Category Archives: Cape Ann Wildlife

7 SEAS WHALE WATCH REPORTS SPECTACULAR MULTIPLE WHALE SIGHTINGS

Fifty to sixty Humpbacks, two Finbacks, and hundreds of Atlantic White-sided Dolphins, 7 Seas Whale Watch had an extraordinary day at sea! 13119989_1325663077450650_629713697218533361_oApril 27, 2016

We just returned from what will do doubt be remembered as one of the best whale watches of the 2016 season. I hesitate to even give an estimate of the number whales we saw because I feel it will set unrealistic expectations, but here goes: We travelled 13 miles southeast of Gloucester (to the northwest corner of Stellwagen Bank) and saw an estimated 50-60 HUMPBACK WHALES (I identified 30 individual whales and I know I didn’t get to half of what was out there), plus 2 FINBACK WHALES and hundreds of ATLANTIC WHITE-SIDED DOLPHINS!

13116226_1325663114117313_1235761831051625421_o13087194_1325663320783959_3556942711709654565_oAll of the whales were feeding. At one point we had a group of at least 12 Humpbacks feeding together. The whales were blowing huge rings of bubbles at the surface (these bubble rings trap and concentrate fish) and then rising up through the bubbles with their mouth wide open in one of the most impressive feeding displays we have seen in a long, long time.

While feeding was no doubt the main activity of the day, we were also treated to a spectacular display of breaching from a young Humpback Whale calf – “Venom’s” new calf! 13112985_1325663234117301_9145072562073087217_o

13072895_1325663324117292_4720881406728456174_oYou can see many more photos, read the full account, and book your spectacular whale watching excursion aboard the beautiful Privateer IV here: 7 Seas Whale Watch

 

COYOTE ON THE BEACH!

Eastern Coyote Canis latrans massachusetts Kim SmithFace to face

When out filming for projects, I’d often thought about what my reaction would be if ever again I came eye to eye with a coyote. Many have crossed my path, but too quickly and too unexpectedly to capture. I don’t bring my dog with me any longer because one brazen one had a go at her two winters ago and it’s just not a good idea to tempt fate. I hoped that calmness would prevail, allowing for a non-blurry photo, or two.

Well, I didn’t panic and got some great footage, and when the coyote was too far out of range for my movie camera, took a few snapshots.

Eastern Coyote massachusetts beach Canis latrans Kim Smith

This one appears smaller than what I have typically encountered, perhaps it is only a year or two old, or possibly coyotes are not as plump after the winter months. He/she was very intent upon scavenging in a bed of seaweed that had washed ashore and think it must have been quite hungry to allow me to get so close. He reluctantly left his meal as I moved toward him and then watched me for some time from under cover of beach grass. His shining eyes were easily seen in the fading low light. Mistakenly, I thought that was the end of our meeting and went back to filming B-roll.Eastern Coyote massachusetts Kim Smith

Beach grass provides excellent camouflage

I was losing the light and decided to call it a day. Packing up cameras and turning to go, there he was, a hundred yards away, staring at me. Deftly traveling through the tall reeds he had circled around. I don’t think he had me in mind for his next meal, but I was halfway between him and the scavanged dinner from which he had so rudely been interrupted. Plans on how to weaponize my tripod and camera bag quickly came to mind. He trotted leisurely towards me, changed his mind, and then trotted in the opposite direction. A car came down the road and he again turned toward my direction, making his way along the beach until slipping back into the grass.

If ever you have a close encounter with a coyote, be sure to remind yourself of this story and know that they may indeed still be very close by.

Well hello there!

Beauty Surprise at Twilight!

Female Mallard Nine ducklings Kim Smith

As much as I was surprised by this sweet glimpse of mama and her ducklings coming around a bend in the marsh, she was as equally surprised to see me, hidden behind a clump of tall grasses. One glance, and mom quickly departed with her nine (!!) newly emerged ducklings. Happy Earth Day!

HAPPY EARTH DAY/EARTH WEEKEND!

Red-winged Blackbird Kim SmithLast evening I was making audio recordings of marsh sounds for film projects and could not have picked a better night. Not only were the spring peepers loudly calling, the blackbirds were singing well past sundown. The resulting combination of bird songs and peepers created a veritable symphony.

Twilight music of the marsh – spring peepers and blackbirds❣

A video posted by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

EDITED W/EMAIL CONTACT INFO Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team Spring Peeper Field Trip Tonight at 9pm

EDITOR’S NOTE: To correspond with CAVPT, please email at cavpt@yahoo.com
Rick Roth writes from Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team

DID I MENTION WE NEED VOILUNTEERS FOR THIS WEEKEND?!?

