I know there are some photographers with lenses out there…and that my binocular-phone combo didn’t cut it! Stunning sight.
I know there are some photographers with lenses out there…and that my binocular-phone combo didn’t cut it! Stunning sight.
Mr. Swan super stressed and panting while being chased around Henry’s Pond.
Photos courtesy Kim Smith
A popular swan at Henry’s Pond in Rockport managed to stay one step ahead of rescuers who were trying to capture him Tuesday.
The elderly bird, known affectionately as “Mr. Swan,” has been a common sight at the pond for many years. During that time, he’s fathered many cygnets and outlived two of his mates, and led a peaceful existence on the water.
But things took a turn recently when Mr. Swan hurt his leg. Although he could still swim, some people began to notice that Mr. Swan was having difficulty walking. And they began to worry.
Soon enough, the Animal Rescue League was called in to help.
“The swan is considered a community pet, so the goal was to capture it, have it treated, and then returned to the pond,” said Michael DeFina, a spokesman for the Animal Rescue League.
While that mission sounds simple, carrying it out proved to be anything but. Catching Mr. Swan turned out to be an impossible task for the organization’s rescue team. Armed with large nets, the two rescuers — Bill Tanguay and Mark Vogel — used kayaks to pursue Mr. Swan on the water. At one point, Vogel almost caught Mr. Swan in his net, but the bird was able to break free.
Mr. Swan eventually sought refuge in the reeds, and the rescuers decided to call off the chase.
“The swan was stressed, and the soaring temperatures made him very tired,” said DeFina. “The fact he eluded capture and was able to swim without showing obvious signs of pain led to the conclusion that the injury may not be that severe.”
“After giving up the chase, ARL and the concerned parties agreed to continually monitor the swan’s condition, and if it worsens, ARL will be contacted to get the swan medical attention, and again, have him returned to the pond,” DeFina said.
Kim Smith, a Gloucester resident who counts herself among one of Mr. Swan’s many fans, described the rescue attempt as a “wild swan chase.”
“He was chased back and forth across the pond,” she said.
What made his escape even more impressive is Mr. Swan’s age. According to Smith, sightings of Mr. Swan date back to the early 1990s, which would make him at least 27 years old. (Smith knows Mr. Swan well: she’s spent the past six years filming him for a documentary film.)
“He’s an amazing creature,” she said.
DeFina said that the average lifespan for a swan in the wild can be about 10 to 15 years due to the hazards they can encounter (getting caught in fishing gear, getting hit by a boat, etc.), while a swan living in a protected environment can live 20 to 30 years.
“It’s clear that there are certainly people in Gloucester who care for this swan, if he’s in fact been around that long,” DeFina said.
Smith said that although the Animal Rescue League’s efforts were well-intentioned, she’s happy that Mr. Swan eluded capture.
“He’s lived this long, he deserves to spend his last days in his own neighborhood with his friends,” she said.
Long live Mr. Swan.
Emily Sweeney can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter@emilysweeney.
I have loved this past month’s atmospheric and textured, misty April weather. Do you recall an April as foggy? I don’t. Whenever out and about and a spare moment was mine, I grabbed my camera and had a go at capturing beautiful fog-shrouded Cape Ann.
Trying out the new teleconverter–note the little tiny figure fishing on the breakwater in the photo on the left, which was shot at 18mm, and then with the 400mm lens plus tele.
Same focal lengths with Ten Pound Island.
Featured: Brant Geese, Black-capped Chickadees, Black-crowned Night Heron, Blue Jays, Cardinals, American Robins, Mockingbirds, Savannah Sparrows, House Finches, Red-breasted Mergansers, and Common Grackle.
Beautiful iridescent feathers of the Common Grackle.
Spring is a fantastic time of year in Massachusetts to see wildlife, whether that be whale or winged creature. Marine species are migrating to the abundant feeding grounds of the North Atlantic as avian species are traveling along the Atlantic Flyway to summer breeding regions in the boreal forests and Arctic tundra. And, too, the bare limbs of tree branches and naked shrubs make for easy viewing of birds that breed and nest in our region. Verdant foliage that will soon spring open, although much longed for, also obscures nesting activity. Get out today and you’ll be richly rewarded by what you see along shoreline and pond bank.
