Tag Archives: Mass. Audubon

When a field trip is a field trip! Mass Audubon and O’Maley Middle School

Gloucester public schools have stellar community partners and locales

Mass Audubon Eastern Point Wildlife Sanctuary

 

Two+ centuries of naturalists in Gloucester is quite a legacy. Here’s a partial list from Robbins to Cramer and Smith to Smith–there have been notable champions most every decade.

  • Mason Walton (Hermit of Gloucester)
  • Alpheus Hyatt, principal founder of world famous Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole– from 1880-1886 the school was on Goose Cove and later off Lobster Cove
  • BH VanVleck  (wrote book with David Starr)- instructor at Annisquam seaside laboratory 
  • Samuel Sawyer land conservation
  • Alfred G. Mayor (Hyatt’s son in law) marine zoologist- his studies on marine life led to 1905 book Sea Shore Life
  • Prince Mahidol of Thailand “Sanitary Survey of the City of Gloucester, Massachusetts 1921 by M. Songkla” in city archives- Includes brief history of Gloucester and description of public health activities
  • Roger Babson land conservation and watershed
  • Dr. Ralph Dexter, began his studies on marine life in 1933 (later Kent State) and chimney swifts
  • Ivy LeMon banded monarch butterflies to trace their migration wintering in Mexico
  • Sara Fraser Robbins curator of education ( the title of her classic book The Sea is All About Us was a nod to Gloucester summer resident TS Eliot’ Four Quartets)
  • Betty Smith
  • Dan Greenbaum
  • Sara Evans
  • Philip Weld, Jr
  • Jane Benotti
  • Deborah Cramer
  • Chris Leahy
  • Harriet Webster
  • Martin Ray
  • Kim Smith
  • Ian Kerr

organizations such as Gloucester Civic and Garden Club, Essex County Greenbelt, Mass Audubon, Ocean Alliance, Martime Gloucester, UMASS Marine Station…

easternpoint-iba

What a low blow: Justice Lowy clears contested Berkshire Museum art for auction

Justice Lowy’s JUDGEMENT was released April 5, 2018. The Museum may sell Shuffleton’s Barbershop, and — via Sotheby’s– the remaining 39 works free of any restrictions.

“The museum has satisfied its burden of establishing that is has become impossible or impracticable to administer the Museum strictly in accordance with its chartiable purpose, thus entitling the Museum to relief under the doctrine of equitable deviation. Accordingly the court allows the Museum’s request for equitable relief to sell the designated artwork.”

Screenshot_20180405-151807~2.png

Justice Lowy MEMO OF UNDERSTANDING

page 1 MEMO OF UNDERSTANDING Justice Lowy Berkshire Museum and AGO April 5 2018

Reaction from Sotheby’s Auction House:

“We are very pleased that the court approved the agreement reached between the Berkshire Museum and the Massachusetts Attorney General. We look forward to working with the museum to ensure a bright future for the people of Pittsfield and Western Massachusetts.” Judge Lowy’s decision came in just in time to meet the auction’s press deadline clearing for art sales this spring, else sales would have been pushed back till the fall at the earliest. The catalogue pages are ready from last fall’s prep.

Reaction from Elizabeth McGraw, President, Berkshire Museum Board of Trustees:

“This is great news for the people of Berkshire County and everyone who visits the Berkshire Museum for one-of-a-kind experiences in history, art, and science. We recognize this decision may not please those who have opposed the museum’s plans. Still, we hope people will be able to move forward in a constructive way to help us secure and strengthen the future of this museum, at a time when our community needs it more than ever. “

Reaction from Save the Art – Save the Museum (STA-STM)

“Save the Art-Save the Museum continues to oppose the sale of the Berkshire Museum’s art treasures and its unrestricted use of the resulting funds. We also regret the judge’s disregard of the public trust in which the museum held its collections. The impending sale will not only diminish Pittsfield as a city claiming to be of cultural import to Berkshire County, but will reverberate destructively for years through collections similarly held in trust throughout the state and country. As a group, we will make a more detailed statement after meeting in person to consider the loss to our community and its impact.”

