Tag Archives: Essex County


Bonaparte's Gulls Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015While recording audio for film projects this past week I was wonderfully surprised to come upon this small flock of the beautiful and graceful Bonaparte’s Gulls feeding at low tide!.Bonaparte's Gull winter plumage Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015Bonaparte's Gull Massachusetts Diving ©Kim Smith 2015

The water was very clear and I think in the above photo you are seeing not the gull’s reflection, but its open mouth plunge for tiny shrimp.

Bonaparte's Gulls Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015

Non-breeding plumage.

Bonaparte’s Gulls are exquisite creatures to observe. Appearing to delight in riding the waves, they twirl every which way before diving for krill.

In this flock you can see very clearly the changing feather patterns from breeding to non-breeding, with the signature charcoal gray smudge behind the ear on the gull on the left. Typically by mid-August they have gained their winter plumage. During breeding season the feathers of the hood become entirely black.

We see Bonaparte’s Gulls in Massachusetts in spring on their northward migration to the boreal forests of Alaska and Canada and again in the summer as they return to winter grounds along the Gulf of Mexico and southern Great Lakes region. I at first thought that these were Laughing Gulls but the pinkish-orange feet and legs and buzzy vocalizations tell us otherwise.

I ran into my friend and long-time Annisquam resident Hank Junker on Lighthouse Beach and he reports that every summer he sees at least one Bonaparte’s at Lighthouse Beach or the adjacent Cambridge Street Beach. Hank also mentioned that they are typically here earlier in the summer, around the first week of August.

Bonaparte's Gull Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015

Black wing-tips and pink-orange feet suggest Bonaparte’s Gulls

Bonaparte's Gull -Ring-backed Gull Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015

Ring-billed Gull in the background, Bonaparte’s in the fore.

The Bonaparte’s Gull is about half the size of the Ring-billed Gull. I have learned to observe closely groups of gulls because different species sometimes feed together and you never know what fascinating bird may be amongst the flock.

Bonaparte's Gull Diving ©Kim Smith 2015

Bonaparte's Gull Diving -3 Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015The gulls are finding a smorgasbord at dawn’s low tide, feeding on krill and other crustaceans.   They get into tussles over feeding turf and, with a flourish of wings and a sharp, rasping “keh-keh,” they give each other the business, in no uncertain terms!

Two more photos here Read more

Greenbelt Reports Status of Osprey in Essex County Large Bird of Prey Thriving in Recent Years

Volunteer “citizen scientists,” working in support of Essex County Greenbelt’s Osprey Program, monitored Osprey nests in 10 communities and submitted their observations, helping Greenbelt confirm that 26 pairs of Osprey nested across Essex County in 2013, as compared to 18 pairs in 2012; 14 pairs in 2011 and 11 pairs in 2010.

The 26 pairs are the most observed since Greenbelt started helping the Osprey population in 2007 by building and repairing nesting platforms. “Osprey are really thriving in Essex County, and with the work of so many volunteers, we are collecting excellent information that is helping us understand where they are nesting and whether they are successfully fledging young,” said Greenbelt Director of Stewardship Dave Rimmer, who also directs the Osprey Program.

Rimmer released these findings in a full report entitled Status of Osprey Breeding Activity in Essex County Massachusetts 2013, available on the Greenbelt website, ecga.org.

Some 200 volunteers and Greenbelt staffers filed online reports of Osprey nesting activity from Salem to Salisbury, starting in April right though to September.

Greenbelt expanded its Osprey Program in 2013, adding a webcam on a nest at its Cox Reservation headquarters. The Osprey Program also established a more comprehensive nest monitoring effort; installed a new Osprey platform and repaired others; installed two outdoor kiosks with detailed information about Osprey biology and conservation, and collaborated with Dr. Rob Bierregaard of UNC, Charlotte, to track two fledgling Osprey by satellite to study Osprey migration.

But the highlight of 2013 was streaming webcam video from the nesting platform at the Cox Reservation, which went directly to the Greenbelt website. Rimmer credits the webcam for building new public awareness and support for Osprey conservation in Essex County. Video of Allyn and Ethel, the nesting Osprey pair at the Cox Reservation, their eggs and chick, was viewed more than 60,000 times on Greenbelt’s website and facebook page, from as far as away as a family in France and a class of school children in Florida. The webcam will go live again sometime in March, when the Osprey pair is expected to return.

On Greenbelt’s website, ecga.org, you can view the full report of the Status of Osprey in Essex County in 2013, see a map showing Osprey nest locations in Essex County, as well as view the current flight path of Whit, the one surviving fledgling from a Gloucester nesting platform. Dr. Bierregaard tagged Whit last August so a satellite could follow his travels as he migrated from Gloucester to Venezuela.

Rimmer says, “Osprey are such a beautiful and captivating bird of prey, while also a strong indicator of the health of our coastal ecosystem. We have been overwhelmed by the public interest in Osprey activity, especially the steaming webcam video that was viewed worldwide by so many. All of us at Greenbelt are eagerly anticipating the return of Osprey to the area this year in March and April, and we are excited to once again engage as many people as we can with our programs.”

Anyone interested in volunteering for Greenbelt’s Osprey Program should contact Dave Rimmer at dwr@ecga.org.

Eben 07-24-12

You’re Coming To The North Shore Of Boston? This Is The Guide Book You Need To Buy- The Essex Coastal Byway Guide By Joel Brown


Joel Brown is a freelance writer who writes for the Boston Globe, www.hubarts.com and other publications. 

His Essex Coastal Byway Guide Is THE GUIDE for anyone coming to visit from out of town but also for locals who want to know more about all the incredible opportunities to explore the magical area we live in.

We all know there are a ton of things to do around here but through the daily drudgery of life we often forget what is right outside our windows.  Instead of asking what to do and heading to the mall or the movies there’s so much more culturally to do and the Essex Coastal Byway Guide has it all laid out for you.

You can get it  now at the Book Store of Gloucester, Toad Hall in Rockport, Manchester By the Book, Book Shop of Beverly Farms, River’s Edge in Ipswich and the Wenham Tea House. Also: Peabody Essex Museum, Cape Ann Museum, Lynn Museum, Custom House Maritime Museum, Jabberwocky, Bertram & Oliver, Brass Lyon, Joppa Flats Audubon, the Bird Watchers Shop and my main source of sustenance, the Warren Street Market Deli. More added every day!

Check out the Essex Coastal Byway Guide website here

Watch our interview below-


Essex County Busting Breast Cancer Initiative


Hi Joey,

Know Breast Cancer, based in Manchester by the Sea is launching our Essex County Busting Breast Cancer Initiative.. to teach area women how to help stop breast cancer before it starts using Vitamin D3,  non hormone birth control methods, filtered water, low hormone foods, etc.

Younger women in Massachusetts faced a 49.8% increase in invasive breast cancer from 1985-2007. This trend must come to an end now!

All of the research behind this Essex County project is contained in our forthcoming book, Busting Breast Cancer.

Movalli Painting being raffled off… in our March Madness Raffle, reception April 9th Sat from 4 to 7 in Manchester with Cape Ann yummy caterers providing free food and libations (think Ryan and Wood; organic wines, Flavorz, etc!!!), along with a fine arts sale of pieces by Don Stone, Charles Movalli, Carlene Muniz, Susie Field, Steve LaPierre

.. reception tickets are $50 … or just buy two raffle tickets and you can attend!!!