Category Archives: Cape Ann Wildlife

GLOSSY IBIS FLOCK IN MAGNOLIA

Glossy Ibis Gloucester Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015JPGThank you to the wonderful Anderson Family for sharing their Glossy Ibis sighting. After Chris’s super tip, I easily found them foraging in the fields several mornings in a row. I think there are anywhere between 20 to 30 members to the flock. They don’t allow you to get very close. Someone with a a 300-400mm lens may be able to take much better close ups. Nonetheless, they are fun to watch. I imagine since they are here at the end of June, the ibis may be nesting.

Dear Readers, If you see the Glossy Ibis, can you please share the time and day of your sighting. I understand from Mass Audubon that they rarely breed in our region and it would be exciting if we sighted a breeding pair. Thank you!

And thank you once again to the Andersons who this past year have supplied us with Snow Goose, Brant Geese, Snowy Owl, and now Glossy Ibis tips!!!

Glossy Ibis in flight Gloucester Massachusetts  ©Kim Smith 2015JPG

A Group Of 5 Coyote Pups Made It Through The Tough Winter And Are Ready To Play On Eastern Point #GloucesterMA

You may remember Sherman “Pat” Morss incredible National Geographic Quality Coyote photos on Eastern Point February 16th 2015-

Pack Of Coyotes Photographed On Eastern Point After The Storm

Well, there’s a new pack-

Joey:

Our coyotes seem to have survived the winter.  Here is the next generation playing around our house on Eastern Point, a little waterlogged on Fathers Day.  We have 5 in all.

Best Regards, Pat

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And Then There Were Three! Baby Bird Update.

Three little chicks chillin’ in our nest!

Some of you have asked for updates on our little eggs and the feathered interloper who has found its way into the House Sparrow nest in our front porch hanging plant.

If you’re not sure of the background information, check out the post HERE!

We started with a nervous momma bird who would bolt each time we entered/exited our little house.

Soon enough we realized that there was a perfect little nest inside our hanging plant with four small eggs….and one larger one.

We discovered the larger egg belonged to an “Interloper”…in this case a Cowbird.

Just a couple of days after the discovery, the baby cowbird hatched.

Somewhere along the way the four house sparrow eggs dwindled slightly to just three! No trace of the egg shell anywhere.  Weird.

The momma house sparrow began taking care of the newly hatched chick…who clearly hatched from an egg deposited into her nest…by a totally different bird!

The update comes here…

A couple of days later, there are now also two much smaller babies in the nest.  For now, the three birds are snuggling together nicely and all seems OK in their world.

Will the peace continue??  I sure hope so!

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Bring on the Butterflies

How sweet is this little Butterfly Garden!  Kudos to the students and staff at O’Maley Innovation Middle School for putting this together.  Kudos also to Awesome Gloucester for knowing a good thing when they see it….as this garden was funded by them!  I love all of the excellent tidbits of knowledge that are available while enjoying the beauty of the space.  What a treat to happen upon this while headed in for a cold, 90 minute hockey practice!

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Interloper

For the past week or so, each and every time we come and go through our front door, a momma house sparrow (I think) takes off from one of our hanging plants and sits in a nearby tree until the coast is clear.

The other day I figured I’d peak into the plant to see just what was going on in there.  I found four precious little eggs…and one, much larger, speckled one.  Hmmmm.

After a shout out to social media and some research, I quickly discovered that we had an interloper on our hands.

According to dictionary.com the definition of interloper is

a person who interferes or meddles in the affairs of others or a person who intrudes into a region, field, or trade without a proper license.

As it happens, cowbirds are interlopers (or the bird variety) and it seems that is what egg #5 might just be.  When the momma of the house (or plant, in this case) was away the female cowbird apparently snuck into the nest and deposited her own egg to be incubated along with the others.  Sneaky.