Patiner flight into egypt featured in 1953 article celebrating Berkshire Museum 50th celebration

1953

Have a look back at an inspiring 1965 Berkshire Eagle profile about Berkshire Museum Director Stuart C. Henry, and an earlier feature from the Berkshire Evening Eagle, published Thursday, Aug. 20, 1953, heralding the Berkshire Museum’s 50th anniversary. Both convey the museum’s seamless blend of high art, science, community and education.

I wonder what happened to the marble swans over the Berkshire Museum elliptical pool designed by A. Sterling Calder, father of the sculptor, Alexander Calder, and resident of Richmond, Massachusetts, less than 20 minutes away from Pittsfield?  Read more

Boston Globe lists the Great Marsh symposium NOV 9th- public invited

20161029_075405TOMORROW

Great marsh logoThere’s still time to register today or walk in tomorrow for the Great Marsh Coalition 5th annual special conference on rising water issues and natural systems. Register thru Essex County Greenbelt $20 fee  WHEN: November 9, 2017, 8:30AM- 3:15PM. WHERE: Woodman’s in Essex.

From the Great Marsh Coaltion:

Generous Great Marsh coalition symposium supporters (many are coalition members)- local municipalities, Essex County Greenbelt, Essex National Heritage Area, Mass Audubon, Ipswich River Watershed  Assoc., League of Women Voters Cape Ann, Merrimack Valley Planning Commission, Metropolitan Area Planning Commission (MAPC), National Wildlife Federation, and The Trustees 

What is the Great Marsh Coalition?

The Great Marsh Coalition is a group of organizations and agencies that began meeting in spring 2000 to discuss ways of building a regional consciousness and identity for the Great Marsh. The Coalition supports a coordinated approach to education, research, protection, and management to promote preservation, restoration, and stewardship of the Great Marsh. Current Coalition members include (but are not limited to): City of Gloucester is one of Eight Towns and the Great MarshEssex County Greenbelt AssociationEssex National Heritage AreaIpswich River Watershed AssociationMassachusetts Audubon SocietyMassachusetts Office of Coastal Zone ManagementMassachusetts Department of Environmental Management’s ACEC ProgramParker River Clean Water Association, Cultural Alliance of the Lower Merrimack Valley, and The Trustees of Reservations.

GREAT MARSH COALITION

Boston Globe article and Read more

Before Dogtown was Dogtown: Archaeological Survey project to be presented at City Hall November 29! Maybe hello blueberries bye bye Lyme Disease

Old tree Rockport Road ca.1892

Dogtown is eligible for the National Register! Will Gloucester earn another major district designation?

Nov 29th, 7PM, Public Meeting

Come to a special public presentation November 29th in Kyrouz Auditorium in Gloucester City Hall, 9 Dale Avenue, at 7pm.

Read excerpts from the press release shared by Bill Remsen, local project coordinator, and Mary Ellen Lepionka, co-chair Gloucester Historical Commission, and some Dogtown maps and memorabilia 1633-1961:

Read more

What if…a section of Dogtown brush was cleared away? If you missed Chris Leahy at Sawyer Free Library last week come to a summit by Essex County Greenbelt & Mass Audubon at Cape Ann Museum March 4

“This Saturday morning forum is offered in collaboration with Essex County Greenbelt, Friends of Dogtown, Lanesville Community Center and Mass Audubon and held at Cape Ann Museum. The forum will be moderated by Ed Becker, President of the Essex County Greenbelt Association.”

