Tag Archives: brace cove


Harbor Seals spotted coat Atlantic ©kim Smith 2015Providing excellent camouflage, Harbor Seals have evolved with coats that blend perfectly with the surrounding rocks and sandy shores on which they “haul out.”  Each individual Harbor Seal’s pattern of spots is unique, with two basic variations, either a light coat with dark spots or a dark coat with light spots. Their bellies are generally lighter colored.

Harbor Seals are easily disturbed by human activity, which is the reason why they are all looking in my direction. I climbed way out on the rocks to get a closer look that they found disturbing enough, when a loud crash in the distance made them all jump simultaneously.

Harobr Seal white Atlantic ©Kim Smith 2015JPGFellow friends of Niles Pond and I have all noticed that the seal in the above photo is noticeably whiter. He has a big gash on his neck as you can see in the close-up photo, which I didn’t notice until looking through the pictures. I wonder if that is why he has been spending so much time on the rocks. Perhaps he is recovering.

Injured harbor seal ©Kim Smith 2015

Interesting fact: Although Harbor Seals have been seen as far south as the Carolinas, Massachusetts is the most southern region in which they breed.


Imagine the excitement when after filming Mr. Swan this morning, I spotted across the pond a very swan-like large white bird. The first thought that came to mind was a new Mrs. Swan had magically appeared on the scene. But no–not as wonderful–but equally as exciting, with its large orange pouched bill, the bird was unmistakably a pelican!

It was swimming toward the berm so I raced back to the other side of the pond and was able to get somewhat nearer, close enough so that the footage is passable. Without warning, the pelican suddenly took to the air with elegant, graceful wingbeats and I was lucky to have movie camera in hand. The light was murky this morning and all would have been more beautiful if the sun were out a bit more. Nonetheless, it’s great to have a record of this very unusual occurrence.

The American White Pelican is a rare sight in Massachusetts and I wonder if any of our readers have ever seen one on our shores. Please write if you have. 

With wings spanning nine feet, the American White Pelican is one of our largest native birds, only the Trumpeter Swan and California Condor are larger, reportedly having up to ten-foot wingspans. Comparatively, the wings of a Mute Swan span approximately seven to eight feet. Please note that Mr. Swan is a Mute Swan, not a Trumpeter Swan, and is not indigenous.

The Niles Pond pelican was far off course. Pelicans east of the Rocky Mountains typically migrate through the Mississippi Valley, from breeding grounds in northernmost North America to the Gulf of Mexico Texas and Florida coasts. Unlike Brown Pelicans, which dive and plunge for food, white pelicans catch prey while swimming.

As with the Brown Pelican, during the mid-twentieth century, the American White Pelican was severely adversely affected by spraying DDT in fields and wetlands. Habitat destruction, shoreline erosion, and mass poisonings when pesticides are used near breeding grounds continue to threaten the American White Pelican.

White pelican Massachusetts gloucester ©Kim Smith 11-16-15Far off course, a white pelican migrates through Gloucester

american_white_pelican_map_bigMap provided by South Dakota Birds, via Peter Houlihan, who is Anna from Cape Ann Giclee’s brother. Peter teaches biology at UMass Amherst, has a PhD in biology/animal behavior, and is an ornithologist. Thank you Peter!


Daybreak from around Niles Pond, Brace Cove, and Henry’s Pond in Rockport.

Niles Pond Sunrise ©Kim Smith 2015

Niles Pond 

Brace Cove Rock Sunrise Gloucester ©Kim Smith 2015Brace Rock Daybreak

Good morning from Brace's Rock!

A photo posted by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

Brace Cove Sunrise ©Kim Smith 2015

Brace Cove

Mr. Swan ©Kim Smith 2015Mr. Swan Morning Preening

Mr. Swan left Niles Pond yesterday morning and although he flew in his usual direction towards Henry’s Pond, he did NOT fly to Henry’s, which had become his habit. I did not see him at Henry’s, Niles, or the harbor this morning either. Perhaps he has flown to another region in search of a new Mrs. Swan. We can only hope!

See additional photos here of Mr. Swan, dead skunk, and more ~ Read more


Scenes from around Niles Pond and Brace Cove OctoberCattails in the wind ©Kim Smith ©2015

Cattails in the windPainted Turtle Niles Pond ©Kim Smith 2015Painted Turtle

Brace Cove ©Kim Smith 2015

Gulls departing Brace Cove after the storm

Great Blue heron Gull Seals Brace cove ©Kim Smith 2015

Great Blue Heron, seals, and gull


Mr. Swan seems lonely still. The past few days he swims around and around the pond and continues to call plaintively.

