Tag Archives: Rockport

The Stuff Childhood is Made Of

Thursday night lights.  Rockport Little League Play-offs, Major B. Game One.

A sweet little Thursday night game under the lights at Parisi Field with the High School field of dreams looming in the background.

National Anthem, 6 innings, team BBQ (for both teams of course), laughter, running, more laughter, and then ice cream over at the Dairy Train.

Quintessential small-town Little League and the stuff that childhood is made of.

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Eastern Coyote talk tonight, Rockport Library 6:30 PM

Eastern Coyote talks Thursday, (that’s tonight), Rockport Library 6:30 PM.

Please join us for an informative presentation and discussion regarding the Eastern Coyote facilitated by Conservation Biologist and Wild Canid Ecologist Christine Schadler, MS, MA.

While wolf recovery was the focus of her early work, Chris’ attention shifted to the eastern coyote when she moved to New England. Using sound livestock management and non-lethal predator control, she prevented predation for two decades at a sheep farm with known coyote problems. Chris has provided talks to livestock growers and the general public for 30 years on living with coyotes.

Chris is now the Representative for Project Coyote in NH and VT and co-founder of the New Hampshire Wildlife Coalition. She divides her time between teaching, giving talks, and working on her book Becoming Wolf: The Eastern Coyote in New England. Between presentations, she can be found at camp in northern New Hampshire researching coyote feeding patterns and responding to the occasional wolf. She is also the Chair of the Webster Conservation Commission.

Chris earned her MS at Antioch University Graduate School. She has taught Conservation Issues, Dendrology, and Wolf Ecology at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), and is now an Adjunct Professor at Rivier University.

Brought to you by the Friends of the Rockport Public Library

OLDSQUAWS, GOLDENEYES, SCOTERS, AND MORE BEAUTIFUL DUCKS MIGRATING RIGHT NOW ON OUR SHORES! -By Kim Smith

The beautiful collection of ducks currently migrating along our shores could also be called ‘A Study in Black and White,’ with a touch of orange, too.

Common Goldeneye

Swimming inshore with the diminutive, albeit more ubiquitous, Buffleheads are Common Goldeneyes. Both sea ducks are members of the Bucephala genus; their name is derived from the ancient Greek word boukephalos, which means bullheaded and is in reference to their bulbously-shaped heads. During courtship rituals, male members of the Bucephala genus puff out their head feathers, making them appear even more buffalo-headed.

How can you tell the two apart when side by side? Goldeneyes are larger than Buffleheads and they have a circular white patch on their cheek, behind the bill.

Female (left) and Male Buffleheads

The name Oldsquaw was once used to describe the Long-tailed Duck but has fallen out favor in deference to Native American tribes.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has re-vamped their website. From here you can read more about Long-tailed Ducks, but I thought the following was particularly interesting while learning how to distinguish the different plumages.  “Unlike most ducks, which molt twice per year, the Long-tailed Duck has three distinct plumages each year, achieved in a complex series of overlapping partial molts. The Definitive Basic Plumage is never worn in its entirety, as portions of Alternate are retained through the summer and elements of the Supplemental are acquired before all of Basic Plumage is obtained. Therefore change in plumage seems continuous from April to October. Unlike other waterfowl, the Long-tailed Duck wears its “breeding” or Alternate Plumage only in the winter. It gets its “nonbreeding” or Basic Plumage in the spring and wears it for the breeding season. Most other ducks wear the nonbreeding plumage only for a short period in the late summer.”

Male and Female Long-tailed Ducks in nonbreeding plumage.

Male and Female Surf Scoters

The male Surf Scoter’s well-defined stark white patches against ebony feathers lends this sea duck its common name, “Skunk-headed Coot.” But it is the scoter’s bulbous-at-the-base orange, black and white patterned bill that I find interesting and almost comical. The female is a plainer dull blackish-brownish with light colored patches, one behind each eye and at the base of the bill.

The number of, and locations of, Brant Geese appear to be increasing as they are readying for the long migration to the Arctic breeding grounds. Brants migrate the greatest distance of any North American goose.Brant breakfast. 

A lone Canada Goose joined the scene for a moment, but his presence was not welcome by the Brants. His appearance provided a terrific opportunity though to compare the size difference between the Brant and the Canada Goose. You can see in the photo below, the Brant is quite a bit smaller, but that didn’t prevent one from chasing away the Canada Goose.

Canada Goose in the background, Brant Goose in the foreground.

Bye bye Canada Goose

Male and Female Common Goldeneyes and Harbor Seals

BREAKING: (UPDATED) ACTIVE POLICE AND FIRE RESCUE SEARCH UNDERWAY IN #ROCKPORTMA -POSSIBLY MISSING WOMAN THERESA COHEN

Police, fire, and rescue vehicles are stationed around the Pebble Beach-Cape Hedge-Penzance Road area, with rescuers combing the beach.

Reader Rick shares the following from the Gloucester Daily Times online edition this morning; “Theresa A. Coen, 52, of Penzance Road in Rockport and also of Boston’s Charlestown neighborhood, was last heard from on Saturday evening” Is there a connection here?”

Thank you Rick for letting us know, her name is Theresa Coen.

BEAUTIFUL BRANTS, SCAUPS, AND RING-NECKED DUCKS MIGRATING RIGHT NOW ON OUR SHORES!

The avian northward migration is heating up! The following are just three of the fascinating species of wild birds readily seen at this time of year, found all around Cape Ann. Look for Brants, Scaups, and Ring-necked Ducks at coves, bays, ponds, quarries, and marshes.

Currently migrating along Cape Ann’s shoreline is a beautiful brigade of Brant Geese. They usually turn up at about this time of year, late winter through early spring, and I have been looking for them in all the usual places. Brants thrive in Cape Ann coves, devouring sea lettuce while riding the incoming and outgoing waves. I see them eating and pecking for food atop barnacle-crusted rocks and am not sure if they are eating seaweed caught on the rocks or tiny crustaceans.

Brants eating bright green sea lettuce.

In the 1930s a terrible disease devastated eel grass and the Brant population plummeted. Surviving Brants adapted to sea lettuce and as the eel grass recovered, so too is the population of Brants recovering.

Brants are wonderfully vocal, making a funny “cronk” sound. I was walking past a flock of geese off in the distance and wasn’t paying much attention. Thinking they were Canada Geese, I ignored them until hearing their vigorous cronking.

They fight with each too, over rocks and food. Tomorrow if I can find the time I will try to post photos that I took of a Brant scuffle.

Brants feeding on the rocks are knocked off by the incoming tide, but then quickly get right back up again.

Brants migrate the furthest north of any species of goose, as far north as Hedwig territory.

Two Males and a Female Scaup

The Greater Scaup breeds as far north as Snowy Owls and Brant Geese, and Ring-necked Ducks are also passing through, not traveling quite as far, but on their way to the Alaskan and Canadian boreal forests. Greater Scaups travel in flocks, sometimes forming rafts of thousands. You can see why in the photos Greater Scaups are colloquially called Bluebills.

Three male Scaups and a Red-breasted Merganser

The most significant threat to Greater Scaups is habitat loss, oil, and sewage pollution. Nearly eighty percent winter over in the Atlantic Flyway where they are subjected to heavy metals in foods and habitat.

Too many suitors! Lone female Ring-necked Duck with potential mates.

The two species are closely related (Aythya collaris and Atythya marila); both are small diving ducks and both are vulnerable to becoming poisoned by lead from diving for food and incidentally eating the lead shot and lures that continues to cause problems in our wetlands. 

READ MORE HERE

Read more

Behold: The Perfect Donut

Instead of once a week I’ve been hitting the Brothers Brew Coffee Shop more frequently. My favorite donut, the Butternut Crunch was not running out by 9AM anymore. I figured maybe everyone is on a diet but since my 11 AM purchased Butternut Crunch was fresh and warm I realized that they are just making more of them since I moved to town.

Today, after having a Butternut Crunch yesterday I thought I should slow the pace down and I accidentally stumbled upon the perfect donut. There are some very good fresh donut shops on Cape Ann but hear me out. Or just look at it:

The Butternut Crunch, Chocolate, and Glaze Trifecta. Eat them in that order. Trust me.

Brothers Brew is known for their bacon donut. A donut with a big piece of bacon on top. Rubber Duck reviewed that for Good morning Gloucester several years ago. An excellent donut but not one you can pack away every day unless you want to do a Shamoo the Whale act in Sandy Bay. But the threeway can be your daily go-to donut if you bring two friends.

DISASTER AT PEBBLE BEACH #ROCKPORTMA MARCH STORM NOR’EASTER RILEY

After filming the explosive waves on Atlantic Road yesterday afternoon for various documentary projects, I headed over to Henry’s Pond to check on Mr. Swan’s whereabouts. Expecting to see and film some damage to the road that divides Henry’s Pond and Pebble Beach, which often occurs after storms, especially nor’easters, I was completely overwhelmed by the destruction found at Pebble Beach. The road is gone; the worst I have ever seen, and I couldn’t make it to the Pond because it was simply too dangerous to climb over the slippery, jiggley rocks and seaweed.

 

CAPE ANN RECOVERING FROM THE BOMBCYCLONE -By Kim Smith

Rain this past week melted the snow, revealing more destruction from the 2018 Bombcyclone. Stopping at favorite places along the backshore, the storm surge left in its wake damage to T-wharf, the road is completely washed out at Pebble Beach, and Eastern Point marsh and storm drains are clogged with debris.