Register here

UPDATE: Cape Ann TV is scheduled to film the event!

hopper-yale

Edward Hopper Cape Ann Pasture watercolor drawing (ca.1928) was gifted to Yale University in 1930

2

East Gloucester Atwood’s Gallery on the Moors as seen on the left in 1921–open vistas at that time

 

Chris Leahy gave a presentation at Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Library on February 23, 2017: Dogtown- the Biography of a Landscape: 750 Million Years Ago to the Present
A photographic history through slides presented by the Gloucester Lyceum and the Friends of the Library. Mary Weissblum opened the program.

Chris broadly covered the history of the local landscape from an ecological bent with a bias to birds and blueberry picking, naturally. New England is a patchwork of forested landscapes. He stressed the evolution of bio diversity and succession phenomenon when the earth and climate change. “Nature takes a lot of courses.” He focused on Dogtown, “a very special place”, and possible merits of land stewardship geared at fostering greater biodiversity. Perhaps some of the core acres could be coaxed to grasslands as when parts of Gloucester were described as moors? Characteristic wildlife, butterflies, and birds no longer present may swing back.  There were many philosophical takeaways and tips: he recommends visiting the dioramas “Changes in New England Landscape” display at Harvard Forest HQ in Petersham.

“Isolation of islands is a main driver of evolution”

“Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Worcester has the highest concentration* of native butterflies in all of Massachusetts because of secondary habitats.”  *of Mass Audubon’s c.40,000 acres of wildlife sanctuaries statewide. “The fact that Brook Meadow Brook is in greater Worcester, rather than a forested wilderness, underscores the value of secondary habitats.”

“1830– roughly the time of Thoreau (1817-1862)– was the maximum period of clearing thus the heyday for grasslands…As farmsteads were abandoned, stages of forests return.”

Below are photos from February 23, 2017. I added some images of art inspired by Dogtown. I also pulled out a photograph by Frank L Cox, David Cox’s father, of Gallery on the Moors  (then) compared with a photo of mine from 2011 to illustrate how the picturesque description wasn’t isolated to Dogtown.

img_20170223_200058img_20170223_190206img_20170223_190350img_20170223_200204

hopper-2

Edward Hopper, Cape Ann Granite, 1928, oil on canvas can we get this painting into the Cape Ann Museum collection?

dogtown-cape-ann-massachuestts-by-louise-upton-brumback-o-c-vose-galleryLouise Upton Brumback (1867-1929), Dogtown- Cape Ann, 1920 oil on canvas

atwood-cox-gallery-on-the-moors-photo-1921

Ma Audubon’s Chris Leahy retirement party May 21

It’s not a surprise party, but it is limited in size. Invitations will go out in April. Mass Audubon is hosting a special retirement tribute for Chris Leahy in celebration of his remarkable career –45 years of “impact and success”. How nice to see a Gloucester naturalist treasure being recognized in the spring –(bird-a-thon season!)– at Joppa Flats Education Center, Parker River National Wildlife sanctuary.  Folks and fans can also swarm cards and MA Audubon gifts as a great way to acknowledge this milestone. Chris’s astonishing powers of observation and communication skills can make anyone care about birds, nature, and place. Within a mere twenty seconds of conversation he can capture history and immediacy in such an affable and effortless manner. What an ambassador.

“If I said, ‘Are there more birds around in the summer or the winter?’ most people would say the summer, and that’s right. But not by much,” said tour leader Christopher Leahy of Gloucester, who holds the Gerard A. Bertrand chair of natural history and field ornithology at Mass Audubon. “Actually almost 50 percent of the 300 bird species that occur in Massachusetts occur here during the winter.”– Chris Leahy  from Boston Globe article Thrills and Chills: Birders Brave the Cape Ann Cold and Find What They’re Looking For by Joel Brown, published February 5, 2009 

Congratulations, Chris

img_20170203_093409img_20170203_093429

 

RECENT SUNRISE AND BIRD SCENES FROM ALONG THE BACK SHORE AND MY UPCOMING BIRD TALK

Brace Cove winter sunrise www.kimsmithdesigns 2016Brace Cove at dawn, a great place for bird watching

Please join me Thursday night at the Rocky Neck Cultural Center where I will be presenting a brand new illustrated talk “Beautiful Birds of Cape Ann.” The program covers the gorgeous migrating and resident birds that we see in our neighborhoods, as seen through the seasons, and includes such beauties as the Snowy Owl, Brant Geese, Snow Goose, Redheads, a rarely-seen-in-our region White Pelican, egrets, herons, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, songbirds, and some life history of Cape Ann’s resident swan family. The program begins at 7pm and is part of the RNCC and Mass Audubon ongoing exhibit “For the Birds.” I hope to see you there!

