Tag Archives: Mass. Audubon


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 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


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.


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


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


Golden-eyed Snowy Owl. Snowies, like all owls, cannot move their eyes; they must swivel their heads around to see.

A photo posted by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

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.


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.


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.


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.



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


The Frog Pond, Boston



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


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!



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!



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