Tag Archives: Good Harbor Beach

GOOD HARBOR BEACH DAZZLING DAYBREAK

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 🙂

 

 

BONNIE BONAPARTE’S GULLS IN THE HOOD!

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.

THE EARLY BIRD CATCHES THE WORM

Sanderling eating insect copyright kim Smith

My grandmother was fond of saying “the early bird catches the worm.” I assumed she said that because I adored getting up early to eat breakfast with my grandfather before he left for work. In a large family with siblings and cousins, I had him all to myself in those day break hours. Having developed a passion and love for wild creatures and wild places, I understand better what she meant. She and my grandfather built a summer home for their family in a beautiful, natural seashore setting and both she and my parents packed our home with books and magazines about nature. Now I see her design…

Wednesday morning at day break, beautiful scene, beautiful creatures by the sea’s edge

God Harbor Beach Sunrise August 3, 2016 -2 copyright Kim Smith

Song Sparrow copyright Kim SmithSong Sparrow breakfast

American Robin fledgling copyright Kim SmithAmerican Robin fledgling, note its speckled breast feathers

Mockingbird copyright Kim SmithMockingbird feeding its fledgling

Song Sparrow Virginia creeper copyright Kim SmithSong Sparrow and Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) flowers and fruit

Sanderling copyright Kim SmithSanderling

Gull eating crab copyright kim Smith

God Harbor Beach Sunrise August 3, 2016 copyright Kim Smith

AT GOOD HARBOR BEACH – PLOVERS HERE THERE AND EVERYWHERE! – TIPS ON HOW TO ID PIPING PLOVERS, SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, AND KILLDEERS

Female Piping Plover Good Harbor Beach Gloucester copyright Kim SmithFor the past ten weeks, each morning very early before work I have been filming the Good Harbor Beach shorebirds and their habitat, and when not too tired from work, would go back again at the end of the day. For the most part, it has been a tremendously educational and rewarding experience, and I love Good Harbor and its wild creatures even more than when I began the Piping Plover project. We are so fortunate to have this incredibly beautiful and beloved treasure of a beach in our midst, and so easily accessed. As much as I have enjoyed filming the wildlife, it has been equally as fun to observe the myriad wonderful ways in which people enjoy the beach recreationally and that too is part of the Good Harbor Beach Piping Plover story.

Male Piping Plover Good Harbor Beach Gloucester copyright Kim Smith

Take a closer look at the shorebirds next time you are at Good Harbor Beach. Small and swift, they can look similar, but once you begin to study their behaviors, each species becomes easier to identify.

Female Piping Plover Good Harbor Beach Gloucester Massachusetts -2 copyright Kim SmithNew female Piping Plover on the scene with very pale coloring

Good Harbor Beach is currently home to three different species of plovers. We all know about our beautiful Piping Plover family. The lone surviving chick and Dad were last seen heading deep, deep, deep into the salt marsh. Since that time, several new Piping Plovers have joined the scene, two females and a male. We can tell they are different from our original mated pair by their feather pattern and bill color.Killdeer Chicks Good Harbor Beach Gloucester Massachusetts copyright Kim Smith

Earlier in the summer, four Killdeer chicks hatched at the edge of the GHB salt marsh. It was pretty scary filming the Killdeer family because all six were running willy nilly every which way throughout the beach parking lot on a very busy weekend morning. In the next photo, taken several days ago, you can see that the family has grown quickly.Killdeer Family Good Harbor Beach Gloucester Massachusetts copyright Kim Smith

Killdeers are the largest of the the three species of plovers seen in Massachusetts, nearly twice as large as the pocket-sized Piping Plover. That fact didn’t stop the male Piping Plover from defending its nesting territory. Notice the two dark bands around the neck and chest of the Killdeer.

Piping Plove Chasing Killdeer Good Harbor Beach Gloucester Massachusetts copyright Kim Smith

Half the size of his foe, our male Piping Plover is vigorously chasing the intruding Killdeer from his nesting territory

Killdeer Good Harbor Beach Gloucester copyright Kim Smith

The Killdeer has a dark band encircling its neck and a second band across its chest

The third species of plovers at GHB is the Semipalmated Plover. Although only slightly larger than the Piping Plover, the difference is easy to spot by the darker brown wings. Compare the single neck ring of the Semipalmated Plover to that of the Killdeer’s double set of rings. Unlike Piping Plovers and Killdeers, Semipalmated Plovers do not breed in Massachusetts but in northern Canada and Alaska. At this time of year we are observing their southward migration to the southern United States, Caribbean, and South America.Semipalmated Plover Good Harbor Beach Gloucester Massachusetts -2 copyright Kim Smith