Redhead Duck www. kim smith designsPair of Male Redheads, the Dynamic Duo

Common Eider Gloucester harbor www. kim smith designs

Common Eider Gloucester Harbor

Niles Pond winter sunrise www.kimsmithdesigns 2016

Niles Pond and Gloucester Harbor are both excellent for viewing water birds

Mallard Ducks Gloucester www.kimsmithdesigns 2016JPG

 

Also too, if any of our readers live in the Rye, New Hampshire area, I am giving my illustrated talk on the Monarch Butterfly tomorrow morning, Tuesday the 16th, at 10am. Please email me if you would like more information.

 

Kim Smith Talk

TRIDENT GALLERY’S FANTASTIC NEW WEBSITE

Trident Gallery Director Matthew Swift writes,

Dear Friends,
I am very pleased to announce that Trident Gallery now has a new, more comprehensive, and better organized web site at Trident.Gallery.
The content and design should be familiar to visitors of other contemporary gallery sites. Nearly a thousand images of works of art available for purchase are already online, and over the next few weeks, we will regularly be adding more images of art, documentation of past exhibitions and performances, introductions to artists and series, artists’ statements, publications, press clippings, and other news and information. I hope you will enjoy browsing the art and find the site increasingly informative and useful.
I also write to introduce the exhibition Nest, Trident Gallery’s third collaboration with the Museum of American Bird Art at Mass Audubon to present a program of visual and performance art with a natural history theme.
1842; hand-colored lithograph; 21 x 27 in.

1842; hand-colored lithograph; 21 x 27 in.

READ MORE HERE

Read more

SNOWY OWL RELEASED AT SANDY NECK BEACH!

PH-123009997-2 Norman Smith, Director of Mass Audubon’s Blue Hills Trailside Museum in Milton, has been relocating snowy owls from Logan Airport for 35 years. He does this for the safety of both the owls and planes that use the airspace.

On Wednesday, December 30, Smith brought an adult female snowy owl he had safely removed at Logan to Sandy Neck Beach in Barnstable and released it back into the wild. This owl was one of 15 Smith has removed from the airport this year. Before she was released, Smith attached a a new G3 solar transmitter, which will track her movements. The transmitter was provided by Project SNOWstorm, who collaborates with Trailside’s snowy owl research.

The Cape Cod Times was there to capture the release on video. Read more about Norman Smith and the Snowy Owl Project here. From the Mass Audubon website.

SEE VIDEO HERE

PH-123009997-1PHOTOS: Merrily Cassidy/Cape Cod Times

ROCKY NECK ART COLONY PRESENTS NEW EXHIBIT ~ FOR THE BIRDS

American Goldfinch -1 ©Kim Smith 2015

The Rocky Neck Art Colony kicks off the 2016 exhibition season with an extraordinary six-week exhibition and fundraising event at the RNAC’s Cultural Center at Rocky Neck. Juried by Amy Montague, the Director of the Museum of American Bird Art at Mass Audubon, in Canton MA, the exhibition “For The Birds” features multi-media avian art. The public is invited to a reception on Sunday, January 31 at 2-4 PM. Save the dates for a talk on the life and art of John J. Audubon by noted local author Chris Leahy, Bertrand Chair of Field Ornithology at Mass Audubon, at the Cultural Center on Thursday, February 11 at 7:00 PM, a talk about the Birds of Cape Ann by local photographer and filmmaker Kim Smith, and “The Artful Birdhouse,” an auction of original, artist-created birdhouses on Sunday February 21, beginning at 1:00 PM. A raffle of a basket full of birding-related items concludes the events with a drawing of the winning ticket on Sunday, March 6 at 2:00 PM. A portion of all events proceeds will support Mass Audubon’s mission to protect the flora and fauna of Massachusetts.

