Tag Archives: brace cove

BATHING BEAUTIES

“Seal Rock” is without a doubt, the Harbor Seals favorite rock. There is usually a “king (or queen) for the morning,” and they determine who is allowed on the rock and who is not. Typically, the queen is the largest and she lets the visitor know, with lots of loud grunting and growling, if they are not welcome.

Harbor Seals are site faithful, meaning they will spend their lives along the same stretch of coastline where they were born, fish, and haul out.

Even though seals look like they are basking in the sun, they are actually hauled out to thermoregulate. Seals do not like to touch each other. Observe closely next time you see a raft on the rocks and you will notice that they go to great lengths not to physically come in contact with one another.

Brace Rock and “Seal Rock”

I am reposting the Harbor Seal psa because of a recent incident. What would be your initial reaction if you saw a seal hauled out on the beach? Most likely, to get up close to the seal to see if it was injured. That is human nature but it is actually the worst action you could take. The Harbor Seal in this video struggled to survive the world of curious humans. By approaching too closely, you could very well force the seal back into the water. Harbor Seals, especially juveniles, haul out for a variety of reasons, mostly to rest, less likely because of injury or illness, and oftentimes to escape a shark.

GLOUCESTER AFTER STORM RAINBOW TO POWER OUTAGES

From rainbow to power outages, the wind and rain storm of October 30, 2017 had it all.

Rainbow light over Saint Ann’s steeple #gloucesterma

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Brace Cove Panorama

ANGRY GOD OF THE SEA

I see in the surf spray the face of an angry sea god. What do you see?

Roiling sea at high tide today #goodharborbeach #gloucesterma #hurricanejose

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Sustainable Seaside Goldenrod

Angry sea #backshore #gloucesterma #hurricanejose

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This morning around 8am

HOW DO HURRICANES AFFECT MIGRATING SHOREBIRDS LIKE LITTLE CHICK?

We can hope our Little Chick is taking his time migrating southward. Perhaps he has traveled only as far as Cape May, New Jersey, or maybe he has already migrated as far as Cape Lookout, North Carolina. Migrating shorebirds often travel shortly after a low pressure system and hurricanes are a part of the environment to which wildlife like Piping Plovers have adapted. However, no wildlife has in the recorded history of the world had to cope with a storm the magnitude of Hurricane Irma.

Piping Plover foraging, building fat reserves for the southward migration. The above PiPl was one of four of a small flock traveling in Gloucester, spotted on August 24, 2017.

Extraordinary weather events can push endangered species over the brink. High winds, storm surges, and wave action destroys coastal habitats and flooding decreases water salinity. Songbirds and shorebirds are blown far off course away from their home habitats, especially young birds. A great deal of energy is expended battling the winds and trying to return to course. Songbirds have it a little easier because their toes will automatically tighten around a perch but seabirds and shorebirds are the most exposed.

Shorebirds like Piping Plovers feet have evolved to run over sand easily and do not grip well with their toes.

Numerous Piping Plovers winter over in the low-lying Joulter Cays, a group of sandy islands in the Bahamas, and one of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Irma. Perhaps migrating PiPl sensed the pending hurricane and held off before crossing the Atlantic to reach the Bahamas and other Caribbean Islands. The flock of nine PiPl in the above photo were seen last year at the end of August in Gloucester (August 29, 2016.)

One famous shorebird, a Whimbrel named Machi, who was wearing a tracking device, became caught up in the eye of a powerful storm but made it through to the other side of the storm. Tragically, he was subsequently shot dead in Guadeloupe. Many migrating birds like Whimbrels know to avoid places like Guadeloupe where unbridled shorebird hunting is allowed, but Machi had no power over where he made landfall. Sea turtles too are severely affected by the loss of barrier beaches. Staggering loss of life has been recorded after recent powerful hurricanes–fish, dolphins, whales, manatees, baby crab and lobster estuaries, insects, small mammals, all manner of birds–the list is nearly as long as there are species, and nothing is spared.

A pair of Whimbrels at Brace Cove in July 2015

If you see rare or an unusual bird after a storm or hurricane, please let us know and we can contact the appropriate wildlife official.

GLOUCESTER EAST FOGGY MORNING SUNRISES

Evocative September light makes for striking foggy morning sunrises.

 Good Harbor Beach yesterday morning

Brace Cove today

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!

 

WHERE DO SWANS GO DURING A STORM?

We friends of Mr. Swan think he is practically a genius. You would have to be, to survive the oftentimes inhospitable shores of Cape Ann. And, too, he is well over twenty years old and has out lived two mates!

Mr. Swan at Brace Cove

Mr. Swan is a species of swan called a Mute Swan, which do not migrate great distances. Instead, they move around from body of water to body of water within a region. When Mr. and Mrs. Swan were raising their young, by mid summer, when food was becoming less plentiful and water levels receding at Henry’s Pond, the entire swan family–mom, dad, and all the cygnets–would travel for the remainder of the breeding season to Niles Pond, a larger pond with a more plentiful supply of aquatic vegetation. Several weeks ago, the brackish water of Henry’s Pond thawed. Mr. Swan returned to the Pond, but then with a stretch of cold weather, it quickly refroze. He headed over to Pebble Beach to forage for food in the saltwater cove. This week, sensing the coming nor’easter, Mr. Swan moved over to Rockport Harbor, which rarely freezes, is less rough than Pebble Beach, and where a supply of food is readily available. Whether a September hurricane or March blizzard, Mr. Swan rides out the storm tucked in along the edge of pond or harbor.

