. I had the pleasure to meet the very friendly and helpful Ginger Attaya and Kathy Tarpinian this afternoon, two of the seven women who own The Cottage.

Kathy Tarpinian and Ginger Attaya

My Charlotte and Jessica at The Cottage 🙂

The Cottage on Smith Cove is located on Madfish Wharf, Rocky Neck, Gloucester. The shop is open daily from 12noon to 8pm. For more information, visit their Facebook page here. 

WELCOME TO PATTI PAPOWS SEASIDE POLLINATOR GARDEN!

Forty Oaks is the name given long ago to Patti and Jeff Papows lovely home, nestled on a hill overlooking the Atlantic. Many grand old oaks still surround the updated Shingle-style “seaside cottage.” Over the years the gardens have grown in beauty and maturity, with the newest addition being the native plants pollinator paradise–Common Milkweed center stage.

Welcome to Patti’s garden ~


 Hydrangea allée, with every species and color of hydrangea imaginable

Waist-high raised beds for lettuce and herbs.Dragonflies and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds dip, dive, and criss-cross the pool throughout the day.

Adorable and funny, Nellie is the “ham” of the family.
Trellises entwined with Clematis grace a garden wall.
Planters bursting with beauty around every corner.
Vegetable Garden

Catbirds, Robins, and Monarchs are just a few of the species of wildlife that find a welcoming haven in Patti’s seaside garden.

MONARCH FILM FUNDRAISING SCREENING PARTY

Dear Friends,

This past spring I had a tremendously inspirational experience. Out of the blue, a lovely woman from Concord, Laura Stevens, contacted me about the possibility of viewing my documentary film about the Monarch butterflies, Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterflies. I was reluctant at first, explaining that the film was in a rough cut form. Although the rough cut features the butterflies and Cape Ann in the most beautiful light, the film does need finessing.

Laura comes from a wonderful family and they all love Monarchs! Every year, she and her family gather together for a reunion based around a weekend of learning. Laura explained that it would be an extra special treat for the 27 women and children who attend the reunion to see the film. The more I thought about it the more I thought it would be a super idea, and sent her access to the film.

Several weeks passed when in the mail I received the most heartfelt thank you letters from Laura and her family members who had attended the screening, from the ninety-five year old great auntie to the youngest child there. And soon after that, donations towards the film’s completion arrived from this most generous family. I am so grateful to Laura and her family for the donations, and for their kind encouragement and enthusiasm.

At that time the thought crossed my mind that this would be a wonderful way to continue to raise funds for the documentary. Landscape design work and the story of Little Chick and the Piping Plovers has kept me from doing any recent fundraising, but my work typically slows for a brief period during the end of August and beginning of September.

READ MORE HERE Read more

PICK YOUR OWN SUNFLOWERS AT CEDAR ROCK GARDENS AND ELISE’S TOMATOES ARE CRAZY TALL!!

Pick your own fabulous fresh sunflowers at Cedar Rock Gardens and a butterfly may follow you home!

Elise and her amazing (and wonderfully delcious) tomatoes. Elise and Tucker supply the produce to Short and Main and The Market Restaurant in Annisquam.

Cedar Rock Gardens is located at 290 Concord Street in West located. For more information, visit their website here.

MONARCH FILM FUNDRAISING SCREENING PARTY

Dear Friends,

This past spring I had a tremendously inspirational experience. Out of the blue, a lovely woman from Concord, Laura Stevens, contacted me about the possibility of viewing my documentary film about the Monarch butterflies, Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterflies. I was reluctant at first, explaining that the film was in a rough cut form. Although the rough cut features the butterflies and Cape Ann in the most beautiful light, the film does need finessing.

Laura comes from a wonderful family and they all love Monarchs! Every year, she and her family gather together for a reunion based around a weekend of learning. Laura explained that it would be an extra special treat for the 27 women and children who attend the reunion to see the film. The more I thought about it the more I thought it would be a super idea, and sent her access to the film.

Several weeks passed when in the mail I received the most heartfelt thank you letters from Laura and her family members who had attended the screening, from the ninety-five year old great auntie to the youngest child there. And soon after that, donations towards the film’s completion arrived from this most generous family. I am so grateful to Laura and her family for the donations, and for their kind encouragement and enthusiasm.

At that time the thought crossed my mind that this would be a wonderful way to continue to raise funds for the documentary. Landscape design work and the story of Little Chick and the Piping Plovers has kept me from doing any recent fundraising, but my work typically slows for a brief period during the end of August and beginning of September. 

