A spunky female Hooded Merganser was seen for a day, skittering about Eastern Point. Don’t you love her cinnamon-colored feather-do? Her crest looked especially beautiful when she swam into sunlit areas.

Sightings of Hooded Mergansers nesting in Massachusetts are on the rise. Like Wood Ducks, Hooded Mergansers nest in tree cavities. The natural reforestation of Massachusetts over the past one hundred years has increased nesting habitat. And too, Hooded Mergansers have benefitted from nesting box programs designed  to encourage Wood Duck nesting.

Hoodies eat crustaceans, fish, and insects. As water quality in Massachusetts has improved so too has the prey population increased. Additionally, the statewide recovery of North American Beavers has increased nesting habitat for many species of birds, including Hooded Mergansers and Wood Ducks.

I looked for the little Hoodie on subsequent days, but only saw her that one afternoon. The photos included here, of a singular male, were taken in Rockport in 2016.

Male Hooded Merganser (and Mallard), Rockport Harbor

Watch as the one-day old Hooded Merganser ducklings skydive to the forest floor, from a nest cavity five stories high up a tree.


Hooded Mergansers, like Cowbirds, often lay their eggs in other bird’s nests, including other Hooded Mergansers. Although a female Hoodie can lay up to 13 eggs, in one nest 44 Hooded Merganser ducklings hatched!

Hooded Merganser Range Map


Lookin’ Good Mr. Swan!

Mr. Swan busking, a thing swans do to look twice as large and threatening.

Cape Ann’s beautiful blue-eyed swan is doing quite well especially considering he is at least 28 YEARS OLD. This is highly unusual for a wild Mute Swan to live that long. Mute Swans live on average eight to twelve years. In captivity, they can live up to 40 years, but our Mr. Swan hardly lives the cushy life of one of the Queen’s swans.

He is only occasionally a little gimpy on his bad leg. Mr. Swan still manages to rule most of Cape Ann’s waterways, from the Annisquam River to Rockport Harbor, and everything in between. Rock On, Mr. Swan!


Our friend and neighbor Pilar Davis, who is a creative writing middle school student, wrote the following poem for a “Where I Live” assignment. Many thanks to Pilar for sharing her beautiful, beautiful poem

I am from strings of lights

From incense and craft materials

I am from warm colors

From Ikea furniture and flower boxes

I am from hugs and kisses

I am from Thanksgivings together,

From cinnamon buns on Christmas morning


From salty hair and sandy feet

From sailboats and sunsets

I am from the treehouse in the huge maple tree

From wood and splinters

From bare feet and scrapes

From the ocean


From friends who are siblings

From a neighborhood of friends and family who love and trust

From camping in the summer and sledding in the winter

I am from Lemonade stands and quarry mornings

From running from house to house

From ”play ‘till you can’t anymore”


I am from please and thank you

From cozy rainy days with popcorn and hot chocolate

I am from “Lisa’s chocolate chip cookies” and “Grandma Davis pasta salad”

From boats and adventure


I am from art

I am from happiness and laughter

From singing my heart out and passion

From the big swing in the backyard

From fires in the fire pit


I am from beautiful and peaceful East Gloucester

The photo of Pilar was taken several years ago. She’s more grown up now, but remains the same beautiful person, inside and out.

For Lovers of Celtic Music

Kathleen Adams writes,

Music from the Misty Isles
Tuesday, November 13, 7:30pm
Gore Place, 52 Gore St., Waltham, MA

O’Carolan Etcetera (Adrienne Howard, Cindy McIntire & Dick Luecke) and singer Michael O’Leary draw from three centuries of Anglo-Celtic instrumental music and song: English dance tunes that Jane Austen would have known; Irish jigs and Scottish airs; reels that set toes a-tapping.  Laments, lullabies and love songs from across the Misty Isles.

$15 general admission, $12 members, $10 students with ID. Info & tickets:

Jim Masciarelli Writes from Naples Florida

Small world.

Every day Judi and I read the GMG blog when we are snowbirding in Naples, Fl. We love the great photos and stories that keep Gloucester in our thoughts.
I was signing books at the Naples Southwest Regional Library Saturday along with 47 local authors and a nice retired couple came by to get a copy of Beyond Beauport. They spent most of their lives in Gloucester: Frank Greely Crotti and Susan S. Crotti.

For the size of Gloucester, no matter where we go, people know it, visited it, love it and some now live here in Florida.

James Masciarelli

Live, Love & Learn
Author of Beyond Beauport


Mostly elegant, though sometimes appearing comically Pterodactylus-like, the Great Blue Heron is found in nearly every region of the United States, Mexico, and Central America, as well as the southern provinces of Canada.

