Tag Archives: Good Harbor Beach

EAT, SLEEP, STRETCH, CHECK IN WITH PA, REPEAT

Day thirty-six and our Superstar is growing beautifully. Barring people and predator dramas, Little Chick and Papa’s days have taken on a confident routineness –forage, sleep, wake, preen, do stretches, maybe practice flying (and maybe not), check in with Pa, repeat.

Extra shout out to Chief McCarthy for making Good Harbor Beach his early morning routine, too. Thank you everyone for all that you are doing to help the Good Harbor Beach Piping Plovers!

Eat

Nap

Wake up 

Preen

Stretches

Check-in with Papa

Repeat 

 

LITTLE CHICK CELEBRATING FIFTH WEEK MILESTONE! AND CURRENT STATUS UPDATE

Little Chick is spending greater amounts of time in the deeper tide pools.

On Gloucester’s busiest of beaches, a tiny Piping Plover chick has survived five whole weeks. His survival is in large part due to the tremendous effort and kind caring of our community.  My most heartfelt thanks to everyone who has helped this resilient little guy come so far. Thank you especially to all the PiPl monitors, the crews of the DPW, especially the gentlemen who clean the beach and who drive the beach rake, beach picker uppers such as Patti Amaral, Patti and Kerry Sullivan, Gloucester conservation agent Ken Whittaker, Police Chief McCarthy, Animal Control Officer Dianne Corliss, the Volleyball Players, Coach Latoff and the GHS sports teams, the GHS cheerleaders, and countless others who have made allowances for the Piping Plovers to successfully nest at Good Harbor Beach.

All who are monitoring Little Chick have seen him fly fairly low to the ground in approximately ten foot distances. Within days he will have fully fledged, but it will still be several weeks more I think before he can undertake his first migration to the lower Atlantic states, Bahamas, or West Indies. He and Papa have adapted well to Good Harbor Beach and they very possibly could stay several weeks into August, feeding to build reserves for the long migration south. Or, they could leave GHB and join the Piping Plovers starting to gather at other barrier beaches such as Cranes and Plum Island. Young birds travel with old birds, who show them the way.

Hourly monitoring may no longer be needed, but it doesn’t hurt either to check in with the little guy and Papa regularly. It’s super important for the roping to stay in place as the family continue to use the cordoned off area as a “safe zone.” I will continue to film and update as long as they are at Good Harbor Beach, because that is part of the documentary, too.

The most rewarding moments are meeting on the beach fans of our Little Superstar. They are full of delighted interest and concern for the chick. Just this morning, I met mom Amy and her daughter Emma. They live in Southborough and have been daily following along with the adventures of Little Chick on Good Morning Gloucester. Amy thanked us for sharing Little Chick’s story.The beach was awash in seaweed, perhaps brought ashore by the storm of several nights ago. Extra wormy and mini-sea creature breakfast deliciousness today.

Well camouflaged in the sand and taking a brief rest before returning to the tide pools.

Warrior Three mastered, and don’t you love the beautiful patterning of the Piping Plover feathers.

Papa never to far off and always, always watching.

MONARCHS HERE, THERE, AND EVERYWHERE PART TWO AND PLEASE CONTINUE TO REPORT YOUR MONARCH SIGHTINGS

The title of the post could just as easily have read Monarchs, Eggs, and Caterpillars Here, There, and Everywhere. I haven’t seen this much Monarch activity on Cape Ann in over ten years and hope so much the number of Monarchs seen in gardens, meadows, and dunes indicates a strong migration.

Thank you to everyone who has written in with your Monarch sightings! The reports are tremendously informative and fun to read, so please, do continue to let us know. The rainy cool weather has temporarily put the kibosh on mating and egg laying, but they are here on our shores and just waiting for a few warm hours and the sun to come out to renew breeding activity.

Monarchs not only drink nectar from the florets of milkweed, it is the only species of plant on which they deposit their eggs. In the above photo you can clearly see the Monarch probing for nectar with her proboscis, or drinking straw. 

Look for the butterflies, eggs, and caterpillars wherever milkweed grows. In our region, they are most often found on pink flowering Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) and Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), as opposed to the orange milkweeds, A. curassavica and A. tuberosa.

Female Monarch depositing an egg on an upper leaf of Common Milkweed.

The eggs are typically laid on the underside of the leaf, near the top of the plant. Tiny golden domes, no larger than a pinhead, Monarch eggs are easily confused with the eggs of other insects.

Once the tiny caterpillar emerges, it will stay towards the top of the plant, venturing further to larger leaves as it grows.

