Author Archives: Kim Smith

NEW SHORT FILM: THE UNCOMMON COMMON TERN

What fun to encounter a small flock of terns teaching its young to fish. Nearly as large as the adults, the tubby terns cheekily squawk and demand food (shrimp I think in this case). Watch as the fledglings try to master fishing skills while the adults tirelessly guide the young on how to feed themselves.

With thanks to Paul St. Germain, president of the Thacher Island Association, for information about the ongoing restoration of shorebirds on Thacher Island.

common-tern-fledgling-feeding-copyright-kim-smith

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REMINDER: FREE SEED SWAP AT BACKYARD GROWERS THURSDAY EVENING

16708388_1028244820612685_1365850163122677238_nWinter getting you down? Spring is around the corner! Come on down to our FREE annual seed swap! Bring some seeds to share and swap. Don’t have any seeds to bring? No worries! Come any way and grab a few freebies!

Thu, February 16, 2017
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM EST
Backyard Growers Office
269 Main Street

This event is part of FRESH, a six-week exhibition with accompanying workshops and presentations hosted by the Rocky Neck Art Colony and Backyard Growers.

DECADENT DELICIOUSNESS FROM TURTLE ALLEY!

img_4266Turtle Alley does not disappoint in their dazzling and delightful array of Valentine sweetheart boxes of deliciousness!

WISHING ALL OUR READERS A

Decadent and Delicious Valentine’s Day!

 

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FEBRUARY #BLIZZARD2017 STORM SNAPSHOTS

bass-rocks-ocean-inn-2-gloucester-february-2017-snowstorm-copyright-kim-smith-jpgVenturing out today around 1:00pm, I caught the tail end of the storm. The winds were still blizzarding and great gusts of snow made places like Brace Cove impossible to photograph. The tide was super high at Good Harbor Beach, but not as high as some recent storms. The waves were tremendous, although they weren’t the ginormous rollers of many nor’easters either.

raymonds-beach-gloucester-february-2017-snowstorm-copyright-kim-smith

good-harbor-beach-gloucester-february-2017-snowstorm-copyright-kim-smithSeagulls and sanderlings were hunkering down in the coves and others, sailing the surf. 

Blizzard Spindrifts and Homie #scenesofnewengland #blizzard2017 #gloucesterma #seagulls

A post shared by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

A BONA FIDE IGLOO IN GLOUCESTER!!

Look what our wonderful neighbors made! Lotus reports that they created the igloo in assembly line fashion from snow packed rectangular-shaped containers. Mandy shares that it was so much fun to make and they will be perfecting their technique for future igloos. I can’t wait to see what they come up with after this next doozy of a blizzard!16640908_10208492011198447_3897272401863748360_n

Igloo made by Geoff, Mandy, Pilar, Frieda, and Lotus

Photo by Geoff Deckebach

JOHN RONAN AT THE CAPE ANN MUSEUM!

john-ronan-and-bookSaturday, February 25, 2017 at 2pm

Gloucester’s former poet laureate John Ronan will read from his most recent book, Taking the Train of Singularity South from Midtown (Backwaters Press, 2017) and discuss its connections to Gloucester, including “Good Harbor, Home,” which was written for and read at John Bell’s first inauguration as Mayor of Gloucester. Through Taking the Train of Singularity South from Midtown Ronan hopes to convey that love and language create community.

This program is free and open to the public. Reservations required. Free registration can be made by calling 978-283-0455 x10, emailinginfo@capeannmuseum.org, or online at Eventbrite

John Ronan is a poet, playwright, movie producer and journalist. He has received national honors for his poetry and is a former National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, Ucross Fellow, Bread Loaf Scholar and Poet Laureate of Gloucester, MA. In 2010, his volume of poetry,Marrowbone Lane, won Highly Recommended honors from the Boston Authors Club. As a playwright, Ronan’s works include The Yeats Gameand The Early Bird Special. John is also founder of the media production company American Storyboard, a teacher of film and host of Cape Ann Television’s The Writer’s Block with John J. Ronan which celebrates its 27th anniversary in the 2016–2017 seasons. 

BEAUTIFUL FEBRUARY SNOW MOON OVER CAPE ANN

Last night’s Snow Moon was stunning, although my photos don’t do it justice. Frozen fingers and I couldn’t find what I was looking for, which was a a tree, any tree, with snow laden branches, with the moon light coming through. Oh well, there’s always next year. 🙂 snow-moon-over-rockport-copyright-km-smith

LOVE SHACKS AND BAIT SHACKS FOR YOUR VALENTINE SWEETHEARTS

Where else can you go for both a Love Shack and Bait Shack but Nichols Candy House, naturally 

nichols-candy-house-c-kim-smithFor that special Valentine fisherman

love-shack-candy-house-c-kim-smithLove Shackjoe-hart-nichols-candy-c-kim-smith

How about this little Patriots Fan. His name is Joe Hart and he is an adorable ball of energy!joe-hart-nichols-candy-2-c-kim-smith