And… there will be a field trip tonight.  Almost all the salamanders have left the vernal pools and gone back to the woods.  We might see a few.  Peepers should be screaming.  Meet at Walgreen’s parking lot on Main Street at 9pm. Look for my van, White Lightning.

My cell phone is still out of order.  So… those of you that have been calling or texting that you are helping with these shows, please respond to this email.  If you have not been calling or texting respond to this email anyway.  We need you.

Okay… CAVPT basically has three components: protection of wetlands and wildlife habitat, education- this is where we teach people about the importance of wetlands and wildlife habitat, and fundraising, which is where we get the money to do this.  So… this weekend we have apportunities to accomplish two of these goals, education and fundraising.  But we can’t do it without volunteers.  So far I have a total of one volunteer besides me for two shows.  Please get in touch and tell me you want to volunteer this weekend.

TWO SHOWS AGAIN THIS WEEKEND, so… we will need lots of volunteers:
Saturday  April 23, 2016  somewhere around noon or 1pm.
Snakes of New England and the World- one hour live animal presentation.
Earth Fest at Lynn Woods,  Lynn MA- Pennybrook Rd. entrance.

Sunday  April 24, 2016
Gloucester Pride Stride, Stage Fort Park, Gloucester
Pride Stride starts at noon.  We will be there with some sort of live animal exhibit for the after walk party.
We need people to walk for CAVPT and people to help with the exhibit.

And… keep gathering those yard sale items for the Big Giant Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team/Kestrel Educatrional Adventures Yard Sale, Saturday  May 28, 2016  9am-1pm, St. Peter’s Square in Gloucester.  Rain date- Saturday June 4th.

Thanks,  Rick

we only have one earth, save it

MY MONARCH BUTTERFLY FILM TRAILER!

Dear Friends,

I am super excited to write that today I am launching the trailer for my monarch butterfly documentary, Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly. I hope so much you enjoy watching as much as I have loved creating!

I am asking a huge favor of all my Good Morning Gloucester, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram friends and that is to please share the trailer, hit all like buttons, and if you have time, to please comment.

In seeking funding to finish the film, I am currently in the process of writing grant proposals. Recently, I was invited to join the Filmmakers Collaborative, which is a tremendous and well-respected organization that is providing excellent advice and will also act as the fiscal sponsor for the film. Each filmmaker represented by the Filmmakers Collaborative has a project page on the FC website and I invite you to visit mine here: Filmmakers Collaborative.

The next stages in finishing the documentary are title design, audio mixing, and color correcting. I’ll keep you posted on progress made through GMG, the film’s website, and my website.

Look for Pilar, Meadow, and Atticus in the trailer. They were wonderful and I am so appreciative of their assistance. There were additional kids from our East Gloucester troupe that participated in making the film however, I couldn’t squeeze them all in the trailer. I think you’ll love all the children’s parts in the finished film!

For more information about the documentary, please visit the film’s website here: Beauty on the Wing

My most sincerest thanks to everyone for your kind support!

DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH

 

Mute swan Kim SmithDiamonds in the rough

Pipe down duckies, Mr. Swan is having his morning nap!

A video posted by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

Mr. Swan resting (trying to) in the early morning sun. Mallards courting make nap time difficult.

Pebble Beach sunrise Rockport Kim SmithThis morning at Pebble Beach

Homie and Rubber Duck’s Fifth Anniversary

Five years since Rubber Duck and Homie met on that blustery day April 18, 2011. The Fifth is the wood anniversary. Homie gave Rubber Duck a carving of Homie. (Homie is a little self-centered.)

Homie would have carved it himself but he has no opposable thumbs.

Homie would have carved it himself but he has no opposable thumbs.

The following is a repost of Hpmie and Rubber Duck’s First Anniversary describing that fateful hook-up five years ago today.

Homie: “You’re not from around here are you? May I show you the cove?”

Solitude of the lonely Homie.

Cold, lonely, rubbery, but Patriotic!

A little stand offish at first.

They’re eyes locked and Homie was in love.

“So how many children should we have?” Homie wasn’t wasting any time.

“I have a lovely nest on Milk Island.”

You’re not listening to a word I’m saying!”

“We could make it work!”

“Do you think it’s safe to come out?”

Your friends are rude Homie.

