Tag Archives: Cape Ann

“Art, Rocks!” Sunday! Heads Up! 08/16/2015 at 5:00pm

I heard an Art Rock will be left somewhere on the Harbor Walk on the Waterfront today 08/16/2015 at 5:00pm.

A post on GMG at 4:59pm will give a hint of it’s location.

Try to find it if you dare or don’t if you don’t give a crap. :)

GOOD LUCK TO THOSE THAT TRY!

art8

Game 1 Intertown Twilight League Championship Manchester-Essex Vs. Rowley

The Manchester Essex Mariners and the Rowley Rams squared off Saturday afternoon in game one of their best of 5 championship series. Manchester-Essex Mariners took control early and won the opener 9-3. Rory Gentile got the win and Mike Cain went deep for the game’s only home run.

History

Founded in 1929, The Intertown Twilight League is the oldest active amateur baseball league in the country, and is recognized by the National Baseball Hall of Fame as such.

Schedule

Game 2 of the series is played Sunday at 4:00PM in Rowley with Game 3 on Wednesday at 5:30PM back at Memorial Field in Essex.

The Healing Wall – Before Opening

I was taking pictures of the Wall yesterday, before the crowds. Very impressive display. Looking forward to seeing it with people there!

Friday Crowd at Pavillon Beach

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

Niles Beach Fog Saturday 05/30

Until the fog burned off the International Dory Eliminations race directions were going to be simple:  “If you see Hammond Castle, turn around…”

International Dory Race Qualifier Saturday 05/30

After the fog burned off the races were on!

BASKING SHARKS ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION

790px-Basking_SharkWhat makes Martin Del Vecchio’s drone footage particularly poignant is that Basking Sharks are reportedly on the edge of extinction. I wonder how often we’ll have witness to the world’s second largest fish feeding along the shores of Cape Ann. Truly an incredibly awesome capture.

The following is an interesting article written by David Suzuki about why these gentle giants have been driven to near extinction:

“The basking shark is huge—often bigger than a bus. As fish go, it’s second in size only to the whale shark. It has been roaming the world’s oceans for at least 30 million years. Mariners throughout history have mistaken it for a mythical sea serpent or the legendary cadborosaurus. Despite its massive size, it feeds mostly on tiny zooplankton.

These are some of the things we know about this gentle giant. But our understanding is limited; we don’t really know much more about them than we did in the early 1800s. One thing we do know is that they used to be plentiful in the waters off the coast of B.C., in Queen Charlotte Sound, Clayoquot Sound, Barkley Sound, and even the Strait of Georgia. Only half a century ago, people taking a ferry from Vancouver to Vancouver Island may have spotted half a dozen lazily swimming by. But now, reported sightings are down to less than one a year off the B.C. coast. All indications are that this magnificent animal is on the edge of extinction. It makes my blood boil!

Over the past two centuries, people have been killing them for sport, for food, for the oil from their half-tonne livers, and to get them out of the way of commercial fishing operations. Many were also killed accidentally by fishing gear.

In their 2006 book Basking Sharks: The Slaughter of B.C.’s Gentle Giants, marine biologist (and David Suzuki Foundation sustainable fisheries analyst) Scott Wallace and maritime historian Brian Gisborne note that the “pest control” methods used in the 1950s and ’60s were particularly gruesome. Basking sharks are so named because they appear to bask as they feed on plankton on the water’s surface. And even though they don’t eat salmon and other fish, they sometimes get tangled in gillnets, hindering commercial fishing operations. So fisheries patrol boats with large knives attached to their bows would slice the animals in half as they “basked” on the surface.”

Read the full article here: Exit Stage Right

See the NBC piece on Martin and watch his basking shark drone video here.

How to Tell the Difference Between Geese and Ducks

During a recent podcast we were talking about the wonderful influx of Brant Geese that have been seen all around the coves of Cape Ann. Joey asked a great question, “how to tell the difference between ducks and geese?” Ducks, geese, and swans all belong to the Anatidae family and I could only answer that size is the predominate difference between duck and goose. If you are out on the water or onshore and trying to id whether duck or goose I think the surest way to tell is that geese are larger, with longer necks and bodies. I was curious to learn more and google led to interesting differences, some obvious and correlate to what we observe in our region, and some not so obvious.

Geese are generally white, gray, or monochromatic and both males and females are the same color. Ducks are multicolored and there are obvious pattern differences between the males and females.