GOOD MORNING GLOUCESTER BROUGHT TO YOU BY SNOWY DAY NEIGHBORHOOD

Lots more snow in the forecast. I hope everyone is keeping warm and cozy and having super fun snow days!beacon-marine-copyright-kim-smithBeacon Marine Basin at dawn

good-harbor-beach-snow-day-copyright-kim-smithGood Harbor Beach

schooner-sugar-babe-snow-copyright-kim-smithSchooner Sugar Babe

gloucester-harbor-city-hall-snow-day-copyright-kim-smithGloucester Harbor Skyline

A few more snapshots from this morning

 

SAVE THE DATE: SILVER OAK JUMPER TOURNAMENT

For our local equestrians, Jeff Papows shares the following ~ee42cd13-22dd-4a2b-88ae-4001664f61baThe 2017 version of The Silver Oak Jumper Tournament Prize list is now available.  Prize lists will be mailed on April 1.  An online version is available on our website www.silveroakjumpertournament.com

Improvements to the property continue at Fieldstone Show Park since last September–leaving no area unattended and promising utopian conditions and a beautiful setting for top level show jumping.  Olaf Petersen, Jr. will be returning again to set the courses in the Grand Prix Ring and Nick Granat will be returning to care for Ring II and the World Equestrian Center’s YJC young jumper ring.

For those desiring a prize list prior to April, please contact Sharon at the following email address: sharon@silveroakjumpertournament.com

ff0154a9-9e57-4deb-bc00-f56e83c84c16The 2016 $75,000 Grand Prix Champion: Callie Smith onboard Attention Et Z

BARRED OWL TALONS

If I were a little creature, I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of these bad boys.

barred-owl-talons-copyright-kim-smith-copyGot an Itch

Interestingly, owls have a ratcheting mechanism in their foot, which keeps the toes locked around the prey or branch so the muscles don’t have to remain contracted.

Eyes on Owls is a terrific website for identifying owls commonly, and not so commonly, seen in New England. The owls are listed in descending order of how frequent their occurrence, from the most widespread to the rarest migrant. In our region, the Great Horned Owl is the most common, and the Barred Owl is a close second. Mass Audubon also provides a list of owls that breed in Massachusetts here.

RESPONDING TO READER’S QUESTIONS ABOUT TREE SWALLOWS

tree-swallows-gloucester-massachusetts-5-copyright-kim-smithTo answer several reader’s questions regarding Tree Swallows on Cape Ann –

The birds that we see flocking up and forming a murmation over Gloucester’s downtown skyline are typically European Starlings, a species that was introduced to the U.S. from Europe at the turn of the previous century. The birds that are in the film that I posted yesterday, Dance of the Swallows, are Tree Swallows. They prefer more remote areas such as sand dunes, where the swallows find a wealth of insects.tree-swallows-gloucester-massachusetts-4-copyright-kim-smith

Insects comprise the bulk of their diet. Tree Swallows perch on branches, telephone wires, and in our area, commonly on Northern Bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica) and other dune shrubs. Most birds cannot digest the waxy coating on Bayberries, but Tree Swallows are one of the few species that can. Bayberry fruits do not ripen until September and I wonder if when migrating through Cape Ann in August, the Tree Swallows are eating the insects on and around the plants, not the unripened fruits.

NEW SHORT FILM: TREE SWALLOWS MASSING

This short film is dedicated a dear friend who recently lost a beloved family member. Along with the tender melody by Jules Massenet, especially the last bits of footage (before the credits) made me think of angels and of hope.

  *   *   *

Over the course of the summer while filming the Piping Plover Family at Wingaersheek Beach, Tree Swallows began flocking in ever increasing numbers. They became part of the Piping Plover story not only because a Tree Swallow will occasionally dive bomb a Piping Plover, for whatever reason I am not entirely sure, but also because they are beautiful to observe, and occasionally, seemingly playful, too.

Songbirds that they are, Tree Swallows make a cheery chirping chatter. They have long narrow forked tails, all the better for gliding and for their signature aerial acrobatics. The male’s upper parts are a brilliant iridescent blue-green, the female’s somewhat duller, and both female and male have white underparts. The migrating juveniles are almost entirely brown with either white or pale grayish underparts.tree-swallows-gloucester-massachusetts-11-copyright-kim-smith

Tree Swallows breed in the wetlands and fields of Cape Ann. Their name comes from the species habit of nesting in tree cavities. Tree Swallows have benefited tremendously from efforts to help save the Eastern Bluebird because they also nest in the nest boxes built specifically for the Bluebirds.

Acrobatic aerialists, they twist and turn mid-flight to capture a wide variety of insects including butterflies, dragonflies, greenheads, bees, beetles, and wasps.tree-swallows-gloucester-massachusetts-copyright-kim-smith

Tree Swallows eating insects on the beach and from the crevasses in the driftwood.

Utilizing both fresh and saltwater to bathe, Tree Swallows have a unique habit of quickly dipping and then shaking off the excess water while flying straight upwards.

Tree Swallows begin migrating southward in July and August. The flocks that we see gathering on Cape Ann migrate along the Atlantic Flyway. They overwinter in the southern states of the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. Unlike migrating species of butterflies, several generations of Tree Swallows migrate together, the older birds showing the younger birds the way.

Music composed by Jules Massenet: “Méditation” from Thaïs

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