Tag Archives: Good Harbor Beach


good-harbor-beach-parking-lot-flooded-copyright-kim-smith-10-19-2016Folks sure had a surprise this afternoon when returning to their cars after a lovely beach day finding the Good Harbor Beach parking lot underwater. Some were angry and some panicking. I assured the panicking ones that they could get out safely. This is the second day in a row the parking lot has flooded. I’ve seen this in the spring more than once or twice but never in the fall. You can still maneuver through the lot by driving along the edge closest to the water. October’s Super Moon is the first of three in a row. I wonder what November and December’s full tides will bring.

Post storm Hermine: see the sea of seaweed and mosses on Long Beach

During the last days of summer, the sands at Long Beach shift to form a ledge that we affectionately call the ‘August shelf’. The slant is a challenge walking or running and a ramp or jumping platform if the tide is right.  Children engage in all manner of parapet building and collapsing. The ocean remains warm and the waves can seem bigger. These marks –annual gifts from nature– gently nudge us to fall. This year, as a result of tropical storm Hermine, there is a bonus shelf of seaweed brought in by majestic tumultuous waves. Don’t miss a fantastic chance to inspect species common to Gloucester, Cape Ann and the East Coast. Seagulls and clothing pop against a uniform blanket of red.  From a distance, the deep color of the seaweed seems the natural inspiration  for the architectural details of Cape Ann Motor Inn.

Look closely as there are so many species intertwined and clumped together teeming with texture and color! Be inspired to create: the Cape Ann Museum includes volumes of pressed seaweeds and mosses. Learn more: Isabel Natti did the algae plant drawings for The Sea is All About Us, a pioneer book on local marine life and shores by Sara Fraser Robbins and Clarice Yentsch. Visit Maritime Gloucester to learn about life at the shore. Garden: a friend collects some seaweed for her beds. Eat: I haven’t tried making my own seaweed salad but I have eyed Irish moss pudding recipes. Pudding anyone?

Irish Moss pudding:  1 cup (dead, rinsed, cleaned, possibly soaked) moss with a quart of milk in a double boiler for 15 – 30 minutes, strain out the moss. Add sugar to taste, and optional flavoring (citrus, coffee, vanilla, green tea, whatever you like). Pour into mold and refrigerate or blend a health drink. The consistency is thicker relative to time.


a few seaweed examples I teased out from the pile




Swimming this afternoon at Good Harbor Beach, after the beach was closed to swimming. You could actually see the rip current when standing above the beach from the roadside.

Good Harbor Beach swimming Tropical storm Hermine copyright Kim Smith Good Harbor Beach Spindrifts Tropical storm Hermine copyright Kim SmithSpindrifts Good Harbor BeachGood Harbor Beach -1Tropical storm Hermine copyright Kim Smith


Today’s daybreak scenesGood Harbor Beach Sunrise August 28, 2016 copyright Kim Smith

Sanderling copyright Kim SmithSleepy Sanderling in the morning light

Brown Gull copyright Kim SmithMystery brown gull. Possibly a juvenile Herring Gull however, its legs legs, feet, and head are unusually dark if that is the case. If you have a clue, please comment. Thank you!

Semipalmated Plover copyright Kim SmithSemipalmated Plover

Wildflower patch copyright Kim SmithOur neighbor Richie Arnold’s wildflower patchGood Harbor Beach Sunrise August 28 copyright Kim Smith



Good Harbor beach sunrise August 17, 2016 -1 copyright Kim SmithBedazzled by a single morning’s sunrise–every shade all at once–from hues of rose-violet-blue giving way to fiery bands of red-yellow-orange. I can’t decide which I like best, you choose 🙂




Bonaparte's Gulls Gloucester Massachusetts -2 copyright Kim SmithBonaparte’s Gulls

Recently, several Laughing Gulls were spotted all around Cape Ann. Laughing Gulls are easy to confuse with Bonaparte’s Gulls, which at this time of year, also have black heads. As the breeding season winds to an end, the Bonaparte’s black head feathers give way to white, where only a smudge of an earmuff will remain. Bonaparte’s Gulls breed in the Arctic; we see them on both their northward and southward journeys and some make Massachusetts their winter home. Small flocks of Bonaparte’s Gulls can be seen at area beaches including Good Harbor Beach, Lighthouse Beach, and Wingaersheek Beach.

Bonaparte's Gulls Gloucester Massachusetts -5 copyright Kim Smith

While foraging, Bonaparte’s Gulls vigorously churn the sandy bottom with their feet to stir up tiny marine creatures. Note the transitioning head feathers in the above gull.

They are feeding intently, fortifying for the migration, and often get into disagreements over feeding turf.

Bonaparte's Gulls Gloucester massachusetts copyright Kim SmithBonaparte’s in a territory tussle

Bonaparte's Gulls Gloucester Massachusetts -4 copyright Kim SmithBonaparte’s Gulls are smaller than Laughing, Ring-billed, and Herring Gulls, about 11 to 15 inches in length

The easiest and quickest way to distinguish Laughing Gull from Bonaparte’s Gull is to look at the legs and feet. Bonaparte’s Gulls are a vivid orange, more pink later in the season. The Laughing Gull’s legs and feet are blackish-reddish.

Laughing Gull Gloucester Massachusetts cooyright Kim SmithLaughing Gull, with dark feet and legs.

Bonaparte's Gulls Gloucester Massachusetts -6 copyright Kim Smith

Bonaparte’s Gulls have bright orange legs and feet

bonapartes-gulls-gloucester-2-copyright kim-smith-2015Photograph from last September; Bonaparte’s with only a hint of black head feathers remaining.

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