Semipalmated Plover

Semipalmated Plovers are often seen in mixed flocks with Semipalmated Sandpipers and Least Sandpipers. Semipalmated Sandpipers have black legs. Least Sandpipers have distinctly colored yellowish legs.
Semipalmated Plover Semipalmated Sandpiper Good Harbor Beach Gloucester Massachusetts copyright Kim Smith

Semipalmated Plover and Semipalmated Sandpipers

Least Sandpiper Good Harbor Beach Gloucester Massachusetts copyright Kim Smith

Least Sandpiper

Note that all of the shorebirds mentioned here are also currently at Wingaersheek Beach.

 

 

TEE-HEE TEE-HEE – LAUGHING GULL AT GOOD HAROBR BEACH!

Laughing Gull Good Harbor Beach Gloucester Massachusetts copyright Kim SmithLook for this unmistakeable gull at Good Harbor Beach. It has been here for several days. You can’t miss his distinguished black head and deepest slate gray wings. If lucky, he may even laugh his funny laugh for you. This is a first for me, seeing a Laughing Gull at Good Harbor Beach. When I was a child we would see them often at my Grandparent’s beach on Cape Cod. If you have seen Laughing Gulls on Cape Ann please write and let us know.

Mass Audubon’s historic status on the Laughing Gull reports that this smallest of our breeding gulls has had a difficult time reproducing in Massachusetts. In the mid 1800s, Laughing Gulls reigned over Muskeget Island, off the Nantucket coast, but within a 25-year period, commercial eggers reduced their population to but only a few nesting pairs. “By 1923, however, protective actions taken by the keeper of the island’s lifesaving station helped the Laughing Gull population rebound to the thousands. Further bolstered by the protection afforded by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, Laughing Gulls expanded their colony at Muskeget Island to 20,000 pairs by the 1940s. Unfortunately, a preponderance of Herring Gulls also benefited from the protection of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, as well as from the increase in food available to them at open landfills at that time.” The rise of the Herring Gull has ultimately led to the severe decline of breeding Laughing Gulls in Massachusetts and today there are thought to be only about 500 pairs. Imagine, from 20,000 pairs to only 500!

One interesting fact is that not only do they nest in Dune Grass, but also have a penchant for dense patches of Poison Ivy. The Good Harbor Beach Laughing Gull has been foraging on crustaceans and invertebrates at the tide pools.

Are you up for the 13-2 Gloucester beaches challenge? 13 beaches. 2 jumps. 1 city. Go!

A mid-week vacation day is the easiest. Oh, and you’ll need your resident beach sticker. We prepped our car with a picnic blanket for the seat, extra towels, and ice waters. Start early and grab a big  “lobsterjack”  breakfast because you’ll need the fuel. End late.

Let’s establish some base rules here.

First off, you need to spend at least 15 minutes at each beach. (You can tweak this a little if you want.) Next, you need to dive under. We suggest a ritual for each beach, e.g. ‘The Five and Dive’. Finally, you have to stop for ice cream and candy. Remember, you can do these beaches (or others in Gloucester) and jumps in any order. Be flexible for unexpected delays like staying at one beach for hours, or a friend asking you to drop off a sub (*cough* Joey *cough*). Most importantly, you have to do at least 13 beaches and 2 jumps in one day. Mind the tides. Be grateful we have so many choices.

The Beaches- partial list

alphabetical order

Annisquam lighthouse.  Coffin’s beach.  Good Harbor beach.  Long beach. Magnolia beach. Niles beach. Pavilion beach (by Beach Court). Pavilion beach bonus (by the cut). Plum Cove beach. Rocky Neck Oakes Cove beach. Stage Fort Park (1) – Cressy’s beach ( our alt. title ‘sea serpent’ big beach). Stage Fort Park (2) – Half Moon beach. Wheeler’s Point. Wingaersheek beach.

The Jumps- partial list

Annisquam bridge. Magnolia Pier.

*We do this challenge at least once each summer. Yesterday we started off with breakfast at Willow’s Rest and continued from there. Our timing was random especially as we spent hours at Wingaersheek. The second meal to get us through the day came from the sandwich counter at Annie’s by Wingaersheek. Yes, they have a sandwich counter.

Gloucester Beaches sandwich directory

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Call ahead for the best subs of summer. Gloucester beaches sandwich directory.

