Category Archives: eastern point

FIRST GLIMPSE AT THE BEAUTIFUL SHIPS COMING OUR WAY!

The beautiful Bluenose II was sailing along the backshore at top speed in this afternoon’s wind and whitecaps.

Bluenose II is operated by the Lunenburg Marine Museum Society on behalf of the Province of Nova Scotia. Read about Bluenose II here.

Bluenose II rounding Brace Rock

The Tall Ships Drop Anchor in Canada and the US

More than 40 Tall Ships will be sailing Canadian waters to honour the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation in 2017. They are scheduled to stop at host ports in Ontario, Québec and the Maritimes, giving thousands of people the opportunity to admire the majestic beauty of these cathedrals of the seas.

BEAUTIFUL CAPE ANN FOGGY DAYS

Greater Yellowlegs foraging in the marsh.

I have loved this past month’s atmospheric and textured, misty April weather. Do you recall an April as foggy? I don’t. Whenever out and about and a spare moment was mine, I grabbed my camera and had a go at capturing beautiful fog-shrouded Cape Ann.

Piping Plover

Trying out the new teleconverter–note the little tiny figure fishing on the breakwater in the photo on the left, which was shot at 18mm, and then with the 400mm lens plus tele.

Same focal lengths with Ten Pound Island.

And then the sun came out.

MOTHER ANN

First named Tragabigzanda after a Turkish Princess, Cape Ann was later renamed by King Charles in honor of his mother, Queen Anne. The granite rock formation at the tip of Eastern Point looks to me like the silhouette of a figurehead on a ship’s bow. Historically though, Mother Ann is thought to represent either a reclining Puritan woman or Anne of Denmark, the mother of King Charles.

I have been experimenting with different focal lengths with the new 1.4 teleconverter. The first photo was taken at 400mm with the teleconverter. I am not sure if the fog or the lens is creating the softness but I think it’s going to be lots of fun nonetheless, especially for wildlife.

RED IN THE MORNING, SAILOR TAKE WARNING

Red Sky Sunrise Niles Pond

 

Red sky in the morning,

sailor take warning.

Red sky at night,

sailor’s delight.

This old saying has a scientific explanation and you can read about it here on the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory website.

SNOWY DAY TOUR OF GLOUCESTER

Snowy April Fools Day scenes from Niles Beach, the Greasy Pole, City Hall, backshore, Bass Rocks, Good Harbor Beach, Fitz Henry Lane house, and more. 

#snowyday #gloucesterma Niles Beach seagulls #aprilfoolsday #spring #snow #seagulls

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Greasy Pole countdown – only two months to go! #snowyday tour #gloucesterma #aprilfools #spring #snow

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Snowy day tour of Gloucester #aprilfools #spring #snowyday #gloucesterma #cityhall

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RARE? ICELAND GULL AT NILES POND!

First-year immature Iceland Gull, center left foreground

The pretty white gull was on the last remnant of ice at Niles Pond yesterday morning, preening and bathing alongside a mixed flock of Great Black-backed and Herring Gulls. Although doing his/her best to blend with the other gulls, he appeared to be playing with a feather blowing around on the ice.

I wonder who amongst our readers has seen an Iceland Gull, and where it was spotted. Please write and let us know. Thank you!

Iceland Gulls are most often only seen in our region during the winter. Despite their name, they do not breed in Iceland, but in the high Arctic and Greenland. Their diet consists of fish, marine vertebrates, carrion, some terrestrial and aquatic plants, and berries during the late summer.

I wished I could have gotten closer to get a better photo, but if you scroll through the following pdf, written by Dick Coombs, you’ll find an excellent description of a 1st-winter immature Iceland Gull, just like the one at Niles, along with photos of a mature Iceland Gull: http://www.southdublinbirds.com/nimages/fyles/IDofIceland&GlaucousGulls-print(DC).pdfNiles Pond foliage readying to burst

COYOTES ON THE RUN!!

Four coyotes on the causeway–thank goodness for the immediacy of cell phones, but oh how I wish my camera gear was not in the back seat!

 

SPRING IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER!

Under the weather with a two-boxes-of-tissues-a-day head cold, I haven’t been out walking as much as usual. This afternoon I popped over to Niles to take our Rosie out for a very short walk, just in time to see off in the distance a male and female Ring-necked Duck resting at the icy water’s edge, along with freshly opened branches of pussy willows. Spring is surely on her way!

Ring-necked Ducks for the most part breed further north. I imagine the little flock that is at Niles is only here for a brief period of time.

BEAUTIFUL BRACE COVE

The Brace Cove/Niles Pond causeway is weathering the winter very well so far, knock wood.

brace-cove-panoramaBrace Cove and Niles Pond Panoroama. Click image to see full size.

Brace Cove daybreak

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CALM AFTER THE STORM

mr-swan-sleeping-2-copyright-kim-smithMr. Swan was safely nestled in along the shore at Niles Pond yesterday morning during the nor’easter. I found him this morning sleeping amongst the reeds, none the worse for the storm.