Don’t you find it very interesting that although not indigenous to this country, Mute Swans have adapted many strategies for surviving our changing seasons, and with the seasonal changes, the differing types of, and amounts of, food available.

Mr. Swan at Rockport Harbor

When the freshwater ponds freeze, Mr. Swan goes foraging for food in the saltwater coves.

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If you see Mr. Swan at any of our local bodies of water, please be very kind to him. Dogs, no matter how well meaning, will make any swan feel threatened. And please, if you must feed him, only feed him whole corn. No junk food ever. Swan junk food includes bread, crackers, chips, and Doritos. In all the years that I have been filming Mr. Swan, never once have I fed him. Mr. Swan has friends, wonderfully kind stewards, who regularly look after his well-being, supplementing his native diet of pond greens and seaweed with cracked corn, and that is quite sufficient for his good health.

Thank you everyone for looking out for Cape Ann’s one and only Mr. Swan!

Mr. Swan at Henry’s Pond

Mr. Swan at Rockport Harbor and Niles Pond, with His Ever-present Entourage of Quackers

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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MAGICAL AND EVOCATIVE GLOUCESTER WINTER WONDERLAND

pavillion-band-stand-stage-fort-park-copyright-kim-smithThis morning’s snow and ice lingered all day, shrouding the city in such a hauntingly beautiful manner that I couldn’t help but take the late afternoon off and went looking and taking as many photos as possible before the sun set.  stage-fort-park-copyright-kim-smitheastern-point-lighthouse-snow-copyright-kim-smithbrace-cove-house-copyright

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Saint Anthony’s by-the-sea Snowy Morning

st-anthonys-by-the-sea-chapel-gloucester-snowy-day-copyright-kim-smithSaint Anthony’s Chapel, early this morning when it was still snowing. I am hoping to post a second batch of photos from later today, of the hauntingly beautiful scenes of snow- and ice-shrouded Gloucester however the branches and phone lines are laden and our lights keep flickering on and off. I hope we don’t lose power tonight but won’t be surprised if we do.

St. Anthony's by-the-sea #gloucesterma #snowyday #scenesofnewengland

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st-anthonys-by-the-sea-chapel-gloucester-copyright-kim-smith-copybrace-cove-snowy-day-gloucester-copyright-kim-smithBrace Cove Snowy Morning

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.

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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

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SNOW DAY! SNAPSHOTS FROM THE MORNING AFTER SNOWSTORM

Early morning from the east side of Gloucester, after the snowstomst-anthonys-chapel-snowstorm-gloucester-ma-copyright-kim-smithSaint Anthony’s By the Sea

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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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HAPPY FIRST DAY OF THE NEW YEAR SUNRISE (and one winsome Harbor Seal)!

Not the prettiest of sunsets, though not bad for a chilly January first morning. Initially it looked to be a bust, but the clouds parted a bit and the sun shone brightly through. Happy New Year wishes. I hope the coming year brings you much love, joy, happiness, and peace

Sunrise sequence January 1, 2017

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new-years-day-sunrise-eastern-point-gloucester-2017-brace-cove-21-copyright-kim-smithnew-years-day-sunrise-eastern-point-gloucester-2017-brace-cove-seal-1-copyright-kim-smithnew-years-day-sunrise-eastern-point-gloucester-2017-brace-cove-20-copyright-kim-smith

SUPER MOON, HOWLING COYOTES, FLYING SWAN, SONGBIRDS GOING CRAZY, AND BEAUTIFUL BRACE COVE DAYBREAK

rocky-neck-smith-cove-daybreak-copyright-kim-smithLast Tuesday was a photographer’s magical dream morning. After photographing and filming December’s “Long Night’s Moon” descending over the Gloucester city skyline, I turned toward the east to see a peaceful daybreak scene over Rocky Neck. Perhaps the sun hadn’t fully risen I thought and hurried to Brace Cove. The sun had rose behind Brace Rock with just enough clouds that it was still pretty, not blasted out by too much light.

I then walked along the edge of Niles Pond, meeting up with Mr. Swan who was occupied with his morning swim, which often indicates he is readying to take flight. He did, and with movie camera in hand, he circled the Pond before landing at Brace Cove, near the breakwater.

Eerily, the coyotes were howling in the distance, actually howling, like wolves, and for quite a long while. I often hear their meet-and-greet yipping and socializing barks that they make shortly after sunset, and too the terrible sound they make when killing a creature, but I have never heard them howling in the morning. I wonder if it had something to do with the full moon? Do our readers hear coyotes howling regularly?

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Tufted Titmouse

Further along the Pond walk there was a large flock of American Robins and they, along with a lively group of Blue Jays, Tufted Titmice, Song Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, and Cardinals were hungrily eating every berry in sight, so much so that when I returned to the same spot a few days later, there wasn’t a berry or fruit to be seen. A magical morning at a magical place we’re fortunate to call home.

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December Long Night’s Moon

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