Concurrent with RNAC’s “For The Birds” exhibition, The Trident Gallery, Director Matthew Swift, presents “Nest” its third annual exhibition in partnership with Mass Audubon’s Museum of American Bird Art offering artworks from the Museum’s collection. Exhibition dates: January 30 – March 6, 2016.

The songs, vivid colors and enormous variety of bird species attracted to Cape Ann’s coastal waters, marshes, and waterways often bring with them both birding enthusiasts and artists, each drawn by their vibrant visual appeal. Come to The Cultural Center at Rocky Neck to view the aesthetic heights their wildly patterned beauty has inspired in the work of New England artists’ multi-media offerings in painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, assemblage, and more.

This spectacular melding of the avian and the artistic is juried by Amy Montague, Director of the Museum of Bird Art at Mass Audubon, the only museum dedicated to art inspired by the beauty, science and wonder of birds. In her 23 years at Mass Audubon, Ms. Montague has stewarded and grown the organization’s broad and eclectic art collection that embraces fine art, folk art, sporting art, illustration, and more. She has curated more than thirty exhibitions exploring the intersection of art and nature focusing on artists as varied as John James Audubon and Andy Warhol. She has twice been a juror for the internationally renowned “Birds in Art” exhibition at the Woodson Art Museum in Wisconsin.

The Artful Birdhouse Auction: Sunday, February 21. Preview 1-2PM, Live Auction at 2:15 PM. The Cultural Center at Rocky Neck, 6 Wonson Street, Gloucester MA. Engaging the charm and appeal of birdhouses as a foundation, the imagination of friends and members of the Rocky Neck Art Colony will soar in creating whimsical, modern, traditional, fantasy and completely unexpected “artful” birdhouses. The following artists have donated their time and talents for an auction of their birdhouse creations in support of Mass Audubon and in conjunction with the “For The Birds” art exhibit at The Cultural Center. Promoting the Auction, early bird creators will have the opportunity to display their works at several venues in and around Gloucester.

Artists participating in the auction event are Kathy Gerdon Archer, Deborah Barnwell, Carol Mansur Benesh, Lisa Carlson, Joy Dai Buell, Elizabeth Gauthier, Rachel Gauthier, Joy Halsted, Jane Keddy, Mindy Lind-terk, Ron MacNeill, Tom Nihan, Sinikka Nogello, Christy Park, Hans Pundt, Kenny Riaf, Karen Ristuben, Sally Seamans, Pam Stratton, Karen Tibbetts, and Karen Tusinski among others.

“For the Birds” A Juried Exhibition of Avian Related Art, January 28 to March 6, 2016, Opening Reception: Sunday, January 31, 2–4 PM.

John J. Audubon: The Man and His Art, A talk by Chris Leahy, Bertrand Chair of Field Ornithology at Mass Audubon, Thursday, February 11, 7 PM.

Birds of Cape Ann, Talk,photos, and short films by local filmmaker and photographer Kim Smith, Thursday, February 18th, at 7PM.

The Artful Birdhouse: An auction of artist-created birdhouses, Sunday, February 21, Preview: 1-2 PM, Live Auction at 2:15 PM.

