What is happening here? A hungry swim of cormorants have pushed a stream of bait fish towards the shallow shore waters. The minnows are met by equally as hungry Snowy Egrets and Great Egrets waiting on the rocks. I’ve watched many egrets eat prey and they often toss it about in the air for half a minute before swallowing whole, I think to line it up so the fish or frog goes straight down its gullet. At that very moment when the egrets are adjusting their catch, the gulls swoop in and try to snatch the minnows from the egrets. This scene was filmed at Niles Beach. My friend Nancy shares that she has observed the egret and cormorant symbiotic feeding partnership many mornings over by where she lives on the Annisquam River.
Tag Archives: Niles Beach
Register by Aug 11 for 39th Annual Clean Harbor swim (kids and adults) held @Niles Beach August 19th
“New since 2015 is the Clean Harbor Kids swim, a 500 meter swim along the shore of Niles Beach for 8-12 year olds. This is a wonderful way to introduce kids to the sport of Open Water Swimming.” And to talk about the history behind celebrating a clean water swim here in Gloucester harbor, the natural world ‘all about us’, stories of conservation, and work of naturalists like Sarah Fraser Robbins.
bike happy then & now: 1885 Gloucester travel guide for cyclists & 2017 stylish new bike fleet at Beauport Hotel
Beauport Hotel guests can explore the city of Gloucester, MA, and Cape Ann…by bike. What a great perk for visitors!
Biking culture linked with tourism in Gloucester and Cape Ann hearkens way back…as in 1878. Scroll down to see historic tourist guides from 1881 and 1885 that catered to cyclists and visitors. The sights and recommendations are the ones we continue to celebrate.
Lookout Hill and Stage Fort Park as seen here from the Beauport Hotel deck is just a close walk or bike ride away.
Enjoy excerpts from an 1885 cyclist tourist guide
In and Around Cape Ann: A Handbook of Gloucester, Mass., and Its Immediate Vicinity. For the Wheelman Tourist and the Summer Visitor by John S. Webber, Jr with eleven illustrations. Gloucester, Mass: Printed at the Cape Ann Advertiser Office, 1885. Library of Congress collection
“…After months of labor–hard labor, too, for one unaccustomed to the work–I am permitted to send forth the present little manual on Gloucester and its immediate vicinity. The material here given is designed for the especial use of the touring wheelman and the summer visitor, and I have endeavored to describe–in a way perhaps peculiar–all the most important sights and places of interest to be found upon this rock-bound territory of Cape Ann…
“The streets about town are generally in condition for bicycle riding, though the surface of most of them is either cut up by thick patches of the coarsest gravel or a layer of loosely lying stones; the rider, however, can pick his way along without any very serious trouble. Main street is paved with square blocks of granite from Porter street to Hancock street, and from Chestnut street to Union Hill. Western avenue, or more frequently spoken of as the “Cut,” is a favorite street for bicycle riding; beyond the bridge take the deserted sidewalk on the left, and enjoy a very pleasant spin upon its easy running surface…
the first suggested itinerary- Bicycle rambles on Eastern Point
“And now let’s take our wheel for a short run along our harbor road to East Gloucester, and note the many points of interest on the way. The start is made at the Gloucester Hotel–the headquarters of all visiting wheelmen in the city–at the corner of Main and Washington streets;
photo: cyclist on the bend passing brick building at Main and Washington now features Tonno Restaurant. Notice the chimneys and same stairs as when it was the Gloucester Hotel. “Special Rates Made to Wheelmen”
“from thence the journey takes us over the rather uneven surface of Main street, going directly toward the east. In a few minutes we pass the Post Office on the left, and soon leave the noisy business portion of the street behind us, then, e’re we are aware of it, we reach and quickly climb the slight eminence known as Union Hill. Once over the hill the road has a downward grade, with generally a very muddy surface, but on through this we propel our machine to the curve in the road at its junction with Eastern avenue. To the right we follow the now well trodden thoroughfare and again pedal quickly up the steep incline before us. Now the machine is well taken in hand, and with a sharp look-out ahead a pleasant little coast over the gently sloping road is cautiously indulged in; down, down we spin, following the main road to the right over the well worn surface, an on, on we glide, past the dwellings of the rich and poor, directly though the business section of the settlement, until in a few minutes we reach the “Square,” so called, at the village center. Passing the pump at this place on our left, we continue the ride over the mud-covered highway, enjoying highly the magnificent stretch of harbor scenery before us. A short distance, and the first dismount is now taken at the foot of a rough incline known as “Patch’s Hill.” At this place are a number of prominent Summer cottages, among them being the Delphine House, Craig Cottage and Brazier Cottage, each affording first-class accommodations, with facilities for bathing, fishing, and boating in close proximity. Once again we bestride the slender wheel and continue on for half a dozen rods or more to the gate-way at the entrance to Niles’ Beach, which marks the terminus of the public way…
Celebrity spotting famous authors
“…Our trip on the bicycle in this direction has finished, and so we sit awhile on the near-at-hand rocky bluff and watch the merry throng of bathers in their sportive antics in the cooling sea, and inwardly wish that we were among them in the refreshing exercise. At our back, as we sit facing the sandy shore, is the little Summer abode of the well known authoress, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps–the cottage in which she has already penned a great number of interesting works, and where she passes the greater portion of the long, warm Summer days.
photo caption: Elizabeth Stuart Phelps house
“Directly in front of us, at the further end of the beach, is the old mansion house of the Niles family, and still further on, at the extreme end of the rocky shore, is the tall stone column of Eastern Point Light. “The walk across the beach and over the narrow winding tree bordered path is well worth taking, and makes a pleasant
Snowy April Fools Day scenes from Niles Beach, the Greasy Pole, City Hall, backshore, Bass Rocks, Good Harbor Beach, Fitz Henry Lane house, and more.
