Kim is very excited about this development as there’s two different kinds of eggs in the nest. I’m sure she’ll chime in and explain why this is a thing.
Kim is very excited about this development as there’s two different kinds of eggs in the nest. I’m sure she’ll chime in and explain why this is a thing.
Our Young Swan, or Schwan as Lyn calls him, is resting comfortably at Lyn’s home. Lyn and Skip (Lyn’s neighbor and longtime caregiver to Mr. Swan) brought Schwan to see Dr. Cahill at Seaport Veterinary Hospital this morning. Dr. Cahill’s diagnosis is that his foot most likely sustained only a soft tissue injury. He is on both antibiotics and pain medicine. After a week of rest, Dr. Cahill will decide if he needs an X-ray.
Many, many thanks to Dr. Cahill for generously donating his services.
After recovering, Schwan may be heading to North Carolina. Lyn has a friend with a farm and a pond. The pond even has a floating raft for ducks and geese!
Lyn Fonzo Photo
DR. RAY CAHILL
SEAPORT VETERINARY HOSPITAL
100 EASTERN AVENUE
Thank you to reporter Litsa Pappas and videographer Steve Wright from Fox 25 for taking the time to learn about Gloucester’s nesting Piping Plovers and for sharing their story 🙂
The story airs tonight at 6 on Fox 25!
Gloucester’s Animal Advisory Committee is meeting tonight to vote on whether or not to change the Good Harbor Beach dog rules. The meeting is at 6:30 at City Hall, 3rd floor. At present dogs are allowed at GHB through April 30th. Our hope is that the new ordinance would shorten the time, to end on March 31st. Nesting Piping Plovers, as well as the many species of shorebirds migrating through (and some also nesting at) Good Harbor Beach would benefit tremendously from this change to the ordinance. Thank you!
As he cannot, or will not, fly we do not know how long he can live without drinking fresh water. Lyn is feeding him romaine lettuce daily and he appears to be eating some seaweed, but that is not enough food.
Huge shout out and thank you to the Good Harbor Beach volleyball players! They set up their net away from the Piping Plover #3 nesting area, around the corner, closer to the creek. As far as I know, no one asked that they move their nets. Grateful for the consideration 🙂
We hope the Piping Plover eggs survive the storm. The parking lot hard pack does not drain that well. After they built their first nest scrape in the parking lot, I checked on it the next day following a rainstorm and the scrape was filled with water. Let’s hope for the best with this second parking lot nest.
This is the fish that so commonly attends sharks in tropic seas, either picking up a living from the scraps left by the latter, or feeding on the parasites with which their protectors are infested. They often follow sailing vessels, also. The only records of this species from within the Gulf include one taken in a mackerel net in Provincetown Harbor in October 1858, the fish probably having followed a whale ship that arrived a few days previous. From Fishes of the Gulf of Maine by Bigelow and Schroeder (1953) online courtesy of MBL/WHOI http://www.gma.org/fogm/Naucrates_ductor.htm SERENDIPITY, SOPERS HOLE, TORTOLA, 5/8/1961
I sailed in this 26 foot converted USCG Monomoy Surf Boat for more than 700 miles with three pilotfish. A double-ender with a tiller and very little freeboard, so we had a clear view of the rudder where our companions kept pace. On a 13½ day passage from Nassau to San Juan we were joined early on by thirteen pilotfish, but within a day ten were lost in an attack by dolphins. The three survivors stayed with us for twelve days until we lost sight of them in the murky water of San Juan as we sailed in by El Morro.
It was 1961, we had no engine, and for a couple days of light wind the Antilles Current carried us backwards. We named the fish after comic strip heroes like Smilin’ Jack and at times shooed away tropic birds as they hovered eyeing our fish. Much of the passage was in the Sargasso Sea and the fish would leave us at times to graze in patches of Sargasso weed, causing us great worry for their safety. We were prepared to turn back if they did not rejoin us.
FROM THE LOG OF SERENDIPITY MARCH 1961
I cleared off the signs, but rubber gloves and/or a shovel are needed to remove the dog poop on top of the wooden box.
People, and not just young people, were doing donuts in the parking lot on Sunday, right next to the PiPl cordoned off nesting area. When the PiPl monitor Heather asked if the donut-makers were aware of the PiPl, they said, “Yes, but we weren’t going to hit them.”
One pair of Plovers has already been forced into the parking lot by dog owners not properly managing their dogs. There is at least one more pair of PiPl, and The Bachelor, making use of the roped off nesting areas. It would be a heartbreaker to see a second pair forced off the beach and move their nest into the parking lot, too.