Four Monarchs in One Photo!

I was trying to take a snapshot of two Monarchs flying but not until I returned home did I realize that resting on a leaf were a pair of Monarchs mating. Lara Lepionka had just sent a photo the day before of a pair mating in a tree above her garden. Typically Monarchs will begin mating on the ground, or the foliage of a lower plant plant such as squash or milkweed. They will join together abdomen to abdomen and, once securely attached, the male then carries the female to a safer location. A male and female Monarch will stay coupled together for four to five hours before releasing (see photo below of a pair of Monarchs mating, towards center left. 

Lara Lepionka cell phone photo of Monarchs mating in a tree.Monarch and Common Milkweed Good Harbor Beach

Not everyone has a gorgeous milkweed patch like Patti Papows. Don’t despair. You don’t have to go far! I am finding tons of eggs and caterpillars on the Common Milkweed that grows around the edge of the parking lot at Good Harbor Beach.

Patti Papows Common Milkweed with Monarch and Bee

 

WORK PROGRESS UPDATE AT GOOD HARBOR BEACH WITH JOE LUCIDO, PHIL CUCURU, AND MIKE “THE NEW GUY” TARANTINO

Joe Lucido, Phil Cucuru, and Mike Tarantino

Today the sign was installed at the new guest area at the footbridge. The sign will display information about Good Harbor Beach and, as was the previous sign, will be maintained by the community group “Friends of Good Harbor Beach.”

GLOUCESTER HIGH JV CHEERLEADERS PRACTICING AT GOOD HARBOR BEACH!

Gloucester High School Junior Varsity cheerleader’s beach practice.

Great group of girls and coaches, along with their sweet littlest helper, Aria, making an important phone call. Thanks to the girls for their help today with the Piping Plover documentary!

LITTLE CHICK SUPERSTAR

 Hooray for day thirty-four Little Chick!

WORK PROGRESSING ON THE SHOWER AT GOOD HARBOR BEACH FOOTBRIDGE

John Trupiano and Nick Fletcher

At daybreak–ready to pour the concrete for the shower and bases for two benches.

The concrete  had been poured by noon. Mark Cole stated that the shower is similar to the one at Stage Fort Park. Peastone will be placed around the cement bases, along with some landscaping. My sincere hope is that native plants only will be planted. We don’t want non-natives such as daylilies and hosta planted where they can easily spread into the marsh. Seaside goldenrod is an example of a native pollinator plant that would blend beautifully with the surrounding area. We have an abundance of it at the HarborWalk Butterfly Garden that are ready to divide so the plantings wouldn’t have to cost the city a single penny!

The work at the footbridge will be completed within the next week or so.

SUPER HIGH TIDES AND LITTLE CHICK IN SLO MO

Arriving at the beach at 5:30 this morning, Little Chick and Papa Plover were found quickly, both feeding in the the intertidal zone, and both doing beautifully, despite the previous day’s cold, wet, and windy weather.

What first caught my attention though was the fact that the high tide line was up to the edge of the dunes, so high that if a similar super high tide had happened in June, the PiPl nest would have been flooded. Are we experiencing a King Tide I wonder? I have been filming daily at GHB since April and have not previously seen the high water mark quite so high this season. Meteorologists reading this post, please let us know what you think. Google wasn’t much help. Thank you!

The seaweed deposited from last night’s tide shows that the high tide was up to the edge of the dunes in some areas.

With the tide so high, Papa and the chick were not feeding in the wrack line, no insects I imagine. We’ve all seen short little flights, but no sustained flights as of yet. I am not surprised as this coincides with what was recorded last summer filming Plovers.    

Yesterday morning and today were too wet and drizzly to use the good cameras, especially my new (and this time, insured) lens, but I did have my cell phone with. The first shows Little Chick running in average speed, not the top speed in which he is capable. The second, in slo mo. He really is the cutest, a small little bird with a big huge personality 🙂

Little Chick in slo mo #pipingplover #goodharborbeach #gloucestermass

A post shared by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

HAPPY ONE-MONTH-OLD BIRTHDAY MILESTONE TO OUR PIPING PLOVER LITTLE CHICK!


A simply glorious Good Harbor Beach morning on this weekend’s one-month-old Piping Plover milestone! Hatched on the morning of June 22nd, he is officially thirty-one-days old today.

Yesterday morning at daybreak it was warm and windless, and today, very chilly and windy. The chick’s foraging and resting habits reflected the weather. During the warmer morning he spent a great deal of time at the water’s edge feeding hungrily.