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Hungry? Pack light. You’ll pass great sandwich shops, locally owned and operated, en route to Gloucester’s magnificent beaches. Jeff’s Variety can set you up for a good lunch to go wherever you’re headed including Good Harbor Beach, Long Beach, or the back shore. Jeff says that there are many repeat customers that come back each and every season–for years–on their way to Good Harbor Beach. IF you have a big group, you can order trays with finger sandwiches. Sandwich platters featuring Virgilio’s rolls need at least two days notice to prepare. They’re open Sundays. What else? “Yes!” the answer to my question if they have plenty of call ahead requests from cars caught in traffic. Passengers calling only, please!

Scroll down the post for a one-stop, sub-shopping Gloucester directory with phone numbers and links. I could add in our favorite choices from each place.

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GLOUCESTER BEACHES SANDWICH DIRECTORY

*the great 2013 Good Morning Gloucester Italian sub winners

on the way to Gloucester’s GOOD HARBOR BEACH

on the way to Gloucester/ Rockport LONG BEACH

on the way downtown headed in any direction to Gloucester beaches: Pavilion, Cressy, Half Moon, Niles, Good Harbor

  • Cafe Sicilia (978) 283-7345 sandwiches and pizza slices
  • Cave (978) 283-0896 for baguette/cheese French picnic style fare
  • Cupboard (978) 281-1908
  • *Destino’s Subs 
  • Cape Ann Farmer’s Market (Thursdays) fresh produce & baguette/cheese French picnic style fare
  • *Jeff’s Variety (978) 281-5800
  • Leonardo’s  (978) 281-7882
  • Last Stop (978) 281-2616
  • Mike’s  (978) 282-0777
  • Morning Glory (978) 281-1851
  • Poseidons (978) 290-4313
  • *Sclafanis (978) 283-6622
  • *Virgilios (978) 283-5295
  • Yellow Sub Shop (978) 281-2217

on the way to Gloucester’s NILES BEACH

  • Last Stop (978) 281-2616
  • Sailor Stan’s to go (978) 281-4470

on the way to Gloucester’s PLUM COVE BEACH / ANNISQUAM/ LANESVILLE 

  • Captain Hooks (978) 282-4665
  • Plum Cove Grind (978) 281-3377
  • Willow Rest  sub and/or the farmer’s market fresh produce, cheese, specialty prepared meals picnic option (978)283-2417

on the way to Gloucester’s WINGAERSHEEK BEACH

  • main concession stand at Gloucester’s Wingaersheek beach (978) 281-9785
  • Annie’s Variety  (978) 283-2887
  • Marshall’s Farm Stand (picnic route rather than sandwich counter)  (978) 283-2168 (pints of fruit, munchies, loaf artisan bread, mozzarella specialty cheeses)

I haven’t forgotten Magnolia–just missing Magnolia’s House of Pizza. ON Mondays there’s Cape Ann Farmer’s market for Magnolia. “M” for Mondays, “M” for Magnolia.

THE GOOD HARBOR BEACH PIPING PLOVER UPDATE WITH TIPS ON OBSERVING THE BIRDS

Piping Plover male and chicks copyright Kim SmithWith sadness, but not entirely unexpected, I am sorry to report that only one baby Piping Plover chick remains at Good Harbor. The good news is that the one surviving chick is doing fantastically as of this writing. Don’t worry when I write too that the Mom has left the family. She has begun to migrate southward. This is somewhat normal and I don’t think she would have left had not the chick been doing so well. Dad is minding the baby full time and he is doing a tremendous job.

A week since the Plovers hatched and it sure has been a joy to film, and wonderfully educational. I am very inspired to work on this short film and hope to have it ready for our community this summer.

Piping Plover chick copyright Kim SmithNotice the growing wing buds!

Piping Plover tiny chick copyright Kim SmithThe tiniest

A heartfelt reminder to please, please, please let’s all work together to keep the dogs off the beach. I had a terrible encounter, really frustrating and the owner and his friends very cruel. Ninety nine point nine percent of dog owners are wonderful and respectful and are rooting for the Plovers as much as are non-dog owners. The Plovers are all over the sandy beach, at the water’s edge, and down the creek. Although growing beautifully, the chick is still about the size of a cotton ball, maybe a cotton ball and a half. Up until fourteen days old, they are at their most vulnerable.

As with before, please fee free to share the photos and information on social media. The more people know about the garbage and dog owner trouble (certain dog owners that is), the more likely the chick’s chance of survival. Thank you!