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Niles Pond Causeway

The newly restored causeway weathered the storm beautifully. By day’s end the waves had settled but this morning at high tide they were still packing some fury. In the next photo, I am standing on the far side of the pond, looking towards Brace Cove. As you can see, the waves were crashing into the causeway.

niles-pond-brace-cove-after-noreaster-copyright-kim-smith

brace-rock-seagull-copyright-kim-smith

WILD WAVES! SCENES FROM THE NOR’EASTER AT HIGH TIDE

WILD, WET, AND WINDY–there is incredible beauty to be seen in the power of the sea. 

noreaster-backshore-waves-2-gloucester-1-24-17-copyright-kim-smithDogbar Breakwater Lighthouse noreaster-backshore-waves-6-gloucester-1-24-17-copyright-kim-smith

#noreaster high tide Eastern Point #gloucesterma #scenesofnewengland

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TONIGHT’S BEAUTIFUL FULL WOLF MOON RISING OVER CAPE ANN

full-moon-wolf-moon-twin-lights-cape-ann-copyright-kim-smithTwin Lights in the Moonlight

While out for an early evening walk with our pooch tonight I was unexpectedly delighted to catch the full Wolf Moon rising over the back shore. I wonder whose house that is on Niles and if they knew the moon was rising so picture perfect above their home.full-moon-wolf-moon-brace-cove-gloucester-seals-cape-ann-copyright-kim-smithBrace Cove Harbor Seals lolling about under the moonlight on this unseasonably warm evening

full-moon-wolf-moon-niles-pond-gloucester-cape-ann-copyright-kim-smith

BEAUTIFUL BACKSHORE-BRACE COVE-GOOD HARBOR BEACH-TWIN LIGHTS BIG ROLLERS – and hello there fearless (crazy) person(s)

good-harbor-beach-gloucester-waves-copyright-kim-smithAs one bank of clouds departed, another soon took its place. The waves were wild and wooly but the surfers were out in full force at GHB and Brace Cove.back-shore-good-harbor-beach-gloucester-waves-copyright-kim-smith

Pretty Spindrift Wave

Not for the faint of heart–from where I was standing way across on the other side of the Cove you could hear the roar of the waves slamming Brace Rock–would you ever try this?surfers-brace-cove-back-shore-gloucester-waves-2-copyright-kim-smithsurfers-brace-cove-back-shore-gloucester-waves-copyright-kim-smith

And crashers #gloucesterma #scenesofnewengland #waves

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WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES RED-TAILED HAWK DEVOURING GREAT CORMORANT CLOSE UP

ALERT: Please skip this article if you are feeling the least bit squeamish.

Click on the Read More tab below the text to see all the photos.

red-tailed-hawk-eating-prey-gloucester-massachusetts-21-copyright-kim-smith

Looking for Snow Buntings while walking alongside Niles Pond, I came around a bend in the road and noticed from a distance the head of a large bird pecking at something on the embankment. Hmmm, a hawk, that’s why there weren’t any birds to be found. Hawks swooping their territory overhead quickly clears the woods and puts the kibosh on photographing songbirds.

Inching forward, baby step by baby step, the hawk was broad and large, and with its beautiful rust-red tail feathers, I thought it was most likely a female Red-tailed Hawk. The females are 25 to 30 percent bigger than the males, and because this bird was definitely on the larger size, for the sake of our story, we’ll refer to the hawk as a female.

She was intently devouring a freshly killed bird and if she had not been very hungry, I doubt she would have allowed me to move in so close. At one point, after having nearly eviscerated the entire bird, she tried to lift and carry away the carcass with her claw-shaped talons (one of the last photos in the batch). She did not succeed and finding more body parts, continued to eat.red-tailed-hawk-eating-prey-gloucester-massachusetts-23-copyright-kim-smith

After a bit, some boisterous folks came up from behind, startling both the hawk and myself, and off she flew to the far side of the pond. I found a stick and turned the dead carcass over onto its back. The head was missing, but by looking at the black webbed feet as well as the chest and belly feathers, it quickly became apparent that the victim was a Great Cormorant. I am sad to say that I think it was the very same juvenile Great Cormorant that had been living at Niles Pond for the past month as I have not seen another since.

Red-tailed hawks are extraordinarily adept hunters and highly variable in their diet. Eighty percent of the Hawk’s prey is comprised of mammals. For example, mice, voles, squirrels, chipmunks, rats, and rabbits. Records indicate that they also eat songbirds, pigeons, shorebirds, and unbelievably so, female Wild Turkeys and pheasants. Now we can add Great Cormorant to the list. Red-tailed Hawks weigh approximately between 1.5 pounds to 3.2 pounds, female Wild Turkeys average 9 to 10 pounds, and Great Cormorants weigh 5 to 8 pounds.

There were birders in the neighborhood earlier that morning, the morning of the winter solstice, December 21st. I wonder if they saw the Hawk kill the Cormorant, or if the Hawk came upon the freshly killed bird and it had been taken down by another predator. If you were one of the birders watching the Hawk out on Eastern Point near Niles Pond, on December 21st, please write. Thank you so much!

MORE PHOTOS HERE

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