Today he was chilled and, within the roped off sanctuary, he tried several times to nestle under Papa. It looked super silly because Little Chick is nearly as big as Papa Plover. Papa rebuffed him and Little Chick found a clump of vegetation to warm under.

Little Chick on the left, looking not so little. Papa standing on one leg to conserve heat.

Papa Plover is an outstanding dad, never too far away, and always keeping a protective eye on Little Chick.

Folks are asking, where is Mama? With some Plovers, the female will leave the family to begin the southward migration, departing earlier than the male and fledglings. The GHB Mama has not been seen in over a week. This was not the case with the PiPl family that I filmed last year; they maintained a family bond through the end of the summer.

The Piping Plovers that migrate along the Atlantic Coast winter primarily from North Carolina to Florida, as well as the Bahamas and West Indies.

A sighting of Little Chick flying about ten feet across the beach has been reported!

Thirty-day-old Piping Plover Chick

 Thirty-one-day old Piping Plover

Good Harbor Beach weekend sunrises

Good Harbor Beach volleyball players assist the piping plovers and

it’s not the first time! Love these stories. #sharetheshore

From Hazel, piping plover volunteer: I was round the bend (!) replacing signs a little later – one of the volleyball players said he had escorted both of them to the creek. I have been turning people back from playa del plover & maybe 1/2 hr ago a small boy spotted an adult as he (the boy) was leaving.

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Dave (whisperer) and Bill

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link to Gloucester Plover on twitter:  https://twitter.com/Glostaplover

link to Google docs Volunteer log 

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High tide line from New Moon makes it easy to see dog tracks on Good Harbor Beach despite

No dogs — leash or no leash– rules for the beaches May 1 – October 1 in Gloucester

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more signs

I stepped on a plastic bag of dog poop buried in the sand over by the footbridge this morning. It’s a drag. I can grab that plastic bottle litter (not so much really after such a busy day yesterday) The poop, not my thing to pick up…

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LITTLE CHICK LEARNING TO FLY AND OTHER SCARY HAPPENINGS

Day twenty-nine, or I suppose we could say four weeks and one day, and our Little Chick is growing gangbusters!

It’s always a relief to see our one surviving Piping Plover chick at first light.

Foraging in the seaweed at daybreak.

Little Chick seemed a little less independent today and spent a good amount of time with Papa Plover. I wonder if something frightened the Plovers?

Chief McCarthy, who now takes his morning run at Good Harbor Beach, has noticed tracks from folks that are still walking their dogs in and around (and through) the sanctuary. Not to disparage dog owners (I love dogs), a drunk guy also insisted on walking through the sanctuary. A super, super scary thing happened this morning where a small group had gathered around the enclosure. Two Great Blue Herons came flying low and slow over the roped off area, where both baby and Papa were resting. A conservationist told me awhile back to try to discourage folks from gathering round near the Plovers because it could alert predatory birds. I didn’t quite believe it, but after seeing the GBHerons flying so low, and seemingly fearless of the humans, I believe it now. Great Blue Herons are super predators and although their primary food is fish, they eat practically every small living creature, including birds, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, shrimp, crab, insects, and rodents.

Staying close to Papa Plover this morning.

Hmm, I think I’ll give flying another whirl.

Running to take off.

Hop Up?

Airborne for half a moment!

Landing, with a not-so-graceful skidding thud.


In the Pink

GOOD HARBOR BEACH MAGICAL MORNING SUNRISE, FOGBOW, LAUGHING GULL, AND HOW VOLUNTEER PAUL SAVED LITTLE CHICK’S LIFE

Captivatingly beautiful was this morning’s ever-changing light as the rising sun was greeted by waves of fog.  

A fogbow mysteriously appeared and lasted for a good while.

Our Little Chick was nearly impossible to spot on his twenty-seventh day during the early shift and I was super happy to see the sun reappearing when Paul arrived at 8am.

Yesterday morning Little Chick had an extremely close encounter with the beach rake. He’s learned how to crouch and flatten low into the sand when people or predators are approaching. The thing is, yesterday he hunkered down in the path of the oncoming beach rake. Paul had to stop the driver to allow our chick to escape. I think this is an excellent example of why, for the time being, we still need monitors for a bit longer. Thank you Paul for being so attentive.Camouflaged!

A Laughing Gull arrived briefly on the scene and stayed just long enough to catch a crustacean. Laughing Gulls eat baby birds too, so we’ll be keeping a watchful eye on this fellow.