Piping Plover garbage and chick copyright Kim SmithGarbage left on the beach late in the day and overnight continues to be an issue. Bring a bag with you and we can help the DPW by cleaning up after the the folks who don’t know any better. Garbage strewn on the beach attracts gulls, and they, especially Great Black-backed Gulls, eat baby Plovers. 

Piping Plover male and chick copyright Kim Smith

Piping Plovers, like many shore birds, are precocial. That means that within hours after hatching, they are ready to leave the nest and can feed themselves. They cannot however immediately regulate their body temperature and rely on Mom and Dad to warm them under their wings. Although the chick is six days old in the above photo, it still looks to Dad for warmth and protection. Examples of other precocial birds are ducks, geese, and chickens.

If you spot the baby and want to observe, I recommend staying fifteen to twenty feet away at least. Any closer and Dad has to spend a great deal of energy trying to distract you. We don’t want him to get tired out and unable to care for the baby. Also, you’ll appear less threatening if you sit or kneel while observing the chick. No sudden movements and talk quietly and the baby may come right up to you!

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A sweet dog with a very unkind owner.

Around 6pm Saturday evening, this playful dog came bounding down the water’s edge, within inches of the baby. I stood between the owner, dog, and Plovers, with cameras in hand, and cell phone unfortunately back in my bag. After a good twenty minutes of arguing he and his equally unkind friends departed. In the mean time, the Plovers were able to get away from the dog and further down the shore line.

Piping Plover male and chick -2 copyright Kim SmithDad and chick this morning Monday, the 18th, exactly one week old!

THREE ACTIONS WE CAN ALL TAKE TO HELP THE PIPING PLOVER CHICKS SURVIVE

Piping Plover chicks nestlings -2 copyright Kim Smith 6-13-16ACTION NO. 1) HELP NEGATE THE LITTER PROBLEM

The number one threat to the Plover’s survival is the trash left on the beach. If you see someone littering, please remind them to clean up after themselves. Explain that we have a threatened species nesting on the beach and that the trash left behind attracts gulls and crows, which will undoubtedly eat the baby Plovers. Additionally, if you are so inclined and can lend a hand, please bring a trash bag and fill it on your way out. I know tons of friends already do this and it is a huge help. If more of us did it, and folks saw us doing it, they might be inspired not to leave theirs behind. If you see me on the beach filming, I now carry trash bags in my gear bag and would be happy to give you one. Getting rid of the trash on the beach doesn’t just help the Plovers, but all marine and wildlife.

ACTION NO. 2) HELP NEGATE THE THOUGHTLESS DOG OWNER PROBLEM

Inform the dog owner about the law. Explain to them that their dog, leashed or unleashed, can easily squish cotton-ball sized chicks. The babies are all over the beach now, not just in the roped off area. If the dog owner still disregards and if you can, take down their license plate number. I did it today for the first time and Diane, who is the animal control officer, just happened to be at the beach shortly after it happened. She asked for the information and studied the photo that I took to determine what type of dog.

ACTION NO. 3) HELP INFORM BEACH GOERS ABOUT THE CHICKS

The baby Plovers are at their most vulnerable in the first 10 to 14 days. As of this writing, all three chicks have survived the first three days, and that is nothing short of a miracle. The Plovers chicks are now running to the water’s edge. Please walk carefully on the beach and along the shoreline as they are not yet quick enough to get out of the way. Upload a photo of a Piping Plover chick to your phone and show it to folks on the beach. Explain that they aren’t much larger than a cotton ball. Additionally, David Rimmer, Director of Land Stewardship at Essex County Greenbelt, who was checking on the Plovers this morning, is concerned that a child may see a Plover chick and try to catch it. This has happened! In case of any kind of emergency situation such as this, David urges that the the Plover be place in the cordoned off area.

Thank you for you help, and the Piping Plovers thank you, too!

Piping Plover chicks nestlings copyright Kim Smith 6-14-16In the above photo you can see how tiny the Plover chick is in relation to the sunbather.

DSCF2770This woman claims she brings her dog every evening after five and states she has for fifteen years.

MEET THE GOOD HARBOR BEACH PIPING PLOVER BABY CHICKS!

Please help get the word out that the Good  Harbor Piping Plover chicks have hatched and that they are extremely vulnerable. Feel free to share these photos on social media.Piping Plovers chicks nestlings babies Kim Smith

Monday Day One: Judging from when the nest was first spotted, I had a feeling the Plovers were going to hatch Monday. The morning was drizzly and foggy and it was difficult to see into the nest but there appeared to be more activity than usual. By the time I returned later in the afternoon it was a wonder and joy to see all three Plovers had hatched!