Geese migrate further distances. We have seen that this past year with our Snow Goose visitor, a bird that breeds in colonies on the Canadian tundra, as do the Brants.

Another quick way to determine whether goose or duck is by what they are eating; geese generally eat grasses and grains; ducks eat fish and insects. The Snow Goose that visited Good Harbor Beach this past winter foraged for sea grass alongside the Canadian Geese.

Snow Goose Juvenile Canadian Geese Gloucester Massachusetts Essex County  ©Kim Smith 2015Snow Goose and Canadian Geese Foraging for Sea Grass

Photographer and fisherman Brian O’Connor reported that a fisherman mentioned to him that Brants are observed in an area when there is a heavy crop of sea “vegetables” and that is precisely what is occurring in our region–the “green” waves. Sea lettuce is a staple of the Brant’s diet and it is sometimes referred to as “Brant lettuce!”

Brants Cape Ann Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015Brants in Sea Vegetable Heaven

Please let us know if you see any Brants, where and at what time. Thank you to Zefra for writing last week about Brants at Lighthouse Beach. And thank you to Bill Hubbard who wrote to say that during the 40s and 50s hundreds were often seen, less so beginning in the late 50s.

Snow Goose Juvenile Gloucester Massachusetts -4 ©Kim Smith 2015

Juvenile Snow Goose Good Harbor Beach Gloucester
Cosmos ©Kim Smith 2014  --8

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.

BRANT GEESE INVASION!

Brant Geese Plum Cove Beach Gloucester Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015

Brant Geese Plum Cove Beach Gloucester

Just kidding, however, they have recently been spotted all around Cape Ann! Several weeks ago I noticed three on Niles Beach, yesterday another 20 or so bobbing and diving in the waves off a little beach in Rockport, and this morning Michelle Anderson emailed that her son Atticus, with his eagle eyes, had spotted a blizzard at Plum Cove Beach. I was working on a design project in Andover and wasn’t able to get there until afternoon. The Brants were still there! Perhaps there were 50 or so feeding at the shoreline and another several hundred further off shore.

Brant Goose Plum Cove Beach Gloucester Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015The geese are shy. At one point while photographing, I lay flat down in the beach grass trying to blend in with the landscape while inching forward, but they were not deceived. Too far away for my camera to get a good close up, and heavily overcast today, nonetheless you can see that they are quite beautiful creatures.

Brant Geese Plum Cove Beach Rockport Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015

Brant Geese Rockport

Smaller than Canadian geese, the Brant Goose, also called Brent, Black Brant, and American Brant, is a coastal bird that breeds in the Arctic tundra. It migrates along both the Atlantic and Pacific flyways. With white or buff belly, black head and neck, and contrasting white bars at the neck, Brants are easy to identify. They feed on green plants including sea lettuce and eel grass. Brants have a highly developed salt gland, which allows them to consume salt water.

PLEASE LET US KNOW IF YOU SEE ANY BRANTS, AT WHAT LOCATION AND WHEN. We would love to hear from you!

Brant Geese Plum Cove Beach Rockport Massachusetts -2 ©Kim Smith 2015*   *   *
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.

Kites and Flight… or Attempts

Additional shots from Saturday’s Kite Day at Cogswell’s Grant in Essex. Some young, some old, some creative, some multitasking, a dog, and a lot of fun. Some great style and expressions!

133 Days Until The Blackburn Challenge

Joey’s Christmas present was the deluxe GMG baseball cap. When he gave it to me he said, “I want to see you wear it in this year’s Blackburn Challenge.”

Joey. Mister Motivator. I did that paddle five times around Cape Ann and last year I took it off. So I was thinking instead of the GMG baseball cap I would wear a buttermilk pancake instead.

What are you looking at?

What are you looking at?

But I changed my mind. Why putter around the Cape in a motor boat when you can do it with a paddle? As of last week I am sixty years old. I already checked and there are no age brackets in the Blackburn. Not that I would have come close to even sniffing a ribbon since most of the leather and sinew paddlers in my kayak class are older than me and the last I see of them is around the Annisquam Lighthouse.

So it’s on. I have 133 days to fit into my kayak. Saturday July 25, 2015. Here is a map. Here is a timer. Here is a link to the details of the Cape Ann Rowing Club who do an awesome job on the race with food and beer at the greasy pole finish.  And the warmup is the Essex River race on May 16, 2015.

May 16. 64 days away. I’ll do that too or I’ll eat my pancake.