Upon researching further, I realized that this practice will often lead to the demise of the resident eggs.  The cowbird is much larger and demands more food once being hatched.  Often times the smaller birds don’t stand a chance.  I thought about removing the interloper egg, but that didn’t seem right.  I also read that sometimes all of the birds may hatch and grow successfully…so I didn’t want to do anything that would jeopardize that possibility.

The very next day I peaked inside the nest again…and low and behold…the interloper bird had hatched.  It is now three days old and still the only bird in the nest.  The momma house sparrow still comes and goes each time we do the same.  We have been keeping our distance, but I did sneak a few photos….and it would appear that the momma is indeed nurturing the young interloper bird.

I sure hope the other four eggs hatch and that their well-being is not at risk.

*After reading this post this morning to check again for any typos, etc. I noticed that the original 4 House Sparrow eggs have already decreased in number to three.  Not sure how I missed that fact!  Did one egg get kicked out of the nest?  Is the 4th egg underneath the hatched baby bird?  I don’t think so. Did it already hatch and not survive? Hmmm.

Read more about this interesting avian phenomenon HERE

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BEAUTIFUL BABY SWAN GONE

Mute swan cygnet  Massachusetts  -1©Kim Smith 2015The beautiful single cygnet at Henry’s Pond has disappeared. Did anyone by chance see what happened?

Mute swan cygnet pen, female Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015May 28, 2015

Mute swan cygnet cob pen, female male Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015May 30th, male, or cob on the left, female pen on the right, cygnet tucked between the two

Mute swan cygnet -3  Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015June 7th, adeptly preening, or oiling its feathers.

Mute swan cygnet pen, female Massachusetts -2 ©Kim Smith 2015Anytime is nap time.

Mute swan cygnet pen, female Massachusetts -3 ©Kim Smith 2015June 12th early morning, last sighting.

 

 

Loblolly Cove ~ Red-winged Blackbird Habitat

Loblolly Cove Rockport Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015Loblolly Cove, Rockport
Male Red-winged Blackbird Massachusetts -4 ©Kim Smith 2015Male Red-winged Blackbird

Friend me on Facebook and follow me on TwitterInstagram, and Vine. You can also subscribe to my design website at Kim Smith Designs, and film’s websites at Beauty on the Wing ~ Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly,Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project, and Life Story of the Black Swallowtail Butterfly.

Comsos 12 ©Kim Smith 2014 copy

Eider Encounter

Finishing up filming cygnets and ducklings for the morning, I noticed a Great Blue heron swoop onto the shore. I got my gear back out and headed over to where it appeared to have landed along the rocky coastline. With eyes peeled for the heron I nearly tripped over the female Common Eider. Literally. Oval-shaped and seemingly immobile, the eider looked just like another rock on the beach. She didn’t budge while I kneeled down on the sand and photographed and filmed her, cameras positioned no more than a foot away. I only stayed close for a few moments and then moved further away and watched for awhile as she thoroughly oiled her feathers. She didn’t appear to be injured. Concerned as I was that she could easily become a coyote’s breakfast if she wasn’t able to fly, still I thought it best to leave her be. As I returned to my car and turned for one last look, she was flying straight up, helicopter fashion, and then forward towards the sea.

Female Common Eider Rockport Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015

 Female Common Eider

Friend me on Facebook and follow me on TwitterInstagram, and Vine. You can also subscribe to my design website at Kim Smith Designs, and film’s websites at Beauty on the Wing ~ Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly,Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project, and Life Story of the Black Swallowtail Butterfly.

Milkweed Seedpod ©Kim Smith 2014

Stars of the Marsh

Male Red-winged Blackbird Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015Heard at nearly every New England marsh, one can’t help but notice the beautiful and seemingly never ending song of the male Red-winged Blackbird. From sunrise to sunset he’s calling to his girl. Early this spring I set out to record the sounds of the marsh for my Monarch film. The male Red-winged Blackbirds are the stars of the marsh and while capturing their vocalizations, I also was also able to capture footage of their fascinating behaviors.Male Red-winged Blackbird Massachusetts -5 ©Kim Smith 2015

 Male Red-winged Blackbirds Perching on Cattails (and Eating the Seed Heads, Too)

You’ll see many more males because they perch on higher ground, at the top of the cattails, phragmites, scrubby shrubs, phone lines, and treetops. They are defending their territory through song and a showy display of red and yellow wing bars. The males too, often swoop to the edge of the pond’s shoreline and peck at the sand.

