Tag Archives: Niles Pond

THE FRIENDLY RED ADMIRAL


Red Admiral Butterfly Niles Pond ©Kim Smith 2015Red Admiral Basking at Niles Pond

So named Friendly because he’ll alight on your arm or head, attracted to the minerals in perspiration. This Red Admiral was found warming its wings in the early morning sun at Niles Pond. Butterflies wings do not work very well in cool, rainy temperatures. I hope the upcoming heat wave brings a batch of butterflies!

Niles Pond Sunrise ©Kim Smith 2015Niles Pond 

Eastern Point Before and After Thunderstorm Photos AND WHIMSICAL WHIMBRELS!

Gloucester storm 2015On my way home from work several days ago. I stopped to take a photo of the fast and furious oncoming storm. To my utter delight I spotted a pair of whimbrels feeding alongside the mallards at the water’s edge however, to my dismay, I only had my still camera. They didn’t allow for close-up photography and flew off in the direction of Brace Rock as soon as this human was noticed. Returning with movie camera after the storm to see if they were still in the neighborhood, they were not, and have not been spotted since.

Whimbrels East Gloucester Massachusetts july 25 ©Kim Smith 2015The only other time I have seen a pair of whimbrels, or any whimbrels for that matter, was at Good Harbor Beach several years ago, in mid-September. Whimbrels breed in the Arctic, departing in July for parts further south. It seems early in the season for them to have begun their southward migration, or perhaps they have been here all along. I wonder if any of our readers have spotted whimbrels?

Gloucester storm ©Kim Smith 2015

GREAT EGRET: HUNTED TO NEAR EXTINCTION

Great Egret Gloucester airgrettes ©Kim Smith 2015During the breeding season, Great Egrets grow long feathers from their back called airgrettes.

Great Egret airgrettes ©Kim Smith 2015The airgrettes were the feathers sought by the 19th and early 20th century plume-hunters for the millinery trade.

The magnificent Great Egret was very nearly hunted to extinction during the “Plume Bloom” of the early 20th century. Startling, cumbersome, and hideous, hats were fashioned with every manner of beautiful bird feather. Europeans were partial to exotic birds that were hunted the world over and they included hummingbirds, toucans, birds of paradise, the condor, and emu. The American milinery trade favored herons for their natural abundance. The atrocities committed by the murderous millinery led to the formation of the first Audubon and conservation societies however, what truly led to saving the birds from extinction was the boyish bob and other short hairstyles introduced in about 1913. The short cuts could not support the hat extravaganzas, which led to the popularity of the cloche and the demise of the plume-hunters.

banned-egretsConfiscated dead egrets

humming-birds-rzsThousands of hummingbird pelts at 2 cents apiece

kate-middleton-2-435As absurdly ridiculous now as then

bird-hat-public-domain

 

DUCKLINGS APLENTY AT NILES POND!

Niles Pond Duckling ©Kim Smith 2015Last week, Mom Mallard had to cut a path through the lily pads.

Last week, Mama mallard had to lead the way through the water lilies…

A video posted by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

This morning, the duckling led the way!

Niles Pond Ducklings -5 ©Kim Smith 2015

There are half a dozen duckling families at Niles Pond, all at seemingly different ages of development, from the smallest, an “only” duckling, to “tweens,” and “teens.”  I am happy to see many have made it past snapping-turtle-breakfast-age!

Niles Pond Ducklings -2 ©Kim Smith 2015The “Tweens”

Niles Pond Ducklings -3 ©Kim Smith 2015The “Teens”

Niles Pond Ducklings ©Kim Smith 2015Camouflaged

Niles Pond Ducklings -4 ©Kim Smith 2015Listen-up!

EASTERN POINT SUNRISE SCENES

Harbor Seals Brace Cove Sunrise ©Kim Smith 2015Photos from around Eastern Point early morning walks. Happy Earth Day!

Male Red-breasted Mergansers ©kim Smith 2015Two Male Red-Breasted Mergansers Sunning on a Rock

Black-crowned Night Heron -2 ©Kim Smith 2015Black-crowned Night Heron ~ One of a nesting pair possibly?

Male Red-winged Blackbird love song. Niles Pond daybreak. #gloucestermaspring!

