My friend Lauren Mercadante from Manchester stopped by today to volunteer with the Piping Plovers and we added twenty signs on the posts surrounding the roped off area at boardwalk #3.
We had a new group of Piping Plover travelers fly in overnight, earlier in the week, but since that one-day stopover, where they rested and foraged at the nesting area around boardwalk #1, the travelers have not since been seen. If we see evidence of PiPl tracks at #1, we can add more signs there, too.
There has been tremendous criticism regarding signage. The signs that Greenbelt posted at Good Harbor Beach are similar in size and scope of information to signs used up and down the East Coast, and on the West Coast, too, for Snowy Plovers, a similarly threatened species. I especially like the first one and the second sign in the gallery and would like to design one for our Good Harbor Beach similar to one of these.
Kind folks have suggested adding banners to the posts, which I am afraid would only serve to attract gulls and crows, and would also disturb the PiPl. More kind folks have suggested fencing. I think that conservationists don’t use dune fencing for several reason. The adults (and chicks) need to run freely to and from the water’s edge to forage, the fencing would be disruptive to install, in our case, part of the fencing would need to be in the tidal zone and would easily be damaged during high tides, and because it would trap small predatory mammals within.
Regardless of whether or not we have adequate signs, we find ourselves in the struggle of Dog Owner versus Piping Plover. It’s partly because the Plovers have arrived a full month earlier than in previous years. In 2016 and 2017, they arrived at Good Harbor Beach when the beaches are closed to dogs for the season, on May 15th, and May 3rd, respectively. This year, the PiPl arrived on April 3rd. I know this for certain because this spring I had been checking everyday since mid-March.
There are many, many dog owners who are keeping their dogs leashed when at Good Harbor Beach and many who are walking their dogs at alternative locations during this last week in April. We should all be grateful and appreciative to these friends of the PiPl, I know I sure am!
The struggle of Dog Owner versus Plover is not simply an issue at this time of year, with dogs off leash during the month of April, but is consistently challenging throughout the summer during the entire nesting season. Yes, there are folks from out of town who aren’t familiar with our no dogs on the beach between May 1st through October 1st ordinance, but the folks who most frequently ignore our ordinances are people who live here and are aware of the rules. This is especially apparent in the early hours of the morning and after five, when people know there are few enforcers on duty at those times of day.
Another threat to Piping Plovers, again created by humans, are people that leave their trash on the beach. Good Harbor Beach looks pristine and incredibly beautiful after the tremendous job done by the Clean City Commission’s Great Gloucester Cleanup volunteers. Daily there are typically only a handful of crows and gulls. Soon that will change. People will leave their trash on the beach, which attracts a plethora of hungry gulls and crows, which eat baby chicks.
Piping Plovers face many other threats including fox and coyotes that forage on eggs, large predatory birds such as Great Horned Owls, plastic pollution, loss of habitat, and rising sea level. But the two threats that are under our immediate ability to manage are preventing dogs and people from disturbing the nesting sites, and keeping the beaches super clean of trash.
Crows in the PiPl nesting area, fighting over chicken bones left on the beach, 2017.
Many North Shore beaches that find themselves home to the Piping Plovers are also under the management of federal and state organizations. Plum Island is a US Fish and Wildlife Refuge, Nahant and Revere Beaches are managed by DCR, and Crane Beach is managed by the Trustees of Reservations.
Gloucester has none of the daily oversight and funds provided by federal and state organizations. The Piping Plovers need our help and so it is up to we citizens of Gloucester and Cape Ann to do all we can.
Piping Plovers are facing extinction. There are approximately only one thousand five hundred breeding pairs in the world, and that simply isn’t enough to sustain the population, especially since the rate of fledging has recently dropped precipitously. Conservationists hope to raise the number to at least two thousand five hundred pairs, and the bird will not be taken off the threatened species list until that time.
The early arrival of the Piping Plover this year signals a success of sorts. The pair successfully fledged one chick last summer, which is better than the current overall Massachusetts state average of .6. The birds are maturing and finding their way more easily to GHB.
This year, there simply wasn’t enough time to change the dog ordinances, which as they are currently written, allow dogs off leash fifteen days out of the month of April. Because the leash ordinances at this time allow dogs off leash, the only way we are going to help the Plovers is if we work together as a community, to help each other understand what is happening with the PiPl, and do all we can to protect this tiniest of shorebirds on the busiest of our beaches.The Lonely Bachelor
Amanda Maderia, director of education programs at Maritime Gloucester writes, “Confirming Iain’s comments about believing the whales seen off our coast are likely Right Whales: We have observed some incredible plankton tows the last two days. From a few passes from our docks with our net, the sample has looked pretty clear most of the winter, but as you can see from yesterday’s sample, it looks almost blood red thick with Calenoid copepods, a huge food source for the North Atlantic Right Whale.
The most distinctive characters of the slime eel, its eel-like form, snub nose, long dorsal fin, and soft and slimy body.
From Fishes of the Gulf of Maine by Bigelow and Schroeder (1953) online courtesy of MBL/WHOI http://www.gma.org/fogm/Simenchelys_parasiticus.htm
This true slime eel is not the same as hagfish (described in yesterday’s post). Hagfish have since earned the nameslime eel. “Being worthless itself, the hag is an unmitigated nuisance, and a particularly loathsome one owing to its habit of pouring out slime from its mucous sacs in quantity out of all proportion to its small size. One hag, it is said, can easily fill a 2-gallon bucket, nor do we think this any exaggeration.” (1953) Hagfish, thanks to a market in Korea, are no longer worthless.
I don’t mind eels
Except as meals.
And the way they feels.
Ogden Nash (1902-1971) [photo from US postage stamp]
Harvard Magazine, May-June 2018, “Gloucester’s Beauport Mansion” by Nell Porter Brown is well done, sprinkled with quotes from site manager Martha Van Koevering, and with special upcoming tour announcements for the season at this Historic New England property, 75 Eastern Point Blvd, Gloucester, Mass., open May 26-October 13. Beauport was designed by Henry Davis Sleeper and executed by and with architect Halfdan Hanson. One must go and go again to Beauport!
“Sleeper’s brother inherited Beauport, but couldn’t afford to keep it. In 1935, the conservation-minded Helena Woolworth McCann, heir to the Woolworth department store chain, bought the mansion and preserved it virtually as Sleeper had left it. The McCann family spent several years summering there, but by 1941 both she and her husband had died. Their children, knowing their mother’s wish that Beauport be preserved as a house museum, donated it to Historic New England with the caveat that they could stay there whenever they wanted. One of them often did, into the 1970s, amicably closing the door to her quarters in the “Red Indian” room when tours came through. And therein lies much of Beauport’s appeal. It’s not…”
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We all know that spring does come back. After a long cold winter signs of spring are here. The Annisquam Exchange will be opening May 18, 2018.
Magnolia Library and Community Center
1 Lexington Avenue
Magnolia, Gloucester, MA 01930
Friday, May 4, 2018
6:00 – 9:00
It’s free and simple to participate in National Poem in Your Pocket Day. From Mayor Romeo-Theken:
“I’ve selected a poem by former poet laureate, Ruthanne “Rufus” Collinson, “Jumping In”. The view from my City Hall office is the building Collinson writes about, and the poem’s span of time and special moments –celebrating kids, seniors, connections and kindness– are music to read.”- Mayor Romeo-Theken, Gloucester, MA
I was 12 years old
of the life within life,
writing plays and poems,
clumsy beyond description
when I arrived at Central Grammar School,
to a daily journey over the bridge,
learning about the universe of Gloucester
from my new friends,
learning art and history and language
from my new teachers.
What I will never forget
is the lesson I learned from the kind eighth grade girls
on the playground.
In elementary school, I fell down everyday at recess,
playing jump rope, trying to jump in.
My new friends at Central Grammar
taught me to look up,
to wait until the rope swung high,
to wait for the thin shimmering line
to reach its highest arc,
to enter then
and begin to keep the rhythm.
And here I am today.
The school has become a residence for the elders
and, once again,
I am learning to jump in
-RUTHANNE “RUFUS” COLLINSON
Reminder- kids poetry contest is closing soon. Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Libraray childrens services Poetry Without Paper 2018 contest And send them to the Mayor’s office– she promises to read them!
40 Railroad Avenue
Gloucester, MA 01930
Today feels like a good day for one of our favorite recipes…Pearl Barley with Roasted Squash, Pomegranate, and Pistachios. Phew – that is a mouthful
3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
1 cup pearl barley
1 1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch x 1-inch chunks (4 cups)
1 small sweet onion, peeled and finely diced (1 cup)
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 Tbs. finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/3 cup roasted pistachios
1. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add barley, and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until slightly toasted. Pour in 2 1/4 cups water, and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 45 to 55 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and grains are cooked. (If barley is not completely cooked, add a little more water and continue simmering until tender.)…
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It’s free and simple to participate. Carry a Poem. Share a Poem.
John Ronan, a poet, playwright, journalist and a National Endowment for the
Arts Fellow in Literature, shares two sonnets: “The Parlor” and “The Lesson.” And the very short, “Arrowhead.”
The bifacial point, found in a potato
field in Maine, is still sharp,
a Micmac weapon or crafted heart
knapped from the whole cloth of stone.
Flint’s a slap in the face, elegist
relic only as long as you look.
Says: crow shadow and opaque.
Adds: I will exist without witness.
-John J. Ronan
John Ronan served as Gloucester’s Poet Laureate 2008-2010, maintaining the website resource dedicated to Gloucester poets, Gloucester Poet Laureate, and producing Salt and Light: An Anthology of Gloucester Poetry, published spring 2010. He is the host of the Cape Ann TV (now 1623 studios) program, The Writer’s Block. His most recent anthology is Taking the Train of Singularity South from Midtown. He read “We, Helsmen” at Mayor Romeo Theken’s 2018 Inauguration. Ronan helped to establish Poetry without Paper; the 12th annual deadline for this beloved annual tradition is approaching. Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Libraray childrens services Poetry Without Paper 2018 contest
Empty Bowl Dinner 2018
6 Rowe Square
Thursday, May 3
4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Join them for an evening of food and hospitality.
The meal is simple—soup, bread and a cookie. Guests can choose and keep a soup bowl handcrafted for this community event. The bowl goes home as an unspoken reminder that somewhere someone’s bowl is empty.
Extra parking is available at Harbor Beach with complimentary trolley service to and from the event site.
Tickets available at the door. $20 for adults and $15 for children under ten.
Empty Bowl events are held nationally to generate awareness concerning hunger and to raise money for local hunger-relief programs. Proceeds from this event will benefit The Open Door Summer Meals and Mobile Market programs.
Pick #1: Gloucester Pride Stride
The Directors of Gloucester Pride Stride are committed to the residents of Cape Ann to assist non-profits and community groups in their fundraising efforts.
All members of the community are invited to get involved by choosing and walking in support of a local non-profit or community/school group. Tax-deductible pledge donations are collected by each walker in advance of the walk using the pledge sheet or online giving system.
The 2 mile walk begins and ends at Gloucester’s iconic Stage Fort Park at noon on Sunday, April 29, 2018. Donation checks are then disbursed to all non-profits and groups at the Awards Party in June 2018 (exact date/location TBA).
In addition, Gloucester Pride Stride awards two annual scholarships, the Lynne “Lani” Vachon Memorial Scholarship and the Gloucester Pride Stride Scholarship to two individual Cape Ann graduating seniors.
Pick #2: Build a Lighthouse
An Essex Heritage event at NPS Visitor Center in Salem.
Essex Heritage invites visitors (ages 4+) to come and build their very own model lighthouse using every day materials! Special guest instructor and children’s book illustrator, Katy Bratun, will be leading this family friendly craft starting at 1:00 pm at the National Park Serice Visitor Center in Salem. This event is FREE and all craft materials will be provided.
Since 2014, Essex Heritage has been taking visitors to see the lighthouse on Bakers Island, but now we want you to your hand at building one!
*Pre-registration strongly suggested for this FREE event!
Pick #3: Art in Bloom at the MFA
What a wonderful way to spend a beautiful spring day with your family.
Celebrate the return of spring with Art in Bloom, the Museum’s annual festival of fine art and flowers.
Enjoy exquisite art from across the MFA’s collection paired with magnificent floral interpretations created by New England-area garden clubs. Professional designers delight with creative designs in Museum entrances and walkways.
Art in Bloom launches with an Evening Preview of freshly installed arrangements on Friday, April 27, from 5 to 10 pm. Daily events include tours of flower arrangements throughout the galleries; demonstrations of floral arranging for your home; casual dining among masterpieces; and outdoor walking tours. Browse the new MFA Art in Bloom Market and expanded Garden Cart for unique gifts and treasures.
The popular Member Night is Saturday, April 28, and Community Day with children’s activities is Sunday, April 29. Free Ikebana demonstrations on Saturday from 3 to 4 pm in Remis Auditorium.
As always, for a comprehensive list of family activities, please visit our friends at North Shore Kid.
Spring’s late arrival this year put my mind back to the previous “shoulder season”, fall 2017 and I realize how much has changed around town since then especially at the beaches. Fall was very nice this year and brings some sweet memories.
It was monarchs before it was Snowy Owls
The boardwalks and the footbridge hadn’t been beaten up by the vicious storms yet:
Trees were still standing and holding tight awaiting harvest done by hand and not by wind
AHHH. Sweet memories only 6 months old.
A Creative Workshop
Friday April 27
Bring your own wine or beer
Spend a relaxed evening with friends and
artists creating collage and art that expresses our inner heart.
Simple Directions • Beautiful Papers • Instruction Provided
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DEA NATIONAL TAKE BACK DAY:
April 28th, 10:00am-1:00pm, Rose Baker Senior Center
HEALTHY GLOUCESTER COLLABORATIVE (HGC), GLOUCESTER HEALTH DEPT AND GLOUCESTER POLICE DEPT TO HOLD DRUG DISPOSAL EVENT
Gloucester, MA– The DEA recently announced that the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, Saturday, April 28th. As with the previous Take-Back events, sites will be set up throughout communities nationwide so local residents can return their unwanted, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs for safe disposal.
HGC once again has coordinated the local Gloucester Drug Take Back at the Rose Baker Senior Center from 10:00am – 1:00pm. Help us get more prescription drugs off the streets and disposed of properly.
This National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Many Americans are not aware that medicines in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Studies show that many…
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