A video posted by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

See More Photos Here


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Brace Rock Gloucester MA ©Kim Smith 2015 JPGBrace Cove and Niles Pond in the lifting fog ~ When I first got to the causeway, Brace Rock was completely obscured. As the fog drifted away an army of cormorants began to appear, joining the gulls on the rocks and feeding from the surf.

More photos here Read more

Eastern Point Before and After Thunderstorm Photos AND WHIMSICAL WHIMBRELS!

Gloucester storm 2015On my way home from work several days ago. I stopped to take a photo of the fast and furious oncoming storm. To my utter delight I spotted a pair of whimbrels feeding alongside the mallards at the water’s edge however, to my dismay, I only had my still camera. They didn’t allow for close-up photography and flew off in the direction of Brace Rock as soon as this human was noticed. Returning with movie camera after the storm to see if they were still in the neighborhood, they were not, and have not been spotted since.

Whimbrels East Gloucester Massachusetts july 25 ©Kim Smith 2015The only other time I have seen a pair of whimbrels, or any whimbrels for that matter, was at Good Harbor Beach several years ago, in mid-September. Whimbrels breed in the Arctic, departing in July for parts further south. It seems early in the season for them to have begun their southward migration, or perhaps they have been here all along. I wonder if any of our readers have spotted whimbrels?

Gloucester storm ©Kim Smith 2015


Harbor Seals Brace Cove Sunrise ©Kim Smith 2015Photos from around Eastern Point early morning walks. Happy Earth Day!

Male Red-breasted Mergansers ©kim Smith 2015Two Male Red-Breasted Mergansers Sunning on a Rock

Black-crowned Night Heron -2 ©Kim Smith 2015Black-crowned Night Heron ~ One of a nesting pair possibly?

Male Red-winged Blackbird love song. Niles Pond daybreak. #gloucestermaspring!

A video posted by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

Male Red-winged Blackbird Love Song (turn up your volume)


Black-crowned Night Heron ©Kim Smith 2015The other half of night herons often spotted near each other

Needle in a Haysack Heron ©Kim Smith 2015JPGNeedle in a Haystack! ~ Looking for Black-crowned Night Herons

Brown-headed Cowbirds ©Kim Smith 2015Brown-headed Cowbirds

Northern Rough-winged Swallows ©kim Smith 2015Northern Rough-winged Swallows (I think)


Local Business Still Going “Strong” ~ An Illustrated History of R.B. Strong Excavating

RB Strong excavator bucket ©Kim Smith 2014Local Business Still Going “Strong”

An illustrated lecture on the history of the R.B. Strong Excavating & Sewerage Contractor, Inc.

GLOUCESTER, Mass. (April 17, 2015) – The Cape Ann Museum is pleased to present Who We Are Is Who We Were – Historic Businesses of Cape Ann: R. B. Strong on Saturday, April 25 at 3:00 p.m.

Join professors Janeil Rey and Shelby Clark for an illustrated talk on the history of the R.B. Strong Company, dating back to its founding by their great grandfather Walter Cressy in the mid-1800s. From paving the original runways at Boston’s Logan Airport to their role in the creation of the Cape Ann Museum’s sculpture park, the excavation company has been “Strong on Quality” since the late 1800s. This program is free for members or with Museum admission.

R.B. Strong Going “Strong” on the Niles Pond Brace Cove Causeway Restoration


Who We Are Is Who We Were – Historic Businesses of Cape Ann is an ongoing series of presentations focusing on Cape Ann businesses that have been in existence for over one hundred years. The series launched in 2011 with Ryan & Wood Distilleries and has included Cape Pond Ice, H.A. Burnham Boat Building & Design, and the sail making, furniture restoration and fine art painting businesses located at 16 Rogers Street in Gloucester.

Niles Pond Brace Cove casueway restoration excavator ©Kim Smith 2014.

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The Cape Ann Museum tells multiple stories, all relating to Cape Ann. Founded in 1873, the Museum’s collections represent the history of Cape Ann, its people, its industries, its art and culture. For a detailed media fact sheet please visit www.capeannmuseum.org/press.

The Museum is located at 27 Pleasant Street in Gloucester. Hours areTuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is $10.00 adults, $8.00 Cape Ann residents, seniors and students. Youth (under 18) and Museum members are free. For more information please call: (978)283-0455 x10. Additional information can be found online at www.capeannmuseum.org.

Comsos 12 ©Kim Smith 2014 copy

#GloucesterMA Eastern Point Thawing!


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Kim Smith Cosmos ©Kim Smith 2014 -mediumFriend 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.

Seals Basking…In the Fog?

Seals Brace Cove Brace's Rock ©Kim Smith 2015The seals appeared as delighted as we were for today’s return of warmer temperatures. Despite the lack of sunshine, I counted 22 socializing and lollygagging, five on one rock alone!Seals Brace Cove Brace's Rock Eastern point Gloucester ©Kim Smith 2015

Niles Pond driftwood ©Kim Smith 2015JPGThe giant twelve-foot log tossed by the sea, up and over onto the Niles Pond side of the causeway, is seemingly supported by nothing but frozen snow. And Niles Pond is still thawing, with only a small cluster of mallards huddled together in the center of the ice. I hope the swans return soon!

Niles Pond frozen ©Kim Smith 2015

More Gloucester Sea Smoke Photos

Sea Smoke Gloucester MA Brace Cove -1 ©Kim Smith 2015Brace Cove Sea Smoke

This morning I set out to check on the swans at Niles Pond and was as captivated by the beautiful sea smoke coming off the Atlantic as were my fellow contributors. I didn’t see the swans, but then again, it was too cold to look for very long.

Sea Smoke Gloucester MA Brace Cove ©Kim Smith 2015 Sea Smoke Gloucester MA Brace Rock ©Kim Smith 2015.JPG Brace Rock

Day’s End Brace Cove

Is this flotsom or jetsam or neither?

Flotsom Marine Debris Brace Cove Gloucester MA Beach ©Kim Smith 2014Large Tangled Mass Washed Up at Brace Cove  ~ approximately 8 feet wide by 5 feet high

I’ve always used the words interchangeably to describe any debris washed up on the beach, not realizing there is a notable difference. From the NOAA website: “Flotsam and jetsam are terms that describe two types of marine debris associated with vessels. Flotsam is defined as debris in the water that was not deliberately thrown overboard, often as a result from a shipwreck or accident. Jetsam describes debris that was deliberately thrown overboard by a crew of a ship in distress, most often to lighten the ship’s load. The word flotsam derives from the French word floter, to float. Jetsam is a shortened word for jettison.

Under maritime law the distinction is important. Flotsam may be claimed by the original owner, whereas jetsam may be claimed as property of whoever discovers it. If the jetsam is valuable, the discoverer may collect proceeds received though the sale of the salvaged objects.”

It is also noted on the website that the majority of trash that covers our beaches and floats in our oceans comes from sewers and storm drains, as well as from recreational activities, namely from picnickers and beach goers.

Little Lost Dog Bengi at Brace Cove Update

Update: GMG reader Lisa provides the following link: http://www.lostmydoggie.com/details.cfm?petid=78091. Please contact the owner if you see Bengi.


To the owner of the little white lost dog Bengi, as of 2:35 today, Thursday, he is at Brace Cove. A bunch of us tried to catch him, but he does not want to be caught. He’s going up and down the beach and tearing through the deeply thicketed path. He does not have a tag. Please let us know when Bengi finds his way home. Thank you so much.

Lisa writes: 

I too saw little Bengi on Niles beach on Christmas. We had no luck catching him. Above is the link to him but no contact to the owner. Does anyone know were he belongs in Gloucester? It says this little fella has been missing since Dec 19. The police said he was reported running around Rocky Neck on Christmas Eve. If anyone knows his owner please tell them to search East Gloucester!! Last I know the little fella was seen on Grapevine.

Little Lost Dog Bengi at Brace Cove

To the owner of the little white lost dog Bengi, as of 2:35 today, Thursday, he is at Brace Cove. A bunch of us tried to catch him, but he does not want to be caught. He’s going up and down the beach and tearing through the deeply thicketed path. He does not have a tag. Please let us know when Bengi finds his way home. Thank you so much.

Niles Pond Brace Cove Berm Restoration Update

Niles Pond Brace Cove berm causeway restoration ©Kim Smith 2014Progress continues on the restoration of the barrier that protects Niles Pond from becoming Brace Cove’s salt marsh.