Unlike songbirds, the Piping Plover chicks leave the nest almost immediately. They are not fed by the adults and begin to forage for insects in the sand soon after hatching. Although only hours old, they can run, and run they do, looking mostly like jet propelled cotton balls.

Piping Plovers chicks nestlings babes copyright Kim Smith 6-11-16

The chicks snuggle under Dad. Both Mom and Dad take turns guarding the nestlings, in thirty minute intervals, just as they did when on the nest waiting for the babies to hatch. 

Piping Plover chicks Mom Dad copyright Kim Smith 6-12-16Dad (left) and Mom (right) changing guard.

Tuesday Day Two:

Piping Plover chicks nestlings -3 copyright Kim Smith 6-12-16Miniature rockets zooming over miniature sand mounds, running so fast, they’ll often land in a face plant.  I captured a somersault on film!Piping Plover chicks nestlings copyright Kim Smith 6-12-16

Nature’s camouflage in hues of sand and dune.

Piping Plover chicks nestlings -2 copyright Kim Smith 6-12-16

Mom and chick, all three survive day number two!

Read More Here Read more

Gloucester portraits: Good Harbor Beach piping plover and David Rimmer Essex County Greenbelt with an Edward Hopper house. And Leon Kroll double bridge.

There are more than 110 portraits of the City of Gloucester by the American artist Edward Hopper. There are a few 1923 Good Harbor Beach scenes including one with Jo Nivison seated sketching, and in the distance Bass Rocks and a ‘Hopper’ house. That vista was already a Gloucester motif.

Copy of Edward Hopper all around Gloucester MA (more than 90 works) (73)

piping plover with Hopper house

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Dave with Hopper house

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Dave with Hopper house                                                                                                                                  David Rimmer, Director of Land Stewardship, Essex County Greenbelt monitoring piping plovers 2016, Good Harbor Beach.

 

 

Eleven years before the image of Jo sketching, Hopper painted the other side of Good Harbor (Brier Neck) when he first came to New England. Leon Kroll painted two pedestrian bridges on the Bass Rocks side of the beach that same year.

Copy of Edward Hopper all around Gloucester MA (more than 90 works) (75)

Note the double bridges on Good Harbor.

Leon Kroll 1912 double bride 26 x 32 oil on

Leon Kroll, 1912, oil on canvas, (Good Harbor Beach, Gloucester) 26 x 32

 

Leon Kroll 1912 oil on canvas 26 x 32  sold at Sothebys 2011 bridge at bass rocks informal title 170,500

Leon Kroll 1911, 26 x 32 oil on canvas (Bridge at Bass Rocks) sold at Sotheby’s auction in 2011 for $115,700

8 point 5 by 10 three quarters 1912 leon kroll

Leon Kroll, 1912 oil on panel, 8.5 x 11-3/4

 

Knoll also painted Niles and Pavilion. He kept returning to Gloucester; eventually his family purchased a home in Folly Cove in 1932. Learn more at Cape Ann Museum and see Kroll works of art on display.

Leon Kroll Niles Beach 26 x 32

Leon Kroll, Niles Beach 1913

Copy of Edward Hopper all around Gloucester MA (more than 90 works) (74)

Copy of Edward Hopper all around Gloucester MA (more than 90 works) (71)

Beach day! How to pack light: Good Harbor Beach new cushy recliners, and lemonade!

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Sun, surf, squeaky sand, Salt Island, wildlife- Good Harbor Beach has so much character and here’s something new you may want to try. The concession rents chaise lounges with comfy cushions ($18) and umbrellas ($15) as a full-service amenity. They will carry it to your spot. They will set it up. All through? They will pick up.  (Within reason–it’s not a challenge.)  Most people have already arrived with their chairs and may not know this perk is an option. If you are in need of a super extra relaxing treat or a lighter gear lug– it’s good to know before you go.

Chris, Nick and Jonathan were setting up the slush carts for the day. Watermelon is the 2016 crowd favorite. Note the new wheels. My favorite slush is at Virgilios, but we like Richies, too. I’m told BLT ($7.25) is a popular sandwich order this summer at the concession stand (middle of the beach). The Good Harbor Beach Hotel snack bar at the end of the beach has great sandwiches, too (no restroom).

Breaking news: Dan ordered wheels and is building a beach cart to offer…

fresh squeezed lemonade.