Please call 911 if you see anyone harassing or harming the Piping Plovers, or vandalizing the nesting areas on the beach or in the parking lot. Thank you so very much.
Earlier this week while checking on the PiPl, a small group of shorebirds caught my eye. They were foraging at the water’s edge. Although the fog was as thick as split pea soup and visibility not great, something seemed off with the birds–they looked like Piping Plovers–but seemed a tiny bit bigger, and the silhouette of their bills was larger and chunkier than that of our PiPl. When they scurried along, coming closer, I could see that their bills were solid black, too, and their legs and feet were a fleshy pink, not the bright PiPl orange.
The three foraged nearly identically to the way Piping Plovers forage, pecking and darting at the water’s edge, enough so that when Papa Plover caught sight, he chased them further down the beach and out of his territory.
In the above two photos, compare the orange legs and feet of the PiPl, versus the Wilson’s fleshy pink legs and feet. The PiPl bill is black with differing degrees of orange; the Wilson’s bill is pure black and thicker.
The mystery plovers were fairly far down the beach and I only got few good photos, but did take some footage of Papa chasing the odd plovers with the pale pink legs.
Later at home I was able to identify the shorebirds and amazingly, they are Wilson’s Plovers!! I write amazingly because they are a southern species of plover, rarely seen as far north as New Jersey. I mentioned to Greenbelt’s Dave Rimmer about the Wilson’s Plovers. I don’t think he believed me at first, but after taking a walk on the beach, he agreed, yes, they were Wilson’s Plovers!
Wilson’s Plovers live along beaches of the southern Atlantic and Gulf coasts. They are named after the ornithologist Alexander Wilson who discovered them on Cape May in 1813. The species is (and was at that time, too) very rare for New Jersey, let alone northern Massachusetts!
Pretty pink legs of the Wilson’s Plover.
Wilson’s Plovers are listed as threatened or endangered in some states. As with Piping Plovers, disturbances to nesting areas and loss of habitat are the primary threats to this plover species.
I only spotted the Wilson’s Plovers early in the day. The fog engulfed the shoreline even more, making additional sightings nearly impossible. The following morning I stopped by GHB to check on the PiPl, and did not find the Wilson’s. Ornithologists call these visitors in places far outside the bird’s range “vagrants,” but I prefer to think of them as guests. Please write and let us know if you see a Wilson’s Plover, and please take a snapshot if possible. Thank you.
As you may recall, the rescue cygnet was deposited at Niles Pond about ten months ago. Local residents Lyn Fonzo and Skip Hadden had been watching out for him and feeding him regularly, when he became frozen in the ice last fall. Lyn and Dan Harris rescued the Young Swan, and Lyn cared for him all winter long, feeding him and providing fresh bedding and water daily in a custom-made swan sanctuary.
Several weeks ago the Young Swan was released back to Niles Pond. Lyn has not yet seen him fly, not because of injury, but we think he simply does not know that he is a swan. Many species of birds imprint on the first thing they see upon hatching and when this little guy was found he was without parents.
Mr. Swan gave the Young Swan a tremendous thrashing today, as witnessed by several people, pounding his head against the ground and causing him to bleed. We can’t hold this behavior against Mr. Swan, he is just doing what swans do naturally, and that is to defend their territory, especially from other males.
Lyn volunteered to take the Swan back to her swan sanctuary while a new home is identified. Very unfortunately, it was determined that the Young Swan be placed in the OCEAN. The Young Swan has never swam in, or for that matter even seen, the ocean, and he cannot fly well. The excuse was that Mass Wildlife rules state that if an animal is not visibly injured it has to be returned to the wild. However, our understanding is that Mass Wildlife guidelines do not pertain to non-native species and to pets. The Swan’s caretakers were begging to keep the swan safe and not dump him on the beach, repeating that the swan would be cared for, yet, despite their pleas, he was taken to Niles Beach and released there.
He is currently swimming around and around in circles off of Niles Beach, in the harbor. We hope at some point tomorrow he will come to shore, where he can be recaptured and placed in a safe environment.
We hope he stays close to shore and out of the path of boats.
Piping Plover Eggs Good Harbor Beach Parking Lot
A second egg was laid yesterday by our Parking Lot Plover family. The second egg is an indication by the PiPl that they are committed to the nest, which means it is time to put up the wire exclosure. If the exclosure is installed earlier, the risk of the PiPl abandoning the first egg is far greater. We immediately called Essex County Greenbelt’s Dave Rimmer to let him know about the second egg.