Rubber Duck out on the Town at another Fred Bodin Christmas party.

I cannot believe it has only been one year since the Rubber Duck met Homie on a blustery day just like today, April 18, 2011. When I posted that first part of the Rubber Duck saga I was only joking about it being a twenty part series. Little did I know that maybe a hundred posts later the story is still not finished. To commemorate their anniversary I repost the first few chapters. Later this week will be an update of how Homie and Rubber Duck spent their day today. Part I posted April 18th, 2011:  (This will be a twenty part series.) Part II posted April 19th, 2011: But first, the back story. Two lonely birds:  But soon the connection was made and time stopped. ”  “I am so out of here!”  But Homie came back of course and took Rubber Duck all over. The Rockport Dump, Thacher Island lighthouse, Maine, Florida, meeting Santa when he arrived in Rockport, wine tasting at Passports, Duck Confit at Duckworth’s. Then, just a few months later, things got a little weird: Last sighting of RD was at the Spring Fling two weeks ago with rumors that she was at the Thirsty Golf contest at the DogBar last week when Joey caught her again staring at him.  Flexilis anatidaephobia is the fear that a rubber duck is staring at you and Joey has got it bad.

A Modern Day Gloucester Sea Monster Encounter

A true story, the following is a modern day fanciful beast encounter. I have been reluctant to write about this adventure for fear it would draw sight-seers to regions of Cape Ann off the beaten path, as happened with the white pelican sighting. Now that the mystery of its identity may perhaps be solved, I think it safe.

One morning at daybreak as I was unloading my gear at Brace Cove, I paused to scan the edges and then the whole of Niles Pond. I do this often when out filming and photographing at our local ponds and marshes, looking for swans and other wild birds that may be seeking shelter along these idyllic shores. In the middle of the pond was a float of ice with a great many seagulls just beginning to awaken with the rising sun. Nothing unusual about that. What caught my attention was a very large brown shape there on the ice amongst the gulls. Harumph! I said to no one but myself, what a view spoiler and how utterly trashy that a large brown paper lawn and leaf bag should blow out to the middle of the pond and become stuck there. And then the brown shape slithered into the pond. I not only saw it, but heard the very distinct sound of a creature sliding expertly into water. I tried in vain to catch another glimpse and spent the remainder of the morning half spooked and half kicking myself for not more hurriedly making the effort to film and photograph the “garbage bag.” If only I’d known it was alive!

Shortly after the creature encounter, I read about the Ten Pound Island sea monster sightings and concluded, that yes, a mysterious sea creature could easily swim around Eastern Point Lighthouse, haul up at Brace Cove, cross the causeway, and have himself a swim at Niles Pond, if he were so inclined.

I thought about this beast encounter for weeks and at one point, somewhat embarrassedly, asked my husband to come with me to photograph a moonlit evening at Niles Pond as I wasn’t sure I wanted to come face to face with such a great creature at night. By myself. Being the good sport that he is, he came, if just to prove that it was perfectly safe to photograph in the moonlight.

As mentioned, I’ve been hesitant to write this until very recently when at Henry’s Pond, on a rainy and chilly early spring morning I spied for only a few moments what appeared to be a very mini version of the Niles Pond creature. It was swimming at top speed with a long sinuous streamlined shape beneath the surface of the water and only a bit of its head visible above the water. I took a blurry snapshot and raced home to search books and internet for any clues. The creature was too big to be a muskrat and its tail too slender to be a beaver. I am almost certain that what I saw at Henry’s was a North American River Otter. Two weeks passed when while filming Mr. Swan, again on an overcast morning at Henry’s, the little creature energetically appeared near the marshy shore on the opposite side of the pond, looked all around, dove, re-emerged, again looked all about, and then disappeared. This time I was able to capture a few seconds of video of this inquisitive little otter.

What I have learned about North American River Otters is that they can grow very large, up to five and half feet and weigh thirty pounds. There is the Great River Otter of South America, which can grow over six feet, but the creature I saw at Niles was about four and half to five feet long.

Well there you go, a modern day fanciful beast encounter. After seeing my beast, I think it quite easy to understand how sea monster stories from days gone by could so easily capture people’s imaginations.

Please write if you think you have seen a River Otter in your neighborhood. Thank you!

Look toward the marsh in the first clip, with Mr. Swan in the foreground. You can see the bobbing head of the otter in the background. I was hoping to see the otter again and try to capture better footage but it has been several weeks and no further sightings.