Look for that rolling by your towel –or chaise –in the near future. Please carry in, carry out, and if a trash container is temporarily full, carry home.

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City of Gloucester beaches is on Facebook–the City is not in charge of the concession stand.

Could Disney help the Good Harbor Beach Piping Plovers?

The new animated short film shown prior to Finding Dory is stunning. It features a baby bird beckoned by her mother from the dunes to the edge of the waves. The animated baby bird masters its first venture beyond the nest. Some things have to be seen on the big screen.

Positive news:

On a recent morning, very early, Patti Amaral swept her arms joyfully imploring me to look– an entirely litter free Good Harbor Beach parking lot after a weekend and before DPW had arrived. She exclaimed what a positive change has transpired over the past 10 years and how many people help.

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She still sees some litter in this vista, but it’s camouflaged. She hopes to see the removal of the last vestiges of raked and buried trash from years’ back. I doctored a photo to help. It’s to the right of the back green gate.

 

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DOG OWNER AND TRASH TROUBLE AT GOOD HARBOR BEACH PART TWO

Crow battle copyright Kim SmithDear Friends,

A reminder that no dogs are allowed on Good Harbor Beach during the summer and particularly while the Piping Plovers are nesting. It truly is a matter of life and death for these rare and endangered tender shorebirds. The past several mornings there have been dogs on GHB, off leash. Although the Plovers nest is at the edge of the dune, once they have hatched, the tiny nestlings will soon be going to the water’s edge to feed. They will most assuredly be squished by an exuberant pooch if owners do not keep their dogs off the beach. Please let your house guests, friends, neighbors, and family know about these rare creatures calling Good Harbor Beach home for the summer, and why it is so vitally important to keep dogs off the beach.

Yes, I took photos of the scofflaws, but do not want to post another batch. I’d rather we spend the time helping people understand why, and trying to prevent further incidences.

Piping Plover with garbage plastic bottle pollution copyright Kim SmithOf far greater concern is the fact that last night some persons were picnicking in the Plover’s cordoned off area. The thoughtless ones buried their trash in the sand, but left some remaining on top. At daybreak several crows, I am sure drawn by the brightly colored Doritos bag, began digging in the sand. They were soon joined by a dozen or so crow family members, where a great noisy battle ensued over the bones and garbage. The combat took place in the Plover’s plot, causing the nesting Plover extreme distress. She left the nest, trying all her tricks to distract the crows from the eggs, and was really quite brave in fending them off, all the while calling frantically to her mate. The battle lines were coming closer and closer to the Plover nest.

Why was she so alarmed? Because crows (and gulls) eat Piping Plover eggs!

As a filmmaker I try very hard not to intervene in wildlife behaviors while filming, I stand as still as a stone and the creatures soon forget about me and go about their normal business. However, in this case, the garbage strewn about in the Plover’s plot was human created and needed human intervention. I chased the crows out of the area and within a few moments, the Plovers had resumed their morning routine.Crow battle -2copyright Kim Smith

Some folks are under the misguided notion that it is a good thing to bury trash, even burying glass bottles. Tony and Murray, our awesome GHB DPW crew, told me that burying bottles is the worst thing people do because as the clean up tractor unwittingly is driven over the hidden garbage, bottles break, and then there is broken glass everywhere. Burying food and bones and plastic is nearly as bad. The seagulls and crows inevitably find the trash, drag it all across the beach, and then the plastic ends up in the ocean. If there weren’t so much nightly trash left on the beach, we wouldn’t have nearly as many crows, and the shorebirds would be far safer.

Please, no dogs and no trash on our beautiful beach. Thank you. The Piping Plovers thank you too.Crow feeding copyright Kim Smith

STRAWBERRY MOON OVER GOOD HARBOR BEACH

Happy First Day of Summer!
Strawberry Full Moon Summer Solstice Good Harbor Beach copyright Kim SmithLast night’s summer solstice full Strawberry Moon rose in a pretty pink, gradually turning brilliant gold. Strawberry Moon Summer Solstice Good Harbor Beach -2 copyright Kim Smith

THANKS TO GOOD HARBOR BEACH’S DPW CREW TONY AND MURRAY FOR THE GREAT WORK THEY DO!

Each and every morning the DPW is out there cleaning Good Harbor Beach. They do an absolutely tremendous job. You would be shocked at what people leave behind, and the sheer volume of it. I am usually filming in non-public spaces and it has been an eye opener working at a public beach in the early morning. If you see these guys, please tell them thanks.

Good Harbor Beach heroes Tony and Murray.

A photo posted by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

 

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