Male Red-winged Blackbird singing to his lady love.
Once the trees leaf, we’ll still hear the songsters but see them less.
Five migrating Brant Geese were foraging on seaweed at Loblolly Cove this morning.
Aside from Spring Peepers, is there a sound of the New England meadow that announces the arrival of spring more eloquently than that of the Red-winged Blackbird calling to his lady love? I think not. Happy Spring!
A small duck with a big personality, the little male American Wigeon flew on the scene, disgruntling all the Mallards. He darted in and out of their feeding territory, foraging along the shoreline, while the Mallards let him know with no uncertainty, by nipping and chasing, that they did not want him there. American Wigeon was not deterred and just kept right on feeding.
Smaller than a Mallard but larger than a Bufflehead, the pretty male flashes a brilliant green swath across the eye and has a beautiful baby blue bill. They are also colloquially called “Baldplate” because the white patch atop his head resembles a bald man’s head.
Male American Wigeon and Male Mallard
According to naturalist and avian illustrator Barry van Dusen in “Bird Observer, “In Massachusetts, they are considered rare and local breeders, uncommon spring migrants, and locally common migrants in fall. They are also fairly common winter residents in a few localities. Spring migration occurs in April and fall migrants arrive in September with many remaining until their preferred ponds freeze over.”
After looking at the range map below, I wonder if our little American Wigeon has been here all winter or if he is a spring migrant. If you have seen an American Wigeon, please write and let us know. Thank you!
So many titles! This Old Church. When a house of worship is a house. I wonder about the people and the history behind their unique architecture, and smile thinking about dedication and reverence. What were the maddening, fascinating and funny stories of the houseproud chapters?
“This Saturday morning forum is offered in collaboration with Essex County Greenbelt, Friends of Dogtown, Lanesville Community Center and Mass Audubon and held at Cape Ann Museum. The forum will be moderated by Ed Becker, President of the Essex County Greenbelt Association.”
UPDATE: Cape Ann TV is scheduled to film the event!
Chris Leahy gave a presentation at Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Library on February 23, 2017: Dogtown- the Biography of a Landscape: 750 Million Years Ago to the Present
A photographic history through slides presented by the Gloucester Lyceum and the Friends of the Library. Mary Weissblum opened the program.
Chris broadly covered the history of the local landscape from an ecological bent with a bias to birds and blueberry picking, naturally. New England is a patchwork of forested landscapes. He stressed the evolution of bio diversity and succession phenomenon when the earth and climate change. “Nature takes a lot of courses.” He focused on Dogtown, “a very special place”, and possible merits of land stewardship geared at fostering greater biodiversity. Perhaps some of the core acres could be coaxed to grasslands as when parts of Gloucester were described as moors? Characteristic wildlife, butterflies, and birds no longer present may swing back. There were many philosophical takeaways and tips: he recommends visiting the dioramas “Changes in New England Landscape” display at Harvard Forest HQ in Petersham.
“Isolation of islands is a main driver of evolution”
“Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Worcester has the highest concentration* of native butterflies in all of Massachusetts because of secondary habitats.” *of Mass Audubon’s c.40,000 acres of wildlife sanctuaries statewide. “The fact that Brook Meadow Brook is in greater Worcester, rather than a forested wilderness, underscores the value of secondary habitats.”
“1830– roughly the time of Thoreau (1817-1862)– was the maximum period of clearing thus the heyday for grasslands…As farmsteads were abandoned, stages of forests return.”
Below are photos from February 23, 2017. I added some images of art inspired by Dogtown. I also pulled out a photograph by Frank L Cox, David Cox’s father, of Gallery on the Moors (then) compared with a photo of mine from 2011 to illustrate how the picturesque description wasn’t isolated to Dogtown.
Louise Upton Brumback (1867-1929), Dogtown- Cape Ann, 1920 oil on canvas
StudioCrepe on 17 Railroad Ave is an absolute must try if you haven’t been there. I am guilty of not making my way into Rockport with all the great restaurants.
My daughter Talia loves it and introduced me to brunch! Can’t make it for brunch? No worries they have lunch and dinner!