HOW COLOR IS CREATED IN BIRD FEATHERS PART 2

Turkey male fanning tale feathers feathers Kim SmithStructural Color

Have you ever wondered why sometimes you can see the brilliant red gorget (throat feathers) of the male Ruby-throated and Allen’s hummingbirds, and sometimes not at all? Or why iridescent feathers appear green, and then blue, or possibly purple, and then in the next moment look drab and dreary? I think about this when photographing birds such as grackles, buffleheads and hummingbirds. Most recently, the turkeys in our community are currently displaying their wildly varying iridescent feathers when in full courtship mode.

Bufflehead Kim Smith

Bufflehead Iridescence

Iridescent Red Gorget in Male Allen’s Hummingbird, same bird, different angles

Layering

There are two types of structural color, layering and scattering. Iridescence in bird feathers is created by layering. Bird feathers are made of a translucent protein called keratin, which is a very rugged substance. Not only are the feathers made of keratin, but keratin coats the bird’s claws, legs, and bill. Because of the structure of the feather, with its microscopic barbules, when light hits the feather it causes the wave lengths to bend, or refract. Keratin reflects short wave length colors like purples, blues, and violets. The other colors are absorbed by the underlying layer of melanin. The refraction works like a prism, splitting the light into an array of colors. As the viewing angle changes, because of the viewer’s movement or because the bird is moving, the refracted light displays a shimmering iridescence, or none at all. Beautiful color combinations are created when iridescent layers are combined with pigments present.

Turkey male iridescent feathers -2 Kim SmithIn the above photo, the male Turkey’s iridescent feathers surrounding the head make a splendid display in full sun.

These same feathers appear entirely different when back lit.

Turkey male iridescent feathers Kim Smith

Grackle Kim Smith 2016

Iridescence in Grackles

Scattering

Keratin is interspersed with tiny pockets of air of within the structure of the feather filament (called barb). Scattering is created when light hits the pockets of air, which results in specific, non-iridescent color. The color blue in feathers is almost always created in this manner. Feathers of Blue Jays, Bluebirds, and Indigo Buntings are prime examples of scattering.

Here are two graphics found online that I found very helpful in trying to visualize the difference between layering and scattering. The first shows how iridescence is produced and the second, how blue scattering is created.Struct-Color-DIA-Iridescent_Myaedit_coloracrticle-674x441Bird_Biology-Feather_structural_blue-674x450

 

HOW COLOR IS CREATED IN BIRD FEATHERS

In thinking about how colors are created in bird feathers, I wondered if it was similar to how color is formed in butterfly wings. I learned that yes, it is very similar, and that bird feather color has evolved in several ways, from pigmentation present or as a result of light refracting through the layered structure of the feather.

Northern Cardinal Male Kim Smith

Color from Pigment

Pigments are colored material found in plants, animals, and nearly every physical substance in nature. Pigmentation in birds comes from three different sources: melanins, carotenoids, and porphyrines.

Melanins are tiny bits of color in the feathers of birds and in their skin. Melanins produce colors from palest yellow to rusty red browns to the richest black, depending on where the melanin is located and in what degree of concentration. Feathers with melanin are the strongest of all. A bird’s flight feathers are the most susceptible to wear and usually have the highest degree of melanin.

Red-winged Blackbird male Kim Smith

American Robin Kim Smith

Red-winged Blackbirds and American Robins are strong flyers. Their flight feathers have rich concentrations of melanin.

Carotenoids are produced by plants. Birds that eat specific plants, or eat something that has eaten the plant, acquire pigment from carotenoids. A carotenoid-rich diet is responsible for the beautiful vermillion feathers of the Northern Cardinal, as well as the electrifying cadmium yellow of the male American Goldfinch. Another example is the pink feathers of the flamingo, which also have a diet rich in carotenoids that come from the crustaceans that they eat, which ate algae. Melanins and carotenoids can interact to produce feathers such as olive green.

The third group of pigments are called porphyrins and they are the rarest, found only in a handful of bird families. Porphyrins are produced by modified amino acids and all share a common trait, which is to fluoresce bright red when exposed to ultraviolet light. Porphyrins are found in some pigeons, owls, and turacos.

The intensity of the red of the Northern Cardinal is an example of how feather color plays an important role in the survival of a species. Cardinal foods high in carotenoids include rose hips and dogwood berries. The brightest red birds usually have superior breeding territories, with the greatest abundance of their preferred foods. The reddest birds make the most successful parents because of their ability to bring an increased amount of food to the nestlings. When Cardinals are raised in captivity on a diet lacking in carotenoids, with each successive molt, the feathers become paler and paler.

