Monthly Archives: October 2017

EYE TO EYE WITH A BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON

I so love chance encounters with wild creatures and this young Black-crowned Night heron did not disappoint. He stayed close to the rocky embankment, stealthily foraging for small shrimp in the dark crevices at mid-tide. The youngster did not seem to mind my presence; after a bit of time passed I walked away and when I returned he continued to steadily fish.

Scratching, preening, wing-stretches, and standing on one leg.

Eventually stopping to preen, stand on one leg, and then, walking aways from where he was feeding–how do I say this politely–took a huge enormous poop. Off he then flew to the marsh with a signature quark.

Black-crowned Nigh Herons are making a comeback in our region for several reasons, most notably because the pesticide DDT was banned and because the quality of our water has improved. During the 1950s, folks who did not care for midnight quarks coming from Black-crowned Night Heron nests either shot them dead out of trees or dynamited the rookeries.

This past spring there were the most Black-crowned Night Herons I have ever seen in one tree at Niles Pond. If I recall correctly, there were nine in all! 

Mature Black-crowned Night Heron, Niles Pond

The Black-crowned Night Herons proper name (Nycticorax nycticorax) translated from Ancient Greek is Night Raven, suggesting its nocturnal feeding habits. I like to refer to them as the onomatopoeic Quarky birds and unknown to me, until I began writing this post, in the Falkland Islands, the bird is called Quark.

Off to the marsh.

“TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD” TRIUMPHS AT GLOUCESTER STAGE COMPANY!

Photo left to right – Scout: Carly Williams, Atticus Finch: Lewis D. Wheeler, Jem: Nathaniel Oaks & Dill: Gabriel Magee

To Kill a Mockingbird Triumphs at Gloucester Stage Company

By Tom Hauck

The Gloucester Stage Company is renowned for introducing important new plays to New England and often the world. In To Kill a Mockingbird, the company proves it has the same magic touch with a story that since its publication in 1960 has become an American classic. The stage version, written by Christopher Sergel, made its debut in 1990, and won the Pulitzer Prize.

The GSC production of To Kill a Mockingbird is nothing less than a magnificent shooting star streaking across the heavens and with only a month of performances, you must see this masterful interpretation before it vanishes into the night. Every aspect of the production, directed by Boston stage legend Judy Braha, is exceptional. Led by GSC veterans Amanda Collins as the grown-up Scout and Lewis D. Wheeler as Atticus Finch, with Aaron Dowdy as Tom Robinson and Cheryl D. Singleton as Calpurnia, Carly Williams (Scout), Nathaniel Oaks (Jem), and Gabriel Magee (Dill) as the children, the cast is pitch-perfect throughout. They’re supported by an evocative and flexible set designed by Jon Savage and sublime lighting by John Malinowski. The lighting, in particular, effectively sets the mood for each scene, whether it’s the ramshackle courthouse interior or the deep and mysterious woods on Halloween night.

This is a great story masterfully interpreted by an outstanding company. To Kill a Mockingbird  deeply touches our hearts and connect us with the humanity of each of the characters. The GSC production is outstanding on every level, and it is my guess that during the final scene when Boo Radley makes his appearance, you will be among the many people in the audience who feel tears gathering in their eyes.

To Kill a Mockingbird is onstage now through October 28. For schedules and ticket information, visit www.gloucesterstage.com or call 978-281-4433. A smash hit, get your tickets today!

All Photos Courtesy Gloucester Stage Company By Gary NG

 

Scout: Carly Williams & Jean Louise Finch: Amanda Collins

 

ROCKPORT CULTURAL COUNCIL SEEKS FUNDING PROPOSALS

Proposals for community-oriented arts, humanities, and science programs due October 16

The Rockport Cultural Council has set an October 16 deadline for organizations, schools, and individuals to apply for grants that support cultural activities in the community.

According to Council spokesperson Julie Andrews, these grants can support a variety of artistic projects and activities in Rockport — including exhibits, festivals, field trips, short-term artist residencies, or performances in schools, workshops, and lectures.

The Rockport Cultural Council is part of a network of 329 Local Cultural Councils serving all 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth. The LCC Program is the largest grassroots cultural funding network in the nation, supporting thousands of community-based projects in the arts, sciences and humanities every year. The state legislature provides an annual appropriation to the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, which then allocates funds to each community.

This year, the Rockport Cultural Council will distribute about $4400 in grants. Previously funded projects include: Rockport New Year’s Eve, Northeast MA Youth Orchestra, Cape Ann Shakespeare Troupe, and Windhover Foundation’s Quarry Dance VI.

For local guidelines and complete information on the Rockport Cultural Council, contact Julie Andrews, Chair at 978-290-1495 and/or juliebandrews1@gmail.com. Application forms and more information about the Local Cultural Council Program are available online at http://www.mass-culture.org.

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