T-Wharf, Rockport

Pebble Beach and Henry’s Pond. The storm surged pushed the rocks over the bank and into the road. Saltwater found a path and gushed into Henry’s Pond.

Popples strewn across the lawn and seaweed and debris clogged storm drains.

Storm Coverage From Rockport at High Tide

We took a quick drive today between 11:30-12:15 but soon realized that we shouldn’t be on the road.  Strong winds whipped freezing cold salt water on us, my gear, and into my car before we decided to head for home.  It was hard to fight the urge to stay out longer for “the perfect shot” but sometimes you need to know when to call it a day. Waves were crashing up and onto the circle at the end of Bearskin Neck and washing probably 4 inches of water across the street and back into the harbor on the other side.  I just heard on the news that it only takes about 8-12 inches of water to carry a car away.  I’m glad I wouldn’t let my husband turn around at the very end, but made him go into reverse and stay clear instead.  #fighttheurgetogettheshot.  We turned for home before it got too bad but saw far too many people still out on the streets.  I hope they also turned for home!

 

Got a high five from Jim Cantore

He saw the name on the side of the tow truck, “Tally’s Hookers” and he did a SMDH.

Oh, if you are parked on T-Wharf in Rockport you might want to move your car. Or give Tally a call and negotiate. Looks like they took a pass on these last few that were lifting up. How do you get a chain on a floater?

This … may get wetter later.

CALM BEFORE THE STORM

Living in a coastal community as do we here on Cape Ann, the weather plays a formidable role in our everyday lives. I consider each day to be uniquely beautiful, although with a storm approaching that has been given the name “Bomb Cyclone,” the word beauty may not be the first word that comes to mind tomorrow morning.

Yesterday morning as the full Wolf Moon was setting, the sun rose clear and brilliantly on the icy rafts forming at Smiths Cove, sea smoke swirled around Ten Pound Island Lighthouse, and the Harbor was rough with whitecaps.

Today the sun rose over the backshore through a bank of low lying clouds shading the light in hues of violet, red, orange, and yellow and this thought was on my mind, ‘red in the morning, sailor heed warning.’ Fishermen were shoring up their boats, house builders furiously hammering, and the grocery stores were as mobbed as the day before Thanksgiving.

See you on the other side of the storm. Please stay safe and warm

Backshore January 2, 2018

Christmas Eve Sunrise, Chapins Gully, 7:10:55 AM

About five minutes before sunrise.

How hard is it to know exactly to the second when the sunrise occurs? You would think one click on the internet would do it but a few things make it slightly harder. The calculation has to know exactly where you are on earth. It also needs to know your elevation and the elevation of the horizon. All three are pretty easy here on Cape Ann. You don’t have to be within the foot, just a decent guess.

So if I am standing about 30 feet above the water and the sunrise is on the water, boom, 2/3rds done. Then you go to Sunrise Tools at this website and do some clicking. You can have a free account so once you have your favorite locations saved it’s easy.

Today, the sunrise was at 7:10:55 AM and tomorrow it will be 22 seconds later at 07:11:17 AM. Most internet calculators will round that off so that both happen at 7:11 AM. But if you want to see the green flash in the morning you need precision to the second.

That way I could figure out that my phone died precisely eleven seconds before sunrise.

Sunrise tools

LOCAL RESIDENT DAVID ROBINSON -DRUMMER FOR THE CARS- INDUCTED INTO THE ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME!

David Robinson, owner of the beautiful local gallery Windemere Art and Antiques, and drummer for the rock band The Cars, has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Rock on David!

You can read the full story here in today’s Gloucester Times.

My friends Donna, David, and Lisa in front of David’s shop Windemere, located on Main Street Rockport

Beautiful dedication of Morgan Faulds Pike altarpiece in Rockport

Carved from limewood. Look at the range in surfaces!

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(detail) Rererdos St Mary’s Rockport, MA wooden alterpiece carved by master American sculptor Morgan Faulds Pike.

 

Dir Rev Karin E Wade developed a very special service today at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 24 Broadway, Rockport, MA. The visitation of Bishop Alan M. Gates and Deacon Bruce Nickerson for the dedication of the graceful and evocative Reredos by sculptor Morgan Faulds Pike was a resounding (and glorious sounding) success. There are wonderful acoustics in this little church.

 

Bishop Gates related that he was a Russian scholar, and acknowledged the exquisite music and choir immediately. I believe he mentioned the Lvovsky Hospodi Pomiloi specifically (see program notes below). The Offertory Anthem, Each Road, with words by Jeannette M. Lindholm and music by David C. Pike, inspired by Morgan’s work and created for the dedication of the new reredos, was still to come! All of it was so very moving. If you were unable to join today’s dedication,

save the date as there will be a Festive Evensong Dedication on Sunday October 29, 2017 at 4pm

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Morgan Faulds Pike website Read more

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