See More Scenes Here Read more
The barge has been hauled out onto Niles Beach to repair damage. Although in use for the environmental clean up underway at Gloucester Harbor, it is NOT filled with contaminated sand, but with new sand to replace the old sand.
Early this morning crews from Cape Ann Marine, Under Pressure Construction, Tally’s, Harbormaster T. J. Ciarametaro, the D.P.W., police, and diver Ted Barnes arrived at Niles Beach to begin work dismantling the FV Blue Ocean dragger. Despite the rough seas and biting wind, tow lines were secured around the vessel by Cape Ann Marine and Ted Barnes. Under Pressure’s Chad Ketchopulos and crew dug a wide trench at the road that opens onto Niles Beach. It appeared the purpose of the trench was to help stabilize the tow trucks. Two Tally’s tow trucks were used to haul the Blue Ocean out of the water, the Merlin to drag the vessel across the beach and the second tow truck to brace the Merlin. By low tide, at 11:27am, the dragger was mostly out of the water, when work began to smash the boat to bits. Last check at 1:00pm and the Blue Ocean was almost entirely gone.
Mini time lapse of Blue Ocean dragger being hauled across the beach
Knocked about by rough seas and high winds, the pilot house and other large parts of the Blue Ocean dragger overnight washed ashore onto Niles. Updated plans for the ship’s total demise include towing onto the beach and crushing it, which may take place Tuesday.
Diver Ted Barnes reports that efforts to float the shipwrecked Blue Ocean dragger will resume tomorrow, Sunday. The crews and divers will again attempt to get the float straps under the keel. The Blue Ocean is now resting on its port side. See photos from earlier today – Breaking: Shipwrecked Blue Ocean Salvage Underway
Diver Ted Barnes
Activity at the Blue Ocean shipwreck early this morning.
GMG reader Hannah writes,
Hi, I wanted to get this to Kim Smith. I have seen her posts about the migration and how they were not as many this summer. I found this beautiful frozen/starved monarch butterfly on Niles Beach two days ago and I am wondering if anyone knows how I could preserve this? It still has a little sand on it–too afraid to brush it off. Thanks!
Thank you for writing Hannah. That looks like a very wind and weather worn Monarch. I wonder how far it traveled to reach our shores. The easiest way to preserve your Monarch is to store it in a shadow box, which can be purchased at Target, Ikea, and Michaels. West Elm has some very nice linen-lined ones. The main thing is to keep it out of the sun or the wing color will fade. Folks used to tuck butterfly specimens away in cupboards with little drawers and compartments, to look at on occasion, but that can bring mice. The shadow boxes are so much nicer!
Your Monarch is clearly dead however I would like to make folks aware that sometimes butterflies appear frozen or dead but they are actually quite alive. A butterflies wings don’t work very well until they are thoroughly warmed. If you see a butterfly early in the morning, either lying on the ground or attached to a plant such as Seaside Goldenrod, it is probably simply waiting for the sun to rise and is best left undisturbed.
Also, as for the sand grains, you can remove those with a few gentle pumps of a bulb syringe or a photographer’s air blaster.
We hope the old FV Blue Ocean is salvageable after breaking mooring in the gale force winds late last night. The Blue Ocean is a wooden converted Eastern rig side dragger. The ship was built in 1952 and is owned by Michael Ragusa of Gloucester. Beach clean-up is well underway and as reported in the Gloucester Times, the boat does not pose an environmental threat because there was no fuel or oil on board. Photos from this morning at high tide and then again at low tide this afternoon.
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
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.
Scenic spots for Gloucester’s beach swim lessons, part 1.
From Jeremy Nestor at the YMCA:
“Beach Swim lessons are offered at Niles Beach on Tuesdays and Plum Cove on Thursdays starting July 5th. The free to member classes give children the tools they need to be safe at the beaches this summer! If you are not a member do not worry. You can still register for the Beach Swim Lessons for $50. Ages 3-5 at 11:00 am and 6-10 at 11:45 am.”
Weekly sailing camp options for kids and adults are available from the City of Gloucester through the Cape Ann YMCA. I will add additional sailing options in a separate post.
From Jeremy Nestor:
“YMCA Sailing Camp is a great way to experience all the scenic views Gloucester has to offer from a boat. Kids will learn the essential to sailing and build skills to last them a lifetime. The Cape Ann YMCA partnered with the City of Gloucester to run this recreational sailing program. We also offer adult sailing lessons on Tuesday and Thursday evenings because you don’t have to be a kid to learn the fun of sailing!”
Thanks to the heroic efforts of the Tally’s crew, police, and especially Brendan Hendrickson who had the most undesirable job of being in the driver’s seat, the truck (with Maine plates) was pulled to shore without what appeared too much damage to the undercarriage.
I stopped this morning to take a snapshot of the lifting fog when the beach combing mom and her little boy came on the scene. For all the moms making wonderful memories for their children, Happiest of Mother’s Days to You!
I only had my cell phone with and wish so much my movie camera was back from the repair center. He/she was fairly high up in the tree so it’s really not that bad for a cell phone camera. The hawk did not at all seem to mind my interest and stayed for a while before flying towards the Lighthouse.