Like butterflies, birds can see color in the ultraviolet spectrum (we humans cannot). Perhaps the way we see birds is entirely different from they way they see themselves!

Part Two Structural Color continued tomorrow.

Red-winged Blackbird in flight male KIm Smith

Male Red-winged Blackbird

STRUTTIN’ HIS STUFF!

A face only a Mother could love ~Wild Turkey male close up wattle, caruncle, snood Kim Smith 2016

Male turkey’s faces are brilliantly colored red, white, and blue and change color depending on what mood. A solid white head indicates the most excited.

Wild Turkey male Courtship display Kim Smith 2016

There were three males courting in this group, with one being the dominant Tom. To attract the females, the males were spreading their tail feathers (called strutting) and spitting. Group courtship like this usually takes place after the winter months in March and April, when they are still flocked together.

Wild Turkey male female Tom pea Courtship display Kim Smith 2016Tom and Hen Eastern Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey male female Tom pea Courtship display -2 Kim Smith 2016

Anatomy_of_turkey_headAnatomy of a Turkey Head

1) Caruncles

2) Snood

3) Wattle (dewlap)

4) Major caruncle

5) Beard

Notice the small light tan colored holes to the right of the eye in both the above photo and the top photo. That is the Tom’s ears with which he can hear quite well.

The photo below is not tack sharp so I almost didn’t post however, it demonstrates that this turkey is comparatively more excited as his face is more white and blue than the turkey in the first photo. And you can see the ear quite clearly in this photo, too.

Wild Turkey male close up wattle, ear, snood, caruncle Kim Smith 2016

Domestic turkey photo courtesy wiki.

SCENES FROM AROUND CAPE ANN’S BEAUTIFUL MARSHES

Cape Ann marshes are coming to life, in spite of the snowy days and unseasonably cold temperatures. Choristers make themselves readily known with their mating songs and with still bare tree limbs, they are fairly easy to spot.

Red-winged Blackbird male Rockport MA Kim Smith 2016

Sing, sing, sing!

Cardinal Female Kim Smith 2016Mrs. Cardinal

Mouring Dove pair Kim Smith 2016Camouflaged! No eggs yet at the Mouring Dove nest.

Swan male rockport MA Kim SmithMr. Swan looking good.

cat in nine tails Kim SmithDissipating cattail seed heads make for terrific songbird nesting material.

Turn up your volume and listen for the male Red-winged Blackbird song in the instagram below, just audible enough through the noisy Mallards quacking.

Swan check up and Mr. Swan is doing aokay. No sign of a new Mrs. though.

A video posted by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

 

MYSTERY AT LOBLOLLY COVE

Mystery at Loblolly Cove

Loblolly Cove late day

A photo posted by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

Don’t you love the sound of the word loblolly? I am curious as to why Loblolly Cove is called as such. There is the Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda) but that is a species that grows in the the southern United States. Nautically speaking, loblolly refers to a thick gruel served on ships. Geographically, in some southern US dialects, a loblolly is a mire or mudhole. Loblolly Cove is neither of these. Perhaps the namer of Loblolly Cove just liked the name. To me, it sounds like the perfect setting for a mystery novel, the kind you read when a kid on summer vacation – “Mystery at Loblolly Cove.”

Scenes from around Loblolly Cove

Cardinal Loblolly Cove rockport Kim SmithSing Your Heart Out Fella!

Common Eider juveniles Kim SmithYou may have noticed odd-looking Common Eiders on our shores lately. They are juvenile males. It takes several years for the adult male to develop his distinctive black and white wing pattern.

Common Eiders Bufflehead Kim SmithAdult Male and Female Common Eider with Male Bufflehead in Flight

Sweet sounds of spring – male Cardinal love song ❣

A video posted by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

 

 

 