Female Red-winged Blackbird Massachusetts  -3©Kim Smith 2015

Plain Jane Female ~ What’s All the Fuss About!

The female Red-winged Blackbird, with her more subdued feathers of brown and beige, typically stays closer to the ground, building her nest and eating insects.Female and Male Red-winged Blackbird Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015

Female Red-winged Blackbird in the foreground with male in the background. As you can see in the photo, the female looks like a large dark sparrow.

Loblolly Cove ©Kim Smith 2015Loblolly Cove ~ Red-winged Blackbird Superhighway

Comsos 12 ©Kim Smith 2014 copy

Friend me on Facebook and follow me on TwitterInstagram, and Vine. You can also subscribe to my design website at Kim Smith Designs, and film’s websites at Beauty on the Wing ~ Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly,Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project, and Life Story of the Black Swallowtail Butterfly.

See More Photos Here Read more

Day Three Filming the Ducklings

Mallard Duck Family ©Kim Smith 2015I’m a bit sad to write that all but one of the ducklings that I have been filming has survived. He stays very close to Mama Mallard and Pa is never too far away. Today I filmed two different Mallard families, one with three ducklings and the other with five. I hope they have a better survival rate.

Mallard Duckling ©Kim Smith 2015Mallard Duckling Grooming ©Kim  Smith 2015Sleeping Mallard Duckling ©Kim Smith 2015Nap Time

Thank You Lynn Bird, Catherine Ryan, Charles, and George

For giving up another Sunday morning to help at the HarborWalk. I am so thankful for your continued help, especially this spring with our daughter’s upcoming wedding. You are doing a tremendous job. I just can’t express how greatly appreciated is your time, energy, hard work, and thoughtfulness. Thank you also to Lise Breen, Amy Kerr, Leslie Heffron, and Beth Chiancola for your help many Sunday mornings this spring.

Through working on the HarborWalk I have met some of the nicest and most kind hearted people one could ever hope to meet. If you would like to lend a hand and come work with the amazing Friends of the HarborWalk, email me at kimsmithdesigns@hotmail.com.Charles and George King ©Kim Smith 2015

Today we planted patches of butterfly, bee, and songbird attracting annuals. I am so proud of the job George and Charles accomplished–64 plants all on their own!

 

Who Sees weasels? Al Bezanson, That’s Who!

Our boy Al Bezanson submits-

Pop!

I was approaching my back steps and focusing a telephoto lens on these flowers when up popped a weasel. He appeared for just a few seconds three times, and I managed this quick shot on his last pop. He seemed to be staring me down, and my expression mirrored his I’d guess.  I was very happy to see him, for a single weasel typically kills hundreds of mice in a year.

Weasel crop

Have you ever seen a weasel?  Fairly certain I haven’t.  Is that weird that I haven’t seen a weasel?

WOW! What a Team ~ Thank You Friends of the HarborWalk Volunteers!

My best #GloucesterMA HarborWalk Helpers Charles and George!

A video posted by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

Thank you Lynn Bird, Amy Kerr, Catherine Ryan, Charles and George for an awesome and fabulous job! We spent the morning weeding and getting the HarborWalk beds ready to plant butterfly attracting annuals. Lynn, Amy, and Catherine are just amazingly helpful and super hard workers. With special thanks to Charles and George for their enthusiasm and wonderfully positive attitude. The boys pitch right in and just really attack the worst of the oversized weeds–we especially enjoyed the funny names they’ve assigned the most offensive weeds, names such as tidy whities!