Raffle Drawing for a basket of birding related items, Sunday, March 6 at 2 PM

The Cultural Center Gallery

6 Wonson Street, Gloucester, MA 01930 Gallery hours: Thurs-Sun, 12:00-4:00 PM

Bonapartes Gulls Preening -2 ©Kim Smith 2015

Bonaparte’s Gulls Preening Lighthouse Beach

THE SNOWY OWL PROJECT

With all the wonderful recent Snowy Owl sightings in Gloucester, I have been reading much about the Snowies and in doing so came upon this great project being conducted by Norman Smith, Director of Mass Audubon’s Blue Hills Trailside Museum. Since 1981, Smith has been studying the Snowy Owls and as part of his research, he attaches bands and transmitters to the owls at Logan Airport, and then tracks their travels.

norman-smith-with-snowy-owl-lifting-off-c-raymond-mcdonald_large_landscape

From the Mass Audubon website:

Snowy Owls and Airports

As snowy owls migrate north and south, they look for stopping places that resemble their home, the Arctic tundra. To them, the land around Logan Airport fits the bill. It’s low and flat, with short scruffy plants and grasses, and there’s an abundance of small mammals and birds to eat.

Logan airport has the largest known concentration of snowy owls in the Northeast. The birds usually show up at the airport in early November; the earliest date recorded is October 22. They leave in early April; the latest date recorded is July 7.

The airport owls help by scaring away other birds that might endanger aircraft. Unfortunately, they are large enough to pose a threat themselves. To protect both birds and jets, Smith safely captures and relocates snowy owls each year.

Tracking Snowy Owls

Since 1997, Smith has attached tiny transmitters to the healthiest owls he relocates. These transmitters send data such as location, temperature, and altitude, enabling researchers to learn more about:

  • Snowy owl migration routes
  • The rate at which they travel
  • If and where they stop along the way
  • Where they spend the breeding season
  • Where they spend the winter

The transmitter batteries last 1-3 years, and the transmitter harnesses fall off once the batteries have worn out. Researchers have worked hard to determine the best size, weight, positioning, and attachment of the transmitters so that they don’t impact the behavior and health of the birds.

This project is a partnership with the US Geological Survey (USGS) and Boise State University (BSU).

Note: This work is performed with special permits. The public is not allowed to enter restricted airport property, or to capture any kind of owl or other raptor.

Migration movement of owl #134376 March 9, 2014- April 11, 2015.

owl-134376-movements-march-9-2014-april-11-2015_imagefull

More from Mass Audubon

Link to more very cool Snowy Owl migration maps.

Tips for Viewing Snowy Owls

About Snowy Owls

 

 

 

 

Nichole’s Picks 12/26 + 12/27

Well, Christmas will be behind us and most of us will be ready to sit and relax for a bit.

Honestly, my “Picks” for the weekend immediately after Christmas would ideally involve doing nothing at all.  Watch the children play with their new things, grab a good book, curl up and hunker down for a while.   Or…even better….with the weather being so unseasonably balmy….get outside.  Go for a walk, a hike, or a bike ride…or a skate.

To be honest, I’m not sure what the status of the outdoor skating rinks is when it is almost 70 degrees in September, but it is worth checking out.

So,

Pick #1:   Get Outside and Walk Off Christmas Dinner

Find a place to hike and explore.  Follow the link below to find your ideal Mass Audubon location.

http://www.massaudubon.org/

wildlife-sightings_gallerymedium

Photo Courtesy of Mass. Audubon website

Pick #2:  Take to the Ice in Lynnfield or Boston 

Remember to call and see if they are a rink or a pool due to warm weather before going!

Market Street Rink

Rink-2014-2015-3-For-Website

The Frog Pond, Boston

images

 

Pick #3:  The Polar Express in 4D at The Museum of Science  (or any of their other IMAX Movies

4d_polar-express_0.jpg

I think that this is fairly short…so don’t expect a full-length movie!

The Polar Express 4-D Experience

Go on an extraordinary 4-D adventure this holiday season on THE POLAR EXPRESS! When a doubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe. THE POLAR EXPRESS™ 4-D Experience is based on the inspiring and beloved Caldecott Medal children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg.

Featured in digital 3-D and brought to life with 4-D multisensory effects, this is an immersive experience for the whole family to enjoy!

