A friendly sort, this little guy was found in the middle of Niles Pond Road headed towards the brook. He posed patiently while I filmed him for the swan film, took his photo, and tested out my new phone 4K video feature. I placed him near the brook but he started to cross the road again and then just plopped there in the middle! I was late getting back to work so I marched him down an overgrown path and positioned him near a rock at the water’s edge. We can only hope. Perhaps he was confused by the gorgeous warm weather this morning.
An exciting turtle instagram🙂
Eastern Painted Turtles live in fresh water such as Niles Pond, and hibernate in the mud during the winter months. Painted Turtles are the most widespread turtle species of North America.
Mr. Swan is traveling between Niles and Henry’s Pond. I hope a new Mrs. Swan joins the scene before long!
Super Moon, Harvest Moon, Tetrad, Lunar Eclipse!
A listless Mr. Swan this past Saturday
Mr. Swan is slowly coming back to life and has begun to move around to his other pond homes. He is very lonely still and cries his plaintive cry however, one of our dear readers writes that when he lost his first wife about six years ago, a cormorant came and sat with him everyday until “Little Girl Swan” showed up on the scene (his second wife). Hopefully history will repeat itself. Mr. Swan is thought to be about twenty years old, which is remarkable for a swan in the wild.
Mr. (right) and Mrs. (left) sharing pond vegetation with ducks, Niles Pond January 2014
Thank you to all who have written, sent photos, and reported sightings. We’re so blessed to be a part of this wonderfully caring community.
Mrs. Swan and Cygnet June 2015
RIP Mrs. Swan and Cygnet
Allowing me to get a little closer, perhaps one of these days (before he/she’s all grown up), I’ll catch a side-by-side of Black-crowned Night Heron parent and juvenile. Here he is standing on one leg, just as do mom and dad!
A little ways off was a Great Blue Heron also hunting amongst the reeds. I captured him in fight with my movie camera as he flew to the other side of the pond. Thanks to E.J., who was on a morning walk and pointed out the general vicinity to where he had landed, I was able to get another clip of the heron flying.
I am searching for quiet places to record harbor and shore sounds, away from the roar of the surf, as well as where boat and machine engines don’t muffle or drown out every other sound. Its harder than you may imagine especially because there can be little to no wind. If you know of a quiet place where you especially love to listen to the music of Cape Ann, please answer in the comments section or email me at email@example.com. Thank you!
If you look closely, you can see the the spider repairing its web in the lower right corner and if you look even more closely to the opposite lower left corner, you can see the reflection of the web in the pond water.
For the past several months on my filming forays around Niles Pond I have encountered a pair of Black-crowned Night Herons. With a loud quark, at least one flies up into the trees as soon as my presence is detected and I can never get a closeup photo with both in the same shot.
I was wondering if they were a nesting pair or even husband and wife; I mean they could be siblings. Today before daybreak I saw their fledgling, but only for the briefest second.
Hoping to take a better shot of the fledgling (above) before it gains its adult feathers.
It flew off, along with one of the parents, but one did stay while I was recording daybreak foley.
Black-crowned Night Heron standing on one leg, a characteristic many birds share, which they do primarily to conserve energy and body heat.
A Face Only a Mother Could Love
Today’s Niles Pond Sunrise
Stopping for a moment to take a photo when it began to thunderstorm, again! I love that you can see the reflection of the rainbow in the pond water.
Niles Pond Rainbow
Click to view larger.
Side-by-side Comparison ~ Female Swan Back, Male Swan Front
Have you ever wondered whether you are looking at a male or female swan? I had often until I learned that the male’s black protuberance at the base of the bill swells during the breeding season. Very recently, I learned that the fleshy black knob has a name. So now rather than calling it a knob, nobble, thingamabob, or that black protuberance above the bill, I can say blackberry, and you can too. That really is an often used term in Europe, their native home. The blackberry is also unique to Mute Swans; no other species of swans has this feature.
I’ve posted this photo before however, it shows very well the different sizes of the male and female’s blackberries. Male, left; female, right.
Red 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!
On 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.
The 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?
During the breeding season, Great Egrets grow long feathers from their back called airgrettes.
The 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.
Confiscated dead egrets
Thousands of hummingbird pelts at 2 cents apiece
As absurdly ridiculous now as then
I wonder from where the idiom “getting your ducks in a row” comes?🙂
Last week, Mom Mallard had to cut a path through the lily pads.
This morning, the duckling led the way!
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!
On a cold spring day, Niles Pond and Brace Cove looked so pretty.
Photos and video were submitted by Lyn Fonzo. The video was shot by her petsitter, Elizabeth MacDougle.
I wonder how the coyote died?
Thank you so much Lyn for sharing the video and additional photos, really incredible!
Coyote Eastern Point Gloucester
Photos from around Eastern Point early morning walks. Happy Earth Day!
Two Male Red-Breasted Mergansers Sunning on a Rock
Black-crowned Night Heron ~ One of a nesting pair possibly?
Male Red-winged Blackbird Love Song (turn up your volume)
SEE MORE PHOTOS HERE
The other half of night herons often spotted near each other
Needle in a Haystack! ~ Looking for Black-crowned Night Herons
Northern Rough-winged Swallows (I think)
the ever-present plastic bottle litter