Blue Shutters Inn with Fogbow

Gloucester beaches in the Boston Globe | Officer Al D’Angelo, Jack Doyle, Bob Ryan, & Heidi Dallin SHINE!

Ways to beat the traffic and work around MBTA closures– Bob Ryan (General Manager Cape Ann Transportation Authority) and Heidi Dallin (Gloucester Stage and so much more) are such incredible Gloucester–and greater Cape Ann– ambassadors.

Enjoyable read-

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Boston Globe article by Hattie Bernstein  “Heading to the Beach this Weekend? Here’s Some Parking Tips” 

CATA Stage Fort Park trolley shuttle Park N Ride 

Gloucester Harbor Water Shuttle  and lighthouse tours

“Parking lot line for Good Harbor Beach is twenty deep” Please share your piping plover sightings! #Glostaplover

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“Going to be a busy day,” says Ruth who just left a piping plover watch. Are you going to Good Harbor Beach? Let us know if you see the piping plovers.  Feel free to clap off some gulls or crows getting too close, and share what you saw and the time. Add #Glostaplover and we can find it.

When Ruth left, they were by the creek. They could be anywhere–they move around throughout the day and night. For the most part they range a big area roughly by entrance 3 and wrapping way back around the creek end of Good Harbor Beach (rather than the Salt Island side)

Don’t miss Kim Smith’s photographs from yesterday PLOVER PATROL UPDATE FROM DAY TWENTY SIX!

https://twitter.com/glostaplover

 

 

 

GRATEFUL SHOUT OUT TO GLOUCESTER POLICE CHIEF JOHN MCCARTHY AND ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER DIANNE CORLISS

Thanks so much to Chief McCarthy and Dianne Corliss for their continued help with monitoring Good Harbor Beach. We so appreciate your interest in seeing to the survival of our Little Chick. We can’t thank you enough!

SHOUT OUT TO PATTI- GOOD HARBOR BEACH #1 VOLUNTEER TRASH-PICKER-UPPER

Patti is at Good Harbor early, nearly every single morning collecting trash and debris found on the beach. She also lives in sunny southern California and has some great ideas about trash removal on beaches. More on that to come. In the mean time, if you see Patty on the beach please stop and thank her and or lend a hand.

THANK YOU PATTI!

PIPING PLOVER PATROL UPDATE FROM DAY TWENTY SIX!

Good Morning from the Good Harbor Beach Piping Plover patrol brigade! Today we were joined by Gloucester Chief of Police John McCarthy and animal control officer Dianne Corliss. Thank you to both for their continued help in monitoring the dog owner situation. They got to see our Little Chick and parents and it was awesome!

Day by day we see our Little Chick developing new skills. Today he stood on one leg while resting, just as do adult Piping Plovers. When birds stand on one leg, it is a way to conserve heat and energy. For the second day in a row, Little Chick has not needed his parents to regulate his body temperature. He now takes naps on his own in the sand.

Papa Plover and Little Chick standing on one leg.

Napping in the sand.

Regarding flying, there is misinformation circulating about the chicks flying ability. As of this morning, July 18th, our chick has only been seen by the PIPl monitors doing a run-hop-low-airborne thing for a distance of about five to six feet, not fifty to sixty feet. It’s important to clarify so folks don’t think that the chick can easily fly away from an approaching beach goer or four legged creature.

 

Twenty-six-day-old Piping Plover spreading its wings

Compare the size of the wings of the fifteen-day-old PiPl to the wings of the twenty-six day old chick.

What will happen to the chick after it becomes a fledgling and can sustain flight? From observing and filming nesting PiPl last year, one family that I can attest to stayed together as a unit, in the area of their nest, well into August, until joined at the end of the summer by more PiPl adults and fledglings. The answer is not easily predicted, but it is going to be exciting to learn as much as we can. One thing is certain is that the chick is not yet ready to make the long migration southward and must remain in this region to grow strong and fat. The fledglings that I filmed last year were so tubby by the end of the summer, you wouldn’t believe that they could fly at all!

Always a tasty morsel to be found in the dried seaweed on an unraked beach.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

The last several mornings I have been covering my usual 5:00 to 6:30am time plus the Ryan/King shift, from 6:30 to 8am, when super volunteer Paul Korn arrives (he’s very punctual). We need volunteer monitors this week to cover that 7:00 to 8am shift and several other times as well. If you would like to volunteer, please email Gloucester’s conservation agent Ken Whittaker at: kwhittaker@gloucester-ma.gov. Thank you!

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