Truly, one of the most beautiful sounds heard the world over is the sound that the wings of Mute Swans make when airborne. I call it vibrant throbbing wing beats. The highly audible sound of the wind through the wings is mesmerizing and it is the reason, or one of several reasons, why I became so interested in swans and why I decided to make a film about the swans of Cape Ann. No other species of swan’s wings make this sound, only Mute Swans.
As I am usually trying to capture the swans flying on film, I didn’t have any photographs of them in flight. Sunday afternoon I arrived at Niles just as Mr. Swan was chasing the new couple off his turf. I did not have time to get out my movie camera but did manage some snapshots. In the photo below you can see Mr. Swan is “busking;” his feathers are fluffed to their fullest to make himself look as large and threatening as possible to what he considers intruders upon his territory. This photo was taken moments after he chased the new couple to the harbor, returning to Niles to do a victory lap around the pond.
Another batch of photos from yesterday’s mesmerizing after storm wave-watching.
Good Harbor Incoming Tide
Thacher Island from the Back Shore High Tide
Towering waves and beautiful spindrifts all along the back shore today.
SEE MORE PHOTOS HERE Read more
Evidence of a second coyote lair, found at Brace Cove. There were 5 piles of fresh coyote scat along with neat piles of bones scattered throughout the rocky clearing. Coyotes mostly sleep above ground in an open clearing, unless it is pup season.
Reminder also about Monday night’s informational meeting about living with wildlife, City Hall, at 7pm. More information here.
East Gloucester Coyote Lair #1
Good morning from Brace Cove, and what a gorgeous morning it was!
Cheery Song Sparrow First Light
I only had my cell phone with and wish so much my movie camera was back from the repair center. He/she was fairly high up in the tree so it’s really not that bad for a cell phone camera. The hawk did not at all seem to mind my interest and stayed for a while before flying towards the Lighthouse.
Record warm temperatures all along the East Coast allowed for luxuriously warm Christmas Day beach fun. Matt, Liv, and Tom took a hike to the the Lighthouse and back and here are some pics. If you spent Christmas Day at a Cape Ann beach, send us your photos and we would love to post! Email image to firstname.lastname@example.org
Brace Cove sunrise photo from a morning earlier this week, taken while filming B-roll around Niles Pond. Spectacular colors!
In case you were wondering, where do turtles go in winter?
The Eastern Painted Turtle is our most common turtle and this beauty was found at Niles Pond, crossing the road heading towards one of several little babbling brooks that flow towards the pond. Perhaps it was planning to hibernate there as it was the last day of October.
Turtles are an ectotherm, which means that their body temperature mirrors the temperature of the surrounding environment, whether pond water or sunlit rock. During the fall they find a comfy spot in the mud at either a pond or stream and burrow in. The Painted Turtle’s metabolism slows dramatically and it won’t usually come up for air until spring, although even during hibernation they require some slight bit of oxygen, which they take in through their skin. Painted Turtles do move around a bit in the mud during the winter but do not travel far and do not move very swiftly.
Providing 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.
Fellow 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.
Interesting fact: Although Harbor Seals have been seen as far south as the Carolinas, Massachusetts is the most southern region in which they breed.
Daybreak from around Niles Pond, Brace Cove, and Henry’s Pond in Rockport.
Brace Rock Daybreak
Mr. 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
BREAKING NEWS: EASTERN POINT WOMAN ATTACKED BY COYOTE
An Eastern Point resident was attacked by a coyote at 5:15 this morning. She was curled up in an Adirondack chair drinking coffee and watching the stars before heading off to work. The wolf-size coyote leapt on her back. She jumped to her feet and fought it back with her fists. She next grabbed a broom and in the process hit her truck’s key fob, which sounded the alarm. The coyote slunk back into the brush and observed her as she threw rocks at it and yelled loudly, to no avail. It stayed for some time watching her. The coyote could be rabid.
The woman describes the coyote’s drool as smelling like foul meat and the fur as coarse and bristly. The drool was in her hair and took some time to wash out the smell. She does not inherently dislike coyotes and is an animal lover by nature, owns many pets and chickens, and was the former owner of a horse stable. There are several fences around her family’s property, in place to keep her pets safe, including an electric fence.
The woman called the police, who informed her that the animal control officer was not in. She has not heard from animal control.
Red Admiral Basking at Niles Pond
So named Friendly because he’ll alight on your arm or head, attracted to the minerals in perspiration. This Red Admiral was found warming its wings in the early morning sun at Niles Pond. Butterflies wings do not work very well in cool, rainy temperatures. I hope the upcoming heat wave brings a batch of butterflies!
Bikers watch the Barque Picton Castle sail out past Dogbar Breakwater
You may remember Sherman “Pat” Morss incredible National Geographic Quality Coyote photos on Eastern Point February 16th 2015-
Well, there’s a new pack-
Our coyotes seem to have survived the winter. Here is the next generation playing around our house on Eastern Point, a little waterlogged on Fathers Day. We have 5 in all.
Best Regards, Pat
GMG FOB Lyn submits photo of coyote on her wall. Thank you Lyn for sharing!
The “Rizla II” passes Mother Ann, with Boston Skyline in the Background.
Hugh Freighter in the background in above photo
Photos and video were submitted by Lyn Fonzo. The video was shot by her petsitter, Elizabeth MacDougle.
I wonder how the coyote died?
Thank you so much Lyn for sharing the video and additional photos, really incredible!
Coyote Eastern Point Gloucester