Its light weight, a mere five pounds, belies the fact that the Great Blue Heron is North America’s largest heron, with a wingspan of up to six and a half feet and a height of four and a half feet. I write elegant because it truly has a grace unsurpassed when in repose or waiting to strike a fish. Images of Pterodactylus come to mind when you see the bird battling for territory with other herons or flapping about in a tree top; the Heron loses all its sophisticated exquisiteness, transformed into what looks like a great winged beast.

Pterodactylus images courtesy wiki commons media

This summer past was a tremendous year for observing herons and egrets on Cape Ann. Our marshes, ponds, and waterways were rife with Little Blue Herons, Snowy Egrets, Great Egrets, Yellow-crowned Night Herons, Black-crowned Night Herons, Green Herons, American Bitterns, and especially Great Blue Herons.

Great Blue Herons, Little Blue Herons, Snowy Egrets and Great Egrets, Cape Ann

At nearly every location Great Blue Herons were seen foraging either with a flock of mixed herons and egrets, or in a solitary manner. Great Blue Herons hunt day and night and I would often find them at daybreak. They will stand quietly for hours, repeatedly striking the water with lightning bolt swiftness, almost always resurfacing with fish or frog. Great Blue Herons are survivalists and their diet is wide ranging, including large and small fish, frogs, insects, small mammals, and even other birds. Because of its highly varied diet, the Great Blue Heron is able to spend winters further north than most other species of herons and egrets. Even when after waters freeze, we still see them on our shores well into December.

Great Blue Herons are sometimes mistakenly referred to as cranes, which they are not. Cranes are entirely different species. Bas relief at Crane Estate, Ipswich.

Don’t you think it amazing how perfectly these largest of North America’s herons meld with the surrounding landscape?

Here are some moments from this past summer and autumn observing the elusively elegant (mostly), and sometimes comical, Great Blue Heron.

Fishing – Great Blue Herons capture small fish and amphibians by plunging into water and then swallowing whole the prey. They also use their powerful bills like a dagger to spear larger fish.

Great Blue Heron Range Map


Present Gloucester Artists Jess Damargin, Amanda Cook, Britton Davis, Mary Rhinelander, Liz Gramnas, Michele Del Vecchio, and Pam Lally

Beautiful, beautiful handmade wonderments can be found at Present Gloucester. Located this year at 186 Main Street, the open, sunny space is perfect for showcasing the whimsical, and often nature-inspired, gifts. You’ll find holiday ornaments, clothing, jewelry, original prints, hats, mittens, dolls and doll clothes, tree toppers, colorful yarn, teacup-sized decor, seahorses, and much, much more. Come do your shopping at Present Gloucester and be swept into the holiday spirit with magical fancy and imagination.



Hey wait for me! – Doesn’t she look like she is running to catch a train 🙂

A flock of a dozen male and female Ruddy Ducks were recently spotted on Cape Ann, foraging at fresh water ponds and the marsh. They are really quite funny to watch as they dive for insects, other invertebrates, and aquatic plants and seeds. The males are especially fun and show-offy, animatedly puffing out their chest and fanning their feathers.

Ruddy Ducks are about the same size as Buffleheads and you will often seem them together in mixed flocks during the winter months.



Yoichi Udagawa, Music Director


A Festive Musical Celebration for

Orchestra and Chorus


The Cape Ann Symphony Chorus,

The Ipswich High School Chamber Singers &

The Manchester-Essex Regional High School Select Chorus

The Cape Ann Symphony’s Annual Holiday Pops Concert, kicks off the holiday season on Saturday, November 24 at 2 pm at the Dolan Performing Arts Center at Ipswich High School on 134 High Street, Ipswich, MA; Saturday, November 24 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, November 25 at 2 pm at Manchester-Essex High School auditorium on 36 Lincoln Street in Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA with a joyful program of music from Strauss, Anderson, Mozart, Waldteufel, Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky and many others.  The 2018 Holiday Pops concert led by CAS Conductor and Music Director Yoichi Udagawa features the return of the Cape Ann Symphony Chorus under the direction of Rockport’s Wendy Betts; the CAS debut of Ipswich High School Chamber Singers and the Manchester-Essex Regional High School Select Chorus; as well as the conducting debut of CAS’s inaugural Conducting Fellow Ipswich’s Michael Coelho. A holiday tradition, the Cape Ann Symphony Holiday Pops Concerts regularly sell out. According to Cape Ann Symphony Board President Magnolia’s Fran White, “Last year’s Holiday Pops Concerts were complete sell outs so this year we added a third performance in our new performance venue in Ipswich. This year the Sunday November 25 matinee in Manchester has already sold out, but we still have tickets available for the matinee in Ipswich and the evening concert in Manchester. This is such an exciting year with the special guests from Ipswich, Manchester and Essex making their CAS debut and joining the orchestra and the Cape Ann Symphony Chorus on the stage. I would suggest getting tickets to the remaining concerts on Saturday afternoon in Ