Oh Happy Day! Overjoyed to see the return of Little Chick and Friends!!!! Daily for the past several weeks I have been checking to catch sight of Piping Plovers. I looked this morning and nothing, but as Tom was leaving for a noon walk on GHB I asked him to keep his eyes peeled. My heart skipped a beat when he called only fifteen minutes later and said he thought there were three. I raced over, and sure enough, YES, three little plovers!!! They are so weary I don’t know what to think. Did they fly straight from the Carolinas or even further, from the Turks and Caicos, or possibly some remote island in the Bahamas? They are so sleepy-eyed and only want to rest.
Will they stay or are they on their way further north? Is this a passing passel of plovers? Could this be Little Chick or Papa and Mama Plover returning? It’s so cold and damp, rain is predicted and later this week, snow. What do Plovers do in the snow?
The Piping Plovers stayed the night, all three! They have been joined by a nearly as tiny little shorebird, a Dunlin I think. The PiPl appear to accept the Dunlin as part of the troupe. The Plovers seem a bit more perky today, foraging in the tidal flats.
Plover flying through a sand storm.
Joy! They are still here.
Terribly, terribly windy. The Plovers are trying to forage but are being blown sideways. So smart–they are seeking and finding shelter behind the big rock, and are huddling with the Dunlin. Too much sand blowing on my cameras.
The PiPl are courting!!! Does this mean they have made GHB home for the summer? If they lay eggs now, won’t that be tremendous because chicks will hatch well before July 4th. I think there are two males, one female, and the Dunlin is still here.
Object of desire.
The male with the brightest orange bill made several nest scrapes, inviting the female to come sniff his cloaca and to inspect the site. Courtship was interrupted numerous times by curious and exuberant pooches. The dogs are off leash on even numbered days. Perhaps the Dog Friendly people will help and keep dogs on leash when near this potential nesting area. I hope so much we can make this happen. If the PiPl are able to nest early, the chicks will have a much, much better chance of survival. Millions and millions of dogs, but only about three thousand nesting pair of Piping Plovers remaining. Will the numbers again drop this year after multiple hurricanes and late season nor’easters?
It’s time to let folks know about the Plovers, and we need a roped off area as soon as possible.
Sunny and cold and beautiful, with snow later today.
Late afternoon–what do Piping Plovers do in a snow squall? They forage! No photos, but a tiny bit of film footage. What were nice puffy wet flakes at home in my garden became icy, stinging cold driving rain/snow mix on the beach and too much for cameras to stay long.
Bluefish; Snapper (young)
It is perhaps the most ferocious and bloodthirsty fish in the sea, leaving in its wake a trail of dead and mangled mackerel, menhaden, herring, alewives, and other species on which it preys. Goode wrote long ago, the bluefish, “not content with what they eat, which is itself of enormous quantity, rush ravenously through the closely crowded schools, cutting and tearing the living fish as they go, and leaving in their wake the mangled fragments.” It is not only the schooling fish that fall prey to them, but scup, squeteague, hake, butterfish, cunners, and small fish of all kinds, besides squid. Baird, writing in the 1870’s, when bluefish were at the height of their abundance, estimated that they annually destroyed at least twelve hundred million millions of fish during the four summer months off southern New England; and while this calculation surely was wildly exaggerated it will help give the reader a graphic realization of the havoc that they wreak during their periods of plenty.
From Fishes of the Gulf of Maine by Bigelow and Schroeder (1953) online courtesy of MBL/WHOI http://www.gma.org/fogm/Pomatomus_saltatrix.htm
‘THE FISK CONNECTION,’ A PROGRESSIVE ORGAN CONCERT ON SATURDAY EVENING, APRIL 14, 2018
EVENT DESCRIPTION: The Gloucester Meetinghouse Foundation hosts a performance by six local organists on Saturday, April 14th at 7:30 p.m., the first half in the Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church at the corner of Middle and Church Street and the second half next door in St. John’s Episcopal Church. Doors open at 7:00pm; come early for the best seats.
The performers are Kathleen Adams, Frances Conover Fitch, Carl Klein, Michael Kraft, Mark Nelson, and Robert Wech. Each one is connected to the work of the late Charles B. Fisk, whose firm located in Magnolia is world-renowned for superb pipe organs in churches, universities and concert halls. The concert will be narrated by Charles Nazarian describing the connection of the players to Fisk, history of the two remarkable instruments, and information about how the pipe organ sounds.
WHAT TO EXPECT: In the mode of a progressive recital last year by virtuoso organist Joonho Park, the first half will be performed in the Meetinghouse, home of the Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church, on the 1893 Hutchings pipe organ, restored by Gloucester organ builder Charles Fisk in 1962.
At the intermission, the audience will stroll next door for the second half of the concert in St. John’s Episcopal Church on the 1989 Fisk pipe-organ, the firm’s Opus 97. A reception will follow the concert at St. John’s. For more information and advance tickets please visit www.gloucestermeetinghouse.org
WHAT’S SPECIAL? This concert is a rare opportunity for Cape Ann residents to hear two pipe organs of historic significance and contrasting characters back to back, performed by organists with individual connections to Gloucester and the work of Charles Fisk. The Meetinghouse organ was built by George Hutchings, builder of the organ in Boston’s Symphony Hall, and restored in Gloucester by Fisk in 1962. The innovative St. John’s organ is the only new Fisk instrument commissioned on Cape Ann, the firm’s Opus 97 completed in 1989. Although products of different eras in organ building, both instruments feature mechanical (tracker) key action, a wide tonal palette for the performance of many eras of organ music, and exquisite craftsmanship.
WHEN: Saturday, April 14th 2018, 7:30pm
WHERE: The concert will begin in the historic 1806 Gloucester Meetinghouse (home of the Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church), corner of Church & Middle Street with parking on the green. Persons needing an elevator may enter from the 10 Church Street side entrance. The second half of the concert will be performed next door at St. John’s Episcopal Church. Additional parking is available in the St. John’s Church lot.
ADMISSION (at the door or on-line at http://www.gloucestermeetinghouse.org):
$15 College Students & Seniors (65+)
Under 17 free
hosted by the Elks, The Bridge and Pauline’s Gifts
Save the Date- just about a month away! Friday May 11, 4:30-8pm at Gloucester MA Elks Lodge #892
🇺🇸”Join us as we raise awareness for Cape Ann Veterans Services’ “Welcome Home Initiative”- a program that helps local veterans adjust to life back home. Local vendors with patriotic items and crafts. it will be as American as mom & apple pie, Stay tuned for more details and features!” 🇺🇸
I’m not alone in my love of visiting Niles Pond. Two particular things I like to check when I visit is a large stone near the edge to see what wildlife is King of the Roost for the Day:
Another favorite view is of the ocean just beyond the causeway, especially when the waves are rocking:
Looking forward to summer views!