A video posted by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

Male Red-winged Blackbird Love Song (turn up your volume)

SEE MORE PHOTOS HERE

Black-crowned Night Heron ©Kim Smith 2015The other half of night herons often spotted near each other

Needle in a Haysack Heron ©Kim Smith 2015JPGNeedle in a Haystack! ~ Looking for Black-crowned Night Herons

Brown-headed Cowbirds ©Kim Smith 2015Brown-headed Cowbirds

Northern Rough-winged Swallows ©kim Smith 2015Northern Rough-winged Swallows (I think)

 

#GloucesterMA Eastern Point Thawing!

 

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Kim Smith Cosmos ©Kim Smith 2014 -mediumFriend me on Facebook and follow me on TwitterInstagram, and Vine. You can also subscribe to my design website at Kim Smith Designs, and film’s websites at Beauty on the Wing ~ Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly, Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project, and Life Story of the Black Swallowtail Butterfly.

More Gloucester Sea Smoke Photos

Sea Smoke Gloucester MA Brace Cove -1 ©Kim Smith 2015Brace Cove Sea Smoke

This morning I set out to check on the swans at Niles Pond and was as captivated by the beautiful sea smoke coming off the Atlantic as were my fellow contributors. I didn’t see the swans, but then again, it was too cold to look for very long.

Sea Smoke Gloucester MA Brace Cove ©Kim Smith 2015 Sea Smoke Gloucester MA Brace Rock ©Kim Smith 2015.JPG Brace Rock

Niles Pond Brace Cove Berm Restoration Update

Niles Pond Brace Cove berm causeway restoration ©Kim Smith 2014Progress continues on the restoration of the barrier that protects Niles Pond from becoming Brace Cove’s salt marsh.

Niles Pond Brace Cove berm causeway restoration -3 ©Kim Smith 2014.JPGThe native pussy willow trees remain intact while much of the invasive phragmites appear to have been removed. Come spring, perhaps Seaside Goldenrod and other tough, salt tolerant natives will be planted to help hold the rocks in place.

Niles Pond Brace Cove berm causeway restoration -4 ©Kim Smith 2014.JPG

RB Strong excavator bucket ©Kim Smith 2014Beautiful R.B. Strong Excavator Bucket ~ Do you think the lettering and decorative design were created by soldering metal to the bucket? The decoration must be incredibly well applied to survive daily earth-moving.

Outstanding Cape Ann Environmental News: Niles Pond and Brace Cove Causeway Restoration Underway!

Niles Pond Brace Cove casueway restoration excavator ©Kim Smith 2014.The berm, or causeway, separating Brace Cove and Niles Pond is undergoing extensive maintenance.

As has been reported here on GMG many times, the berm was severely damaged by a succession of storms, very notably after Superstorm Sandy. The causeway is also increasingly at risk because the Brace Cove breakwater has deteriorated, which means that the berm is harder hit during extreme weather.

Niles Pond Brace Cove casueway restoration excavator -2 ©Kim Smith 2014.

Over time, the rocks that were used to build the causeway have gradually been swept into the pond. The excavator is permitted to scoop up the rocks from the Niles Pond side to rebuild the height of the causeway. No rocks from the Brace Cove side were used to restore the causeway.

Niles Pond Brace Cove casueway restoration excavator -3 ©Kim Smith 2014.

The restoration of the berm is ecological progress at its best. By fortifying the causeway, the uniquely beautiful environment, where freshwater Niles Pond meets salty Brace Cove, will continue to remain a sanctuary for Cape Ann wildlife.

Niles Pond Brace Cove casueway restoration -2 ©Kim Smith 2014.

Niles Pond Brace Cove casueway restoration ©Kim Smith 2014The narrowest strip of land separating a body of fresh water from the sea. 

Niles Pond at Risk

Niles Pond or Brace Cove

Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave

Brace Cove Seals Sleeping at Daybreak

Brace, Brace’s, Brase’s, Bracy’s ~ How Do You Refer to Brace Cove and Brace Rock?

Brace Cove Panorama ©Kim Smith 2014Click to View Full Size

Reader Cynthia Hill wrote the following in response to a recent GMG post, Thanksgiving Day Brace Cove Gloucester:

Hi Kim,
Can someone prove to me that this is Brace Cove, when for 65 years it’s been Brace’s Cove?
Old maps show it both ways, but I spent a third of my life there ~ always at Brace’s Cove.

