Tag Archives: Plum Cove Beach

How to Tell the Difference Between Geese and Ducks

During a recent podcast we were talking about the wonderful influx of Brant Geese that have been seen all around the coves of Cape Ann. Joey asked a great question, “how to tell the difference between ducks and geese?” Ducks, geese, and swans all belong to the Anatidae family and I could only answer that size is the predominate difference between duck and goose. If you are out on the water or onshore and trying to id whether duck or goose I think the surest way to tell is that geese are larger, with longer necks and bodies. I was curious to learn more and google led to interesting differences, some obvious and correlate to what we observe in our region, and some not so obvious.

Geese are generally white, gray, or monochromatic and both males and females are the same color. Ducks are multicolored and there are obvious pattern differences between the males and females.

Geese migrate further distances. We have seen that this past year with our Snow Goose visitor, a bird that breeds in colonies on the Canadian tundra, as do the Brants.

Another quick way to determine whether goose or duck is by what they are eating; geese generally eat grasses and grains; ducks eat fish and insects. The Snow Goose that visited Good Harbor Beach this past winter foraged for sea grass alongside the Canadian Geese.

Snow Goose Juvenile Canadian Geese Gloucester Massachusetts Essex County  ©Kim Smith 2015Snow Goose and Canadian Geese Foraging for Sea Grass

Photographer and fisherman Brian O’Connor reported that a fisherman mentioned to him that Brants are observed in an area when there is a heavy crop of sea “vegetables” and that is precisely what is occurring in our region–the “green” waves. Sea lettuce is a staple of the Brant’s diet and it is sometimes referred to as “Brant lettuce!”

Brants Cape Ann Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015Brants in Sea Vegetable Heaven

Please let us know if you see any Brants, where and at what time. Thank you to Zefra for writing last week about Brants at Lighthouse Beach. And thank you to Bill Hubbard who wrote to say that during the 40s and 50s hundreds were often seen, less so beginning in the late 50s.

Snow Goose Juvenile Gloucester Massachusetts -4 ©Kim Smith 2015

Juvenile Snow Goose Good Harbor Beach Gloucester
Cosmos ©Kim Smith 2014  --8

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BRANT GEESE INVASION!

Brant Geese Plum Cove Beach Gloucester Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015

Brant Geese Plum Cove Beach Gloucester

Just kidding, however, they have recently been spotted all around Cape Ann! Several weeks ago I noticed three on Niles Beach, yesterday another 20 or so bobbing and diving in the waves off a little beach in Rockport, and this morning Michelle Anderson emailed that her son Atticus, with his eagle eyes, had spotted a blizzard at Plum Cove Beach. I was working on a design project in Andover and wasn’t able to get there until afternoon. The Brants were still there! Perhaps there were 50 or so feeding at the shoreline and another several hundred further off shore.

Brant Goose Plum Cove Beach Gloucester Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015The geese are shy. At one point while photographing, I lay flat down in the beach grass trying to blend in with the landscape while inching forward, but they were not deceived. Too far away for my camera to get a good close up, and heavily overcast today, nonetheless you can see that they are quite beautiful creatures.

Brant Geese Plum Cove Beach Rockport Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015

Brant Geese Rockport

Smaller than Canadian geese, the Brant Goose, also called Brent, Black Brant, and American Brant, is a coastal bird that breeds in the Arctic tundra. It migrates along both the Atlantic and Pacific flyways. With white or buff belly, black head and neck, and contrasting white bars at the neck, Brants are easy to identify. They feed on green plants including sea lettuce and eel grass. Brants have a highly developed salt gland, which allows them to consume salt water.

PLEASE LET US KNOW IF YOU SEE ANY BRANTS, AT WHAT LOCATION AND WHEN. We would love to hear from you!

Brant Geese Plum Cove Beach Rockport Massachusetts -2 ©Kim Smith 2015*   *   *
Comsos 12 ©Kim Smith 2014 copy

Friend 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.

Plum Cove Beach Re-opened for swimming according to City of Gloucester website

Frank McCall submits-

Hi Joey,
My wife and I moved to the Lanesville area of Gloucester last September and we’re loving it! We met you and your wife at one of the recent Savour Wine and Cheese Open Tables. What a fantastic meal!
I saw that you posted yesterday about the closure of Plum Cove Beach. I thought you might want to let folks know that the beach has been re-opened (according to the City of Gloucester website). Here is a link to the announcement: http://gloucester-ma.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=498 .

PLUM COVE BEACH RE-OPENED FOR SWIMMING

June 14, 2013, 1:00 PM

Based on preliminary results of samples taken at Plum Cove Beach on June 13, 2013, the Gloucester Health Department is lifting the swimming ban related to the elevated enterococci levels from samples taken June 11, 2013.

Current enterococci levels are less than ten colony-forming units (CFUs) for the sample, well below the limits set by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s bathing beach standards.

The Department will return to its regular sampling schedules. For more information and updates, please visit the city website at http://www.gloucester-ma.gov or please contact:

Max Schenk
Manager – Environmental Health Services
Gloucester Health Department
978-282-8025

I was at the beach at sunset tonight while walking my dog. Here are a couple of photos.

IMG_6305IMG_6313

PLUM COVE BEACH CLOSED TILL FURTHER NOTICE

image

Due to the recent severe weather, as of today, Wednesday, June 12, 2013, the City of Gloucester Board of Health has posted a sign at Plum Cove Beach notifying residents that regularly scheduled testing discovered that bacteria counts were found to be beyond the states bathing beach limits.

Residents are advised that they swim at their own risk. 

The next scheduled test results will be available in the afternoon of Friday, June 14, 2013.  City of Gloucester Health Department will continue to closely monitor the situation. 

For more information and updates, please visit the city website at http://www.gloucester-ma.gov

For more information, please contact:
Gloucester Public Health Department
Max Schenk, Manager of Environmental Health Services
978-282-8025