Niles Pond Brace Cove berm causeway restoration -3 ©Kim Smith 2014.JPGThe native pussy willow trees remain intact while much of the invasive phragmites appear to have been removed. Come spring, perhaps Seaside Goldenrod and other tough, salt tolerant natives will be planted to help hold the rocks in place.

Niles Pond Brace Cove berm causeway restoration -4 ©Kim Smith 2014.JPG

RB Strong excavator bucket ©Kim Smith 2014Beautiful R.B. Strong Excavator Bucket ~ Do you think the lettering and decorative design were created by soldering metal to the bucket? The decoration must be incredibly well applied to survive daily earth-moving.

Outstanding Cape Ann Environmental News: Niles Pond and Brace Cove Causeway Restoration Underway!

Niles Pond Brace Cove casueway restoration excavator ©Kim Smith 2014.The berm, or causeway, separating Brace Cove and Niles Pond is undergoing extensive maintenance.

As has been reported here on GMG many times, the berm was severely damaged by a succession of storms, very notably after Superstorm Sandy. The causeway is also increasingly at risk because the Brace Cove breakwater has deteriorated, which means that the berm is harder hit during extreme weather.

Niles Pond Brace Cove casueway restoration excavator -2 ©Kim Smith 2014.

Over time, the rocks that were used to build the causeway have gradually been swept into the pond. The excavator is permitted to scoop up the rocks from the Niles Pond side to rebuild the height of the causeway. No rocks from the Brace Cove side were used to restore the causeway.

Niles Pond Brace Cove casueway restoration excavator -3 ©Kim Smith 2014.

The restoration of the berm is ecological progress at its best. By fortifying the causeway, the uniquely beautiful environment, where freshwater Niles Pond meets salty Brace Cove, will continue to remain a sanctuary for Cape Ann wildlife.

Niles Pond Brace Cove casueway restoration -2 ©Kim Smith 2014.

Niles Pond Brace Cove casueway restoration ©Kim Smith 2014The narrowest strip of land separating a body of fresh water from the sea. 

Niles Pond at Risk

Niles Pond or Brace Cove

Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave

Brace Cove Seals Sleeping at Daybreak

Brace, Brace’s, Brase’s, Bracy’s ~ How Do You Refer to Brace Cove and Brace Rock?

Brace Cove Panorama ©Kim Smith 2014Click to View Full Size

Reader Cynthia Hill wrote the following in response to a recent GMG post, Thanksgiving Day Brace Cove Gloucester:

Hi Kim,
Can someone prove to me that this is Brace Cove, when for 65 years it’s been Brace’s Cove?
Old maps show it both ways, but I spent a third of my life there ~ always at Brace’s Cove.

When I was small, all our parents “managed Brace’s”, kept it clean and raked, had many a great
clam bakes in front of the Kaknes’ house, all to keep us kids safe during the polio scare.

Every time I see your beautiful photos, I think Brace’s Cove….I’ve explored maps at Fred’s.

Would love it if an “old timer” such as myself, could help sort this out.

Happy Holidays,

Hi Cynthia, Here’s what I found in Joe Garland’s book Eastern Point, page 11, 2nd paragraph:

“Incidentally, this is one of the earliest references to what should properly be called Brace Cove, variously identified as Bracy’s and Brase’s in contemporary documents.  Viewed as a proper name, the etymology leads to a dead end; but rid yourself of that mental set, and the derivation is surpassingly direct: a brace, from the Middle English and Old French, was an arm. Brace is an obsolete word for an arm of the sea, an inlet–a perfect figure of speech in the case of the stunning cove whose waters are so nearly embraced by the lethal, pincer-like arms of Brace Rock and Bemo Ledge.”

Cynthia, I too have seen it spelled several different ways on antique and newer maps. Perhaps if they have a spare moment, some of our “old timer” readers will weigh in–it would be very much appreciated. Thank you!

Brace Cove Vertical Panorama ©Liv HauckVertical Panorama with Moon Courtesy Liv Hauck

Framing up Again


Along with my recovery comes more energy, and I’m able to frame more photos at the gallery. On Saturday, I framed “Brace Cove, Eastern Point” and the map “Pigeon Cove, 1884.” I think we’ll be in pretty good shape for the holiday season, as I continue to deck the walls.

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