Tag Archives: Brace Rock
Last 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?
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.
December Long Night’s Moon
Exciting news–the Schooner Lynx will be returning to Gloucester next year for the Schooner fest! The captain of the Lynx, Donald Peacock, wrote the following, “Thank you for noticing Lynx in your harbor. Gloucester Marine Railways have been most hospitable and we look forward to returning for Lynx 2017 yard period and the 2017 Gloucester Schooner Race and Festival.”
A magnificent ship under sail, she was a joy to watch and to photograph as she moved through the Harbor, setting course for Saint Petersburg, Florida, via Portland, Maine. You can see in the last photo that by the time she was passing Brace Cove she was under full sail with her square sail hoisted too. Safe travels Schooner Lynx and crew!
While filming along the back shore late this afternoon, it was very surprising to see this fishing boat appear through the tremendous crashing waves and churning sea. Saying prayers for safe return and wishing they didn’t have to fish on a day like today.
Today at 9:30am while out doing errands, I stopped by Niles Pond to see if I could find my brand new glove, which was lost the morning previously. That Monday, the day after the weekend storm, the mergansers had moved overnight to Niles Pond to escape the wind and waves on the harbor and I had captured footage of Mr. Swan with the Red-breasted Mergansers. Last I saw him, he was alone and circling the pond, plaintively calling.
Just as I got to the spot where filming yesterday I looked up and flying overhead were not one, but two swans! They were flying towards Brace Cove. I hurried back to my car to get cameras, checking all the while to see if the pair would stay at Niles or continue up the coast. They circled back around Niles before landing on the far side of the pond. The large pure white male looks like Mr. Swan and his girlfriend appears to be much younger as she is comparatively smaller and still has some brownish-gray cygnet feathers.
I immediately called my friend Lyn to let her know about the swan pair swimming at her end of the pond. There was a large patch of ice that prevented the swans from coming closer to where she was calling them from shore but we did have a good long look and we both agree it could very well be Mr. Swan (Lyn calls him Poppa Swan and in Rockport he’s known as Buddy).
The pair of swans stayed, feeding on pond vegetation and moving slowly through the icy waters. Swans use their powerful breast muscles in a lifting and lurching movement to break up ice. It takes a great amount of effort to cut a path through the ice and Mr. Swan is much more adept at ice breaking than is his new girlfriend.
By a swan’s second summer (in other words two years of age) it will have lost all the characteristics of an immature. The brown feathers are gradually replaced with the white feathers. The last thing to visibly change is the color of the swan’s bill. A cygnet’s bill is blue/grey changing over the two year period to pinkish and then orange. Swans can breed as early as two years of age although most don’t begin until three years.
I can’t saw with 100 percent certainty that this is Mr. Swan because I didn’t get a close look at the distinguishing marks on his bill however, all signs point in this direction.
Note the young swan’s brownish feathers and greyish-pink bill (left). This tells us that she is not quite two years of age.
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.
Reader Cynthia Hill wrote the following in response to a recent GMG post, Thanksgiving Day Brace Cove Gloucester:
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.
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!
View standing on the flooded path, looking towards the Atlantic
Niles Pond is beautiful in every season. Because of the leaves being gone from the trees, the first shot of the pond with Brace rock behind was a perspective I had never seen before and looked strange to me, like the rock had moved onto the beach and was nestled in the grasses.
The spring peepers where out Thursday for the first time this year. Brace Rock is there new favorite could be her favorite. Took Emilia out to explore the rocks with temps in the 80’s. one rock down thousands to go.
not the greatest but! content for the guy that is doing so much!
brace rock i.e brace cove…
check out Brian’s site here
Here are some photos take today of the storm surf.
Good Harbor, Atlantic Rd., Brace Rock.