See the rest of the IMAX schedule right HERE

For a more comprehensive list of family activities please visit our friends at North Shore Kid

Kerrie Callahan Donahue Has Some Nice Things To Say!

 

Print

tommy 1

Kerrie Callahan Donahue Writes in response to my Sista’s Dish Post, posted yesterday regarding the Common Eider sighting on Roger Street~ I love it, Felicia Ciaramitaro Mohan! You are quick on the draw with your camera, catching the best moments!! Ty

Sista Felicia Writes~ Kerrie, I will be sure to save this photo in a safe place for his 21st Birthday and Wedding Video!

tommy 2tommy 3

Click Link below for more details of my post yesterday!

https://goodmorninggloucester.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/a-ducky-day-for-a-walk-on-roger-street/

 

Have Prius–Can Do!

I wrote this post several days ago. Westport was hit very hard by Sandy.

Let’s hope Westport is spared coastal flooding from Hurricane Sandy

This upcoming planting week for my newest project, The Mary Prentiss Inn, a beautiful inn in the heart of Cambridge (more about The Mary Prentiss Inn later) has been disrupted by Sandy. One of the nurseries I work with cancelled delivery and wanted to reschedule, but not until after the 5th of November. By that time I’ll be knee-deep planting Willowdale for the spring of 2013. I didn’t want to disappoint my clients and postpone work until later in November. What to do? Have Prius, will travel.

Much has been written about the super fuel efficiency of the Prius (saving me much, much $$$ over the eight years I have owned a Prius), but rarely do I see mention of it’s fantastic carrying capacity when the back seat is made flat. People look at me in disbelief when I tell them I have transported trees and (smallish) sofas in the back of my Prius so I thought you’d like to see.

125 Boxwood plants, with room to spare in the front passenger seat

Friends often tell me I need a truck or a van. Perhaps when an auto manufacturer designs a 22k truck or van that gets 45 miles to the gallon (when loaded to the max), I’ll consider. In the meantime-have Prius, can do!

Westport is one of the most exquisite New England towns you will ever see. The topography is such that the farmland runs to the ocean’s edge. Through community and conservation groups, Westport is earnestly endeavoring, and succeeding, in preserving its historic and agricultural heritage–as we know in Gloucester, it is very intelligent when communities work together to help protect and preserve their farmers and fishermen.

The Bayside Restaurant ~ Charming little spot to eat in Westport, across the road from Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary. The Bayside offers a complete menu, including many delicious seafood entrees and Homemade Pies!

Super Fresh Rhode Island Calamari

You can see why Sylvan is one of my top five nurseries, not only for their exquisite plant stock, but because they are located about a hundred yards down the road from Allens Pond Wildlife Santuary.  In autumn, after the coastal Monarchs depart Cape Ann, they fly south and next congregate in the Westport area, in and around Allen’s Pond and Horseneck Beach.

 Allens Pond ~ Hurry Monarchs and Get Going! October 26, 2012

From the Trustees of Reservations website, “In many towns throughout Massachusetts The Trustees of Reservations have worked in partnership with the state’s Department of Agricultural Resources to help preserve family farms. Nowhere has that work been more successful than in Westport, where the partnership includes the Westport Land Conservation Trust and the town. Together, the groups have protected 13 farms in Westport over the past five years, including two dairy farms, two Christmas tree farms, an organic fruit and vegetable farm, a beef cattle operation, and even a piggery. There are now a total of 28 preserved farms in Westport, encompassing over 2,100 acres.”

Westport, Massachusetts

Message from Chris Leahy about the Mass Audubon Bird-a-thon

Spring has finally returned to New England! It is arguably the most exciting birding season of the year, when it is possible to find over 100 species in a day with relative ease – many of them in stunning breeding plumage!  And each year I organize a small group here on Cape Ann to bird for conservation as part of Mass Audubon’s Bird-a-thon. It’s great fun, involves some friendly competition, and supports bird conservation.

