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.
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 in a territory tussle
Bonaparte’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, with dark feet and legs.
Bonaparte’s Gulls have bright orange legs and feet
Photograph from last September; Bonaparte’s with only a hint of black head feathers remaining.
How Color is Created in Bird Feathers will continue tomorrow. So sorry, but was a very long work day today. It’s so interesting though and I can’t wait to get back to writing. Did you know that the study of feathers is called Plumology? I’ll have time to finish tonight. In the meantime, here are several of last night’s snapshots from a walk at sunset on the Annisquam meadow, heading to Lighthouse Beach. It was a beauty, especially with the bevy of Robins doing their robin-hop-thing while feasting in the grass in the softening sunlight. Spring really and truly has arrived!
A look out towards the Wingaersheek sandbar from Lighthouse Beach. The snow is approaching quickly and the wind is up for sure.
Thanks to Betsey and Paul Horovitz for the photo!
Well, if this isn’t a lovely way to end the day I don’t know what is.
Thank you to Paul and Betsey Horovitz for helping us see what it looks like to end their day at Lighthouse Beach in the Annisquam.
Check out the elegantly beautiful spread in the summer issue of “North of Boston Weddings,” created by Gail McCarthy and Amy Sweeney, featuring our daughter Liv and son-in-law Matt’s Lighthouse Beach wedding.
Our family’s deepest thanks and appreciation to Gail and Amy–truly a wonderful memento of their special day that we will treasure for always.
Story by Gail McCarthy and Liv, photos by Esther Mathieu.
Bouquet by Aster B. Flowers
“North of Boston Weddings” presents a guide to planning your wedding day, local couple’s weddings, gowns, flowers, invites, venues, and more! To read this and more about Liv and Matt’s cover story you can pick up a free copy of “North of Boston Weddings” magazine at the following locations:
The Essex Room
Avanti Hair Salon
Bass Rocks Golf Club
Sunbanque of Gloucester
Cakes by Barbara
Cape Ann’s Marina & Resort
Castle Manor Inn
Chrisholm & Hunt Printers
Dr. Jeffrey H. Ahlin
Eastern Point Yacht Club
En Vogue Salon
Espresso Italian Grille & Pub
Fatima’s Hair Design
Gloucester Estate Buyers
Gloucester Rental Center
Hamond Castle Museum
Harbor Loop Gifts/Building Center
House of the Raven
Sage Floral Studio
Soft Touch Hair Salon
Virgillio’s Itallian Bakery
West End Salon
Mila’s Beauty Salon
N Larson Jewelry
Seaside Wellness & Spa
Mimi Gift Gallery
Emerson Inn by the Sea
Nicole’s Hair Salon
Rockport Golf Club
Rockport Inn & Suites
Yankee Clipper Inn/Bistro 127
Time Out Magazine In NYC just pointed out the pure bliss that is Lighthouse Beach in it’s 10 best weekend getaways from NYC article.
From personal experience, the Swells aren’t big fans of anyone in the media pointing out to the sweaty masses how fantastic Lighthouse Beach is. The writer of this article may just want to hide out in a bunker til summer is over because if any New Yorkers find their way to Lighthouse Beach they might send a hit squad to take out the author who had the audacity to tell people about this gem of a location which may or may not be able to be found on the map below…
We’ve got weekend getaways for adventurers and lazybones alike—all so close to NYC, you can go right now
Click here or the map for a Google map to discover how to get there.
Always a pretty sight from the meadow looking towards Ipswich Bay. This is the view from where our daughter will be married in less than two months!
Click panoramas to view larger.
The top photo was taken with the iPhone 6plus, the second photo with my Fuji XE-1 at 50mm.
Reminder ~ Please join me tomorrow evening, April 29th, at 7pm at the Hamilton Wenham Public Library where I will be giving my Pollinator Garden program and screening several short films. This event is free and open to the public. I hope to see you there!
I decided to try out this new fad of engineering prints for myself. A lot of design and craft blogs have been featuring these prints lately and raving about them. It’s an inexpensive way to get large scale photos made. Engineering prints are usually just used for building plans and such. I tested one out with one of my photos from Lighthouse beach.
I have been thinking of using this as an idea for my friend’s upcoming shower as inexpensive decorations, but I wanted to test it out first. I ordered a 24″ x 36″ from Staples and picked it up in store. It cost me a total of $3.19. The quality isn’t perfect but the contrast and impact is excellent. It’s very lightweight paper so it can crinkle easily and really made for one time use, unless you mount it to foam board or plywood.
I have heard rumors, that printers don’t really like doing photos as engineering prints because it’s uses more ink and wears out the printers. I didn’t seem to have a problem, but I’m sure as this gets more popular some places may crack down and not do photos.
I plan on ordering more and mounting them to foam board to hang from the ceiling for party decorations.They would make great inexpensive decor for theme parties, weddings, or as dorm room posters.
Lighthouse Beach and Ipswich Bay Panorama ~ Click to view full panorama
Last night we had a beautiful dinner at the home of one of our dearest friends, the Gale Family. Mom Kristina and daughter Sarah prepared a gorgeous dinner of salmon poached with a medley of vegetables, in parchment paper. I was too busy having fun and socializing and wish I had taken a photo of the salmon. We had sunset dessert on their west-facing porch, with its amazing views of Lighthouse Beach and Ipswich Bay.
Ben called it a Mackerel Sky
Living the Good Life!
Click to see larger image.
My family and I discovered this visitor taking a bath at Lighthouse Beach.
Naturally we didn’t think it polite to disturb, so we headed for home, only to discover it had finished performing its Sunday ablutions and was moving on to dinner.
Sushi, we presume.
(We kept well away – pictures are taken with long lens)
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