Gloucester HarborWalk volunteers ©Kim Smith 2015

Gloucester HarborWalk Volunteers Lynn Bird, Amy Kerr, Catherine Ryan, George, and Charles

Day 2 Filming the Duckling Family

Mallard Duckling ©Kim Smith 2015The Mallard Duck family that I have been filming during the early morning hours this past week is allowing me to get very close, venturing to within two feet from where I am tucked in amongst the reeds by the water’s edge. The ducklings mirror the parent’s every action and they are are especially adorable learning how to oil their feathers. Although the female attempts to stay close, and the male is always hovering nearby, one is becoming increasingly independent, a little too independent if you ask me. I can’t get over the ducklings vulnerability–its a miracle any survive to adulthood.

Female Mallard and Ducklings ©Kim Smith 2015

The mixed flock of ducks is comprised mostly of Mallards, with several pairs of American Black Ducks mixed in. A single pair of Blue-winged Teals was spotted for several days.

Blue-winged Teal adult male breeding ©Kim Smith 2015

Blue-winged Teal Adult Male Breeding Plummage

American Black Duck ©Kim smith 2015American Black Duck

Baby Bunny Nest ~ An Enchanting Discovery!

Look what we uncovered while working at a client’s garden ~ 

A baby, baby bunny nest!!!

A photo posted by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

Baby rabbits are called kits or kittens and these look like they are Eastern Cottontails, the most common and widespread species of rabbits in North America.

Discovered a bunny nest at a client's garden this morning. Sooooooo adorable!

A video posted by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

In the future if I accidentally come upon a similar looking nest, I think I would leave it undisturbed. We were very startled by the sight of the baby wild rabbits after pulling away leaves and the downy soft “lid,” or protective covering, and they very nearly were almost raked!

Guess what this is?!? @livviiiiii @mabdeluxe @djsarrouf @laurelanneb

A photo posted by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

 

Look What Andrea Holbrook Captured ~ A GLOSSY IBIS IN GLOUCESTER!

 

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Andrea writes, “OK , because of where I work — Gloucester — and amazing bird photos posted by friends — that would be you Kimberley Caruso and Kim Smith — I find myself stopping to shoot shorebirds with a camera. Spotted Thursday morning at Grant Circle, a glossy ibis and two snowy egrets. Not great photos but I had never seen a glossy ibis before!”

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Thank you so much Andrea for sharing your photos of the stunning Glossy Ibis. It’s breeding range in the Western Hemisphere is quite narrow and I would love, love to capture this species on film. Keeping my eyes peeled thanks to you!

From the Mass Audubon website, “In Ancient Egypt, ibises were venerated as sacred birds. They were believed to have a connection to the deity Thoth, the wise scribe and lorekeeper of the Egyptian pantheon. While Glossy Ibises are not literate, they are marvelous travelers. The Western Hemisphere population of this species represents a fairly recent arrival to the New World, believed to be descendants of birds who flew from Africa to South America in the early nineteenth century (Davis & Kricher 2000). Read More Here

 

NO GEESE ALLOWED!

Don’t mess with Mama Swan!

Mute Swan attacking ©Kim Smith 2015

Mute Swans are extraordinarily powerful birds and I have seen them turn on a dime, especially at this time of year when the cygnets are beginning to hatch. The above Canadian Goose tried to make a landing but was immediately rebuffed, in no uncertain terms. Several times since, I have observed geese circling overhead, but as soon as the swan is seen, they immediately change course.

Make Way for Ducklings

Mallard Duckilngs ©Kim Smith 2015JPG I was standing so still while filming yesterday morning that I don’t think the female mallard was at first aware of my presence. What a wonderful treat to see she and the ducklings emerge from the reeds growing along the water’s edge. They are amazingly fast and adeptly darted through the water and across the beach, as though they had been born months earlier. I was getting a tremendous cramp and had to stand quickly, which was mama mallard’s cue to chide the ducklings back into the tall grass.

Mallard female Duckling ©Kim Smith 2015Female Mallard and Duckilng -1 ©Kim Smith 2015

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