Here’s how it works.

This year Bird-a-thon takes place May 11-12 and consists of having as much birding fun as we can stand in the 24 hours between 6:00 PM Friday until 6:00 PM Saturday. Back in 2004, I thought it would be fun to see how many species we could find without leaving Cape Ann (Gloucester, Rockport, Essex and Manchester). In addition to the geographical challenge, this reduces birding time lost to driving (one of our team birds by bicycle!) and of course shrinks the team’s carbon footprint. In the 7 years that Cape Ann has fielded a team, we have ticked 183 species total with an average of 132 species per year –dragged down by monsoon rains in two years! In our best single year we found 156 species.

The Cape Ann Bird-a-thon team is back this year with its (catchy?) nickname, “Twitchers with a Purpose” to emphasize the fact that all funds raised will go to specific bird conservation projects. The conservation dollars that can be raised can be significant. For example, last year, Drumlin Farm’s team won the prized Hathaway Cup for raising the most money ($34,820) and a dedicated individual on that team was the statewide top fundraiser with $15,309 raised. My team is trying to hit the $5,000 mark this year.

This, as you’ve probably guessed, is where you come in by pledging to my team as generously as you can. You can either pledge an amount per bird ($1/species @ 132 species = $132) or just pledge a set amount. Pledging is a snap. Just go to my webpage:http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/chrisleahy/bird-a-thon-2012 , click on the green DONATE button and just follow the simple pledging instructions. OR you can just send a check made out to Mass Audubon and designated for the Bertrand Chair (that’s me), attn: Ellen McBride, Mass Audubon, 208 South Great Rd., Lincoln, MA 01773. No gift is too small (or too large!) and all are eligible for a charitable deduction.

I hope you can help. Remember, your pledge will be dedicated to specific bird conservation efforts undertaken by my colleagues and me at Mass Audubon, such as the recently publish and authoritative State of the Birds report. I can assure you on the best existing evidence that our birds need all the help you can give them.

Thank you Chris for all you do to help the birds of Massachusetts!

Gray Catbird 

In looking through my photo library for an image for this post, I am reminded of when the Catbirds and Mockingbirds began to call our garden home–when our first batch of blackberries ripened! Catibirds dine on fruits and berries and are year-round frequent visitors for the feast we provide, including blueberry, Juneberry, winterberry, and holly berry. As the fruits of our magnolias approach their ripening time, the Catbirds noisily guard the trees in anticipation of the ripened fruit.

For more information about the Gray Catbird:

Mass Audubon: Gray Catird (Dumetella carolinensis)

All About Birds: Gray Catbird

The Cornell website has excellent crisp, clear recordings of the Catbirds “mew” sound. Anyone who has heard the repetitious male catbird vocalizing at daybreak knows exactly why they are called Catbirds. From Cornell, “The Gray Catbird belongs to the genus Dumetella, which means “small thicket.” And that’s exactly where you should go look for this little skulker.”

Love the beautiful shade of blue of Catbird eggs!

Gray Catbird Eggs image courtesy Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Jon and Carol Stack Send Their Best

Hi Joey,

My wife and I were in town last weekend but didn’t get a chance to stop around the dock to say hello. We had our grandson with us, and he keeps us pretty busy. Please let Paul know we hope his father is doing better, we were pretty sure that we knew where the Art Rock was going to end up, and my grandson was a little upset with me because he wanted to go in the pool at the Cape Ann Marina on Saturday night and I was glued to the laptop at 6:00PM. I noticed Pauls’ clue today and that’s where we had expected he was going to place it, oh well  maybe next time. I have attached a couple of photo’s of my grandson feeding the birds at Mass. Audubon’s Ipswich River site in Essex, one of our favorite things to do. Well keep up the good work we’ll be back this summer, our friends have persuaded us to come for a picnic.

Take care, Jon & Carol Stack from N.Y

034

039

035