Dave and his assistant Mike Carbone arrived early this morning to set up the exclosure. Roughly six feet in diameter and made of wire with four inch spacing, the exclosure’s four inch openings are the ideal size to let PiPl in and out, and to keep large predatory birds and small mammals from entering. With thanks and gratitude to Dave and Mike for coming so quickly to exclose the nest.
And thanks again to dog officer Teagan Dolan, who stopped by to check on the Piping Plovers and has been regularly ticketing 🙂
Thanks to our awesome DPW, who has barricaded the area, and to my husband Tom, who discovered the egg, our PiPlover egg is protected from cars and trucks. I checked on the PiPl this morning before work at about 6:30 to 7am and the PiPl were courting in the #3 nesting area. A dog off leash ran by and they quickly flew. I checked for an egg in their nest scrape in the parking lot before leaving and the egg had not yet been laid. Tom discovered the single egg at 11am and immediately spoke to Phil Cucuru, who was working on the boardwalks.
We are all going to work together to help our PiPl pair, despite this most difficult of all locations. One thing the pair has going for it is that this is relatively early in the season. If all four are laid within the upcoming week, we could have chicks by mid-June, a full two weeks earlier than last year. Dave Rimmer, from Greenbelt, will be placing the exclosure around the egg shortly. The DPW is placing a second tier barricade around the nest.
Please, please please, do not allow your dog in the GHB parking lot or on the beach. There were umpteen dogs, off leash and on, at Good Harbor Beach this past week, despite the fact that there should be no dogs after May 1st. I asked each person who had brought their dog where they were from–it seemed fairly equal–half were from out of town and half were local.
Our Mama and Papa are still mating in the nesting area. Whether the parking lot is their alternate plan or the only plan, at this point, please no dogs.
A second pair of PiPl arrived yesterday. Will they be staying or is GHB is just a stopover? The following may sound like a strange request, but part of the problem this weekend was kites. Just as we love dogs, there are few things more magical to a young child than flying a kite on the beach. The issue is, when folks are flying their kite over the nesting area, to a PiPl, a kite looks like a giant vulture looming overhead, ready to snatch them up. Please when flying a kite (or a drone) on the beach, please fly away from the nesting area, keeping the kite at least 500 yards away from the Plovers. Early in the season there was a pair of Turkey Vultures eating a dead seagull on the beach. It was amazing to film the PiPl reaction because as the Vultures flew overhead, all the PiPl, and the one Dunlin, foraging in the intertidal zone flattened to the sand in unison, and stayed that way long after the Vulture had disappeared over the horizon.Thank you to everyone for all that you are doing to help the PiPl. Special thanks to Joe Lucido, Phil Cucuru, and the tremendous support from the DPW crew, to PiPl monitor Heather Hall, who spent many hours at GHB this past weekend watching over the PiPl, and to my husband Tom, for his eagle eyes.
There are no words to describe these beautiful animals. They were not as close but you could see them and also their fluke and spouting.
WCVB reporter Duke Castiglione was on Long Beach yesterday for the following story. Click on the link below to see Cape Ann locals and Castiglione at Long Beach!
WCVB: Federal authorities have extended a ban on trap gear closures for part of Cape Cod Bay to reduce the risk of right whales becoming entangled in trap gear.
Right whales are critically endangered and scientists say their population has been decreasing since 2010 due to continued mortality and low birth rates.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, recent aerial surveys have observed upward of 100 right whales — about 25% of the known population — within Western Cape Cod Bay.
Officials said high plankton counts indicate the whales will likely remain in the bay into next week.
The whales have also been spotted off the coast of Cape Ann.
The Salem News reports Marblehead has been treated to some rare sightings of right whales over the past several days.
Right Whales are feeding along the Massachusetts coastline on their northward migration to feeding grounds off the coast of Nova Scotia, amongst other northern locations.
Martin writes, “The North Atlantic Right Whales that have been spotted around Gloucester spent the morning feeding just off Long Beach. And I mean just off; in some cases, within 20 feet of the rocks.
Mariners are urged to use caution and proceed at safe speeds in areas used by right whales. Federal law prohibits operating vessels 65 feet or greater in excess of 10 knots in certain areas and times along the US east coast. Approaching right whales closer than 500 yards is a violation of federal and state law.
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT ACTIVE DMA ZONES AND SHIP STRIKE REDUCTION
DETAILS OF SIGHTINGS CAN BE VIEWED AT:
DETAILS OF ACOUSTIC DETECTIONS FROM CORNELL UNIVERSITY:
***NEW NUMBER TO REPORT RIGHT WHALE SIGHTINGS IS 866.755.NOAA***
Right Whale Sighting Advisory System