When I was small, all our parents “managed Brace’s”, kept it clean and raked, had many a great
clam bakes in front of the Kaknes’ house, all to keep us kids safe during the polio scare.

Every time I see your beautiful photos, I think Brace’s Cove….I’ve explored maps at Fred’s.

Would love it if an “old timer” such as myself, could help sort this out.

Happy Holidays,
Cynthia

Hi Cynthia, Here’s what I found in Joe Garland’s book Eastern Point, page 11, 2nd paragraph:

“Incidentally, this is one of the earliest references to what should properly be called Brace Cove, variously identified as Bracy’s and Brase’s in contemporary documents.  Viewed as a proper name, the etymology leads to a dead end; but rid yourself of that mental set, and the derivation is surpassingly direct: a brace, from the Middle English and Old French, was an arm. Brace is an obsolete word for an arm of the sea, an inlet–a perfect figure of speech in the case of the stunning cove whose waters are so nearly embraced by the lethal, pincer-like arms of Brace Rock and Bemo Ledge.”

Cynthia, I too have seen it spelled several different ways on antique and newer maps. Perhaps if they have a spare moment, some of our “old timer” readers will weigh in–it would be very much appreciated. Thank you!

Brace Cove Vertical Panorama ©Liv HauckVertical Panorama with Moon Courtesy Liv Hauck

Brace Cove Seals Sleeping at Daybreak

Brace Cove seals at sunrise ©Kim Smith 2014While filming B-roll for several projects I caught the sunrise at Brace Cove this October morning. The seals were awakening, as were the swan couple, the cormorants and gulls stretching wide their wings, and the songbirds breaking fast on the abundance of wild berries and seed heads found along the berm at Niles Pond. Click image to see full size.

Brace Cove seals at sunrise -2 ©Kim Smith 2014Brace Cove Seals

Brace Cove at sunrise ©Kim Smith 2014Fledgling juvenile male cardinal ©kim Smith 2014Juvenile Male Cardinal

Niles Pond daybreak ©Kim Smith 2014Niles Pond

Sparrow ©Kim Smith 2014Camouflaged!

Endangered Pied-billed Grebe Encounter

In the dim light of daybreak at first glance I thought the diminutive duck was somehow related to the female mallard. Both were inconspicuous and camouflaged amongst the cattails. Mrs. Mallard was preening and standing on one leg, a thing birds do to regulate their body temperature, and Mystery Duck was actively diving all around her. As the light grew brighter with the rising sun it was easy to see that they weren’t at all akin; Mystery Duck’s bill was shorter and chunkier when compared to the Mallard’s bill, Mystery was half her size, and its perky cotton white tail feathers were unmissable. The Mallard flew off eventually and our Mystery then traveled away, deeply diving and then reemerging some distance further, staying close to the shoreline and always well hidden.

Pied-billed Grebe Massachusetts mallard ©kim Smith 2014

Side-by-side comparison: Pied-billed Grebe, left, female Mallard, right.

The Pied-billed Grebe is rarely seen breeding in Massachusetts any longer and is listed as endangered in nearly every New England state. Rhode Island considers the Pied-billed extirpated (locally extinct). The reason for their decline is low breeding numbers and wetland degradation. Their feathers are thick and soft and were used to make hats and earmuffs during the 19th century. Wantonly hunted to near extinction, Pied-billed Grebes never fully recovered in our region. As wetlands have given way to development, the Pied-billed Grebe’s numbers continue to decline dramatically. They are extremely sensitive to human disturbances, and, too, are less likely to be seen as it is a nocturnal bird, traveling mostly during the night.

Pied-billed Grebe Massachusetts -2 ©kim Smith 2014Fluffy Cottontail

A fun fact about the marsh-nesting Pie-billed is that both male and female contribute to building what at first appears to be a floating nest in vegetation, near open water. The nest is actually a platform anchored to plant stalks.

I wonder if this Pied-billed is a fall migrant or if on Niles Pond, Pied-billed Grebes were nesting this season. Has anyone else documented or seen a Pied-billed Grebe at Niles Pond during the past few months?

Niles Pond Gloucester ©Kim Smith 2014

Niles Pond is Ideal Pied-billed Grebe Habitat

See previous GMG post for more information about why birds stand on one leg.

See more photos and audio links here ~
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