SEASIDE GARDEN CLUB PRESENTS SIMPLE STEPS TO ORGANIC LAWN CARE

The Seaside Garden Club is pleased to present Chip Osborne’s Simple Steps to Organic Lawn Care program on Tuesday, April 12th at the Manchester Community Center.  Doors open at 7:00 pm for social time and program begins promptly at 7:30 pm. Special for this month only – Members’ spouses/significant others are invited to attend at no charge! All are welcome. Guests $5. Light refreshments will be served.
In this presentation Chip Osborne will discuss some compelling reasons why we should consider a natural approach to lawn care.  Public health, children’s health, storm-water runoff, and water quality issues are all reasons why we should begin to reduce our dependence on synthetic and chemical products to grow our lawns and gardens. His approach will be to share the mission of pesticide reduction and elimination through an “Awareness Through Education” program.  Armed with sound information about these products, we can then make informed decisions about how we choose to take care of our properties. Chip will then present “Simple Steps to Organic Lawn Care”©, a detailed approach to a natural lawn care program.  Basic steps will be outlined and explained in a common sense approach.  The basic premise of this lawn care program is a threefold systems approach that he has developed after years of study. It is a Systems Approach to Natural Turf Management™ that includes 1) A basic understanding of soil biology, (an acknowledgement that the soil is very much alive). 2) The proper use of natural, organic products as indicated by soil testing. 3) Specific and sound cultural practices. This will be explained so that the do-it-yourself-er will be able to care for the lawn or so that the homeowner can convey their wishes to their landscape contractor.  The information in this presentation is also a very good introduction to natural lawn care for the landscape contractor.  The presentation will also address what we can do at the municipal level to reduce our negative impact on human health and the environment by the continued use of synthetic products to maintain our public spaces.
Charles “Chip” Osborne, Jr., founder and President of Osborne Organics, LLC, has over 10 years experience in creating safe, sustainable and healthy athletic fields and landscapes through natural turf management, and 35 years experience as a professional horticulturist. As a wholesale and retail nurseryman, he has first hand experience with the pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides routinely used in landscape and horticultural industry. Personal experience led him to believe there must be a safer way to grow plants. His personal investigation, study of conventional and organic soil science practices, and hands-on experimentation led him to become one of the country’s leading experts on growing sustainable, natural turf. Along the path to greening his own industry practices, Chip became a regular lecturer for the Northeast Organic Farming Association, a board member of Beyond Pesticides, Chairman of the Marblehead, Massachusetts’ Recreation and Parks Department, and speaker nationwide on the topic of turf management for athletic fields and landscapes. He speaks to a wide audience of sports field professionals, state and municipal agencies, and community groups. In 1998 Chip and Pat Beckett, co-founded The Living Lawn Project in Marblehead, MA, one of the country’s first natural lawn demonstration sites. It is a nationally-recognized, living example that beautiful, healthy grass can be grown without the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.  He remains a dedicated environmental activist speaker for communities wanting to learn about why and how to change their town policies.  Visit Osborne Organics website: http://www.osborneorganics.com/
Chip Osborne
Membership is now open for the 2016/2017 season (still on $25 for the entire season)! The Seaside Garden Club meets the 2nd Tuesday of the Month (September through June) and are always looking for new members.  Visit our blog https://seasidegardenclub.wordpress.com/

KIM SMITH POLLINATOR GARDEN PROGRAM AT MARBLEHEAD’S ABBOT LIBRARY WEDNESDAY NIGHT

Please join me Wednesday, March 23rd, for my Pollinator Garden program at the Abbot Library, 235 Pleasant Street, Marblehead. The program begins at 7:00pm and is sponsored by Marblehead’s three garden clubs, The Driftwood, Cottage, and Marblehead Garden Clubs. I hope to see you there!

Pink flowering dogwood Cornus florida rubra Kim SmithCornus florida rubra ~ The pink flowering dogwood is truly one of our most beautiful native trees, not only for the beauty of its blossoms but because the female Spring Azure butterfly deposits her eggs on the yellow florets.

Mourning Dove Story from Jacqueline Bennet

Good morning Kim,

I saw your post on Good Morning Gloucester today and thought you might enjoy these shots.
Last spring, late March into April, I was lucky enough to have a pair of mourning doves nest in a shrub about two feet from my front door. Each day I was able to watch on my way out and into the house. i called them my “grandbirds”. Some of my coworkers thought I was a bit crazy. I wondered how this bird could stay so long, but after some research and observation, I saw that that male and female took turns on the nest. Two eggs hatched, but I think only one survived to leave the nest. On the first day I realized the bird was gone I missed it, and wondered how it was then, when I arrived from work that evening, I spotted it in a ground cover next to my house. I was able to follow it’s growth to “teenage” size with its parent. I am hearing the doves again this spring. I can’t help but wonder if they are the same birds I watched last year. It would be wonderful to see such a thing again this year. I don’t know if they ever nest in the same place again.fledgling 2 babies (1) mom and teen agerThanks so much Jackie for sharing this story!

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