I'll go faster with a new hat.

I’ll go faster with a new hat.

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

Rockport Swap Shop – for Homies

HomiesFeast5245wm

The Rockport Transfer Station has a swap shop for people and one for seagulls. People take books, furniture, and what-have-you. Seagulls gladly take as much as they can eat. Both reduce (by weight) the town’s waste disposal bill. The lucky birds don’t have to  pay a dump fee.

Decorating the Trees, Manchester by the Sea

The tree decorating for the Festival of the Trees is ongoing. Remember that the official lighting of the Freedom Tree and the Festival of the Trees is this Sunday.

SUNDAY: The 3:30 holiday concert performance at the First Parish Church. Immediately following the performance at 4:30 will be the official lighting Manchester’s Friendship Tree and the Festival of the Trees on town hall common to officially kick off the holiday season.

Essex River

Clouds over the Essex River at high tide

New Film: A Flight of Monarchs

When watching, know that the first two minutes of the film were shot in Gloucester. I think you will be dazzled by the sheer numbers of Monarchs that travel through Cape Ann’s backyards and meadows during the peak of migration.

I began photographing the Monarchs in 2006, which was a year when we had an extraordinary number of Monarchs visiting our shores. At that time, I became determined that if ever again this phenomenon were to occur on Cape Ann, I was going to have the ability to document on film, rather than only through still images, this beautiful event for my community. It’s hard to imagine without observing and here you can see what I have wanted to share.

A Flight of Monarchs begins on a September day as first one and then passels of Monarchs begin to arrive to the fields and meadows of Cape Ann, carried across Massachusetts Bay on a tailwind. By the early evening light they begin to pour into the surrounding trees, clustering to stay warm in the branches furthest away from the prevailing breezes. The following morning as the sun begins to touch their wings, they alight from the trees, seeking the freshest wildflowers from which to drink nectar to help build their lipid reserves for the several thousand mile journey south. They drink and drink until the last of the sun’s rays dip below the tree line. As they arrived on a tailwind, they again depart, and are carried to the next gathering area. For coastal Monarchs, Allens Pond, which is located in Westport, Massachusetts is often the next stop.

In the next scene, the butterflies have arrived to the sacred oyamel fir forests of Angangueo, Michoacán, deep in the heart of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt. It’s early morning and the butterflies are suspended in great primordial branched clusters that may become so heavy from the weight of so many butterflies the boughs of the trees bend to the breaking point. Later in the day, as the sun begins to warm their wings, the butterflies begin to stir. During the winter, it is imperative that the Monarch’s body temperature remains relatively low. They leave the sunniest branches in search of shade and a drink of water from nearby mountain streams. Occasionally in late February, as the air temperatures begin to warm with the coming springtime, for a short period during the day, the butterflies leave the trees all at once. This phenomenon is called a butterfly “explosion,” and is a truly magnificent event to observe.

A Flight of Monarchs is set to the evocative and tender “Fields of Blue,” written and performed by composer and guitarist Jesse Cook and his band, to which permission was granted by the artist for the purpose of this short film. Here is a link to Cook’s website. I highly, highly recommend attending a live performance of Jesse Cook and Company. As was I, you will be completely taken by their gorgeous music, exquisite artistry, and with Cook’s songwriting, will travel in beautiful melodies inspired from around the world.

I am currently editing my feature length documentary, Beauty on the Wing, which after months and months of organizing and editing three years of footage, is currently running at approximately twelve hours in length. At eleven hours too long, I have a great deal of editing to accomplish in the coming winter months!

A Flight of Monarchs presented here is the shorter version of the film that I created for the Berkshire Museum’s “Butterflies” exhibit. The first version is six minutes long and played on a continuous loop in the main gallery of the exhibit hall. The longer version will soon be posted on Vimeo.

 

Awesome Gloucester November Winner- St. Vincent DePaul of Cape Ann

Hi Joey!

Monday night Awesome Gloucester gave $1000 to St. Vincent DePaul of Cape Ann.

This charity works tirelessly to address the needs of local folks who need assistance in times of hardship.

The Awesome Gloucester Grant will go to their Christmas program which provides gift and clothing to local children in need.  What’s better than that?

Awesome Gloucester wants to remind our fellow residents… We need pitches to give away money!  If you have a great cause, idea, business, creation, etc… that you think will make Gloucester more awesome, contact us!  

https://www.facebook.com/AwesomeGloucester

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