Here’s a glimpse of brunch but they offer so much more! Check out their website www.studiocrepe.com
I got the Sunrise Crepe with some Rose! Great beer and wine selection!
Last night’s Snow Moon was stunning, although my photos don’t do it justice. Frozen fingers and I couldn’t find what I was looking for, which was a a tree, any tree, with snow laden branches, with the moon light coming through. Oh well, there’s always next year. 🙂
While the snow came later than expected, a full-blown winter storm was definitely in the air. We took a little tour of Rockport from Old Garden Beach, to Bearskin Neck, to Long Beach, and down Eden Road just before the storm blew in. As we were driving home, the snow began to come down fast and furious.
Photos from an early morning walk all around Rockport Harbor (sub0zero walk I should add). My technique for photographing when it’s 10 degrees out is to snap away until my fingers can’t stand it any more, run back to the car, which has been left running, warm up, and then try again. Repeat in ten to fifteen minute intervals. I have the utmost respect for the fishermen; I don’t understand how they can work on the water when the air temperature is so cold.
Snowy dawn in Rockport
First of year, Happy New Year. May 2107 be all that you want it to be.
The mission of Rockport New Year’s Eve (RNYE) is to broaden and deepen the public’s appreciation for the performing, literary, and visual arts through innovative, diverse and high-quality programs that offer the community a shared cultural experience that is accessible and affordable. RNYE presents year-round programs that both support this mission and raise funds. RNYE is also supported by business sponsorships and individual donations.
RNYE’s most important event of the year, and the one for which the organization is named, is the celebration of the arts on New Year’s Eve. The evening is designed to be an impressive, “small seacoast town” version of First Night celebrations held throughout the country. New Year’s Eve in Rockport is a treasured tradition enjoyed by Cape Ann residents and visitors
Attendees purchase buttons online or at stores throughout Rockport and Gloucester in advance of New Year’s Eve, or at the event headquarters on New Year’s Eve. A button allows the bearer to attend any events that are scheduled throughout the evening. The following description gives a good perspective of the depth, breadth and cultural diversity of the entertainment.
The celebration begins at 6PM on New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Eve entertainment is scheduled on the hour, every hour, from 6PM to midnight, with 15 minute breaks in between each 45 minute session to allow attendees to walk from venue to venue and venue managers to reset for the next act. The entertainment options scheduled throughout the evening are culturally diverse and suitable for all ages. Musical acts may include folk, Celtic, blues, reggae, calypso, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, funk, soul, bagpipes, gospel, songs of the sea, 50’s and 60’s doo wop, country, western swing, African pop, New Orleans jazz, big band, and a cappella.. Other entertainment may include clowns, jugglers, puppeteers, story tellers, face painters, dancers, psychic readers, and telescope viewing with the astronomy club. Children of all ages participate in the drum jam and parade through the downtown streets, with a large dancing dragon and costumes. At midnight, attendees gather in Dock Square to watch the ball drop from the highest ladder of the town fire truck and sing “Auld Lang Syne”.
NOON YEAR’S EVE
Who says you have to wait until midnight to celebrate 2017?
Help us ring in the 2017 a few hours early with our first ever “Noon Year’s Eve” celebration! There will be special activities, prizes and giveaways, and a celebratory balloon drop, all included in the price of admission!
Test your tolerance for icy cold water, have some belly laughs with friends, and (most importantly) help raise donations for the Open Door!
Once again, it’s that time to come and celebrate the New Year with our invigorating celebration. Please join us!! We ask everyone to bring non-perishables to help out those in need. The Open Door will have a van set up at the entrance of the beach !! We also collect cash or checks made out to The Open Door. If you haven’t joined us before, please do so and bring friends!!!!! We start this yearly tradition with a poem from George Sibley and then take our plunge !!
Sunday, January 1st at 9:00 a.m.
Rocky Neck. Stevens Way, Gloucester,MA
As always, for a comprehensive list of family activities, please visit our friends at North Shore Kid
In Rockport, Santa comes to town twice. He comes once, by lobster boat in early December, to help light the town Christmas Tree. He comes back Christmas morning, after a very long night, so that the town’s children can say “thank you” for bringing Christmas into their homes.