Don’t you think it auspicious for my film project that we are seeing so many butterflies this summer? I began documenting the Monarchs in our region in 2006, which was an outstanding year for the Monarch migration through Cape Ann. The year 2012 was quite strong as well, but in the past four years, as the worldwide population has plummeted, so have the Monarchs migrating through our area. Imagine that in 1977, when the Monarchs were first discovered at their winter sleeping grounds, the butterflies were counted by the billions, while today only by the millions.

My hope for Beauty on the Wing is that it will travel to the various conservation and environmental festivals, and then be made available to classrooms around the nation. Another dream for the film is that it will be translated into Spanish and French. Just as American and Canadian children are curious about the butterflies’ winter home after departing their northern breeding grounds, Mexican children are equally curious as to the butterflies’ destination after they leave the butterfly sanctuaries in central Mexico.

The intent of this letter is to learn if amongst our readers there is interest in hosting a screening of the film in its not quite completed form. The purpose of the screening would be to raise money towards the film’s completion and distribution. And, too, I thought it would be a more fun, educational, and personal way to fundraise. To date I have received over $5,000 in generous donations. I am working with the non-profit filmmaker’s assistance group, the Filmmakers Collaborative. Donations made through FC are tax deductible. An itemized budget is available upon request. Beauty on the Wing is 54 minutes long. I thought we could show twenty minutes of highlights and then discuss the current state of the butterflies. Viewer feedback would also be of tremendous help. Screening parties could be so much fun, especially at this time of year during the butterfly’s migration, and especially in 2017 while we are seeing so many Monarchs on the wing.

Readers, what do you think? Please comment on this post or write me at kimsmithdesigns@hotmail. Thank you so very much for your time, thoughts, and interest.

Warmest wishes,

Kim

 

Links:

Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly film website

A Flight of Monarchs

Trailer

Film Interview with Doctor Thomas Emmel at the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve at Sierra Chinqua

First flight! #monarchbutterfly #migration #milkweed #wildflowers #butterfly #danausplexippus #🦋

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“OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES” AT THE GLOUCESTER STAGE COMPANY

Debra Wise, Sarah Hickler, Paula Plum, Israel Horovitz, Obehi Janice

By Tom Hauck

In the New England Premiere of the satirical comedy written and directed by Israel Horovitz, the “babes” in question are four adult women who gather in the Paris apartment of a recently deceased centenarian with whom they all had something important in common: During different times in the long life of the unnamed Lothario, each was his wife or live-in girlfriend. Israel Horovitz, author of more than 70 plays and the artistic director emeritus of GSC, wrote that the play is the second of a trilogy designed to be “confrontations of French and American cultures: American attitude towards love and marriage versus French attitude towards love and marriage.”

The four brilliant actors – Paula Plum (Evvie), Debra Wise (Evelyn), Sarah Hickler (Janice), and Obehi Janice (Marie-Belle) – wring from the volatile premise every possible laugh. To the apartment each brings her own memories and perceptions of the dearly departed, a Sorbonne professor who more closely resembled a cult leader: a glib narcissist who enchanted, deceived, and infuriated his many lovers. In short, when “the babes” get together, there’s plenty to talk about!

The action takes place on a stunning set designed by Jenna McFarland Lord. Complete with floor-to-ceiling modernist paintings (which happen to be for sale – you, the audience member, can buy one!), the imaginatively lit space makes you feel as though you’re on the Left Bank with a canal outside and a patisserie just around the corner. Rugs from Landry & Arcari and sleek furniture from be modern complete the funky-but-chic ambience.

Over a period of twenty-four hours, the four women reveal many dark and hilarious secrets, both about themselves and their departed lover who still holds their hearts. Initial antagonism turns to sororal bonding, and with the help of mysterious spiritual messages from beyond the grave the unlikely quartet turn the corner and bravely face the future.

Out of the Mouths of Babes runs from August 11 through September 2. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 pm and Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 pm at Gloucester Stage Company, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA. For tickets call 978-281-4433 or visit gloucesterstage.com.

Opening snapshots Out of the Mouths of Babes

FABULOUS SET DESIGN FOR GSC “OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES” BY JENNA MCFARLAND LORD–AND MUCH OF THE ART AND FURNISHINGS ARE FOR SALE!!

Many of the pieces of art and furniture in the Gloucester Stage’s current show “Out of the Mouths of Babes” are for sale. The art that is available to purchase was provided by my friend Mia Nehme and her daughter Claudia Bowman, from their beautiful shop in Manchester, Mimi, the furniture is from the wonderfully chic be modern in Ipswich, and the exquisite paisley rug is from Landry and Arcari.

If interested in purchasing art, furniture, or the rug from “Out of the Mouths of Babe,” please call 978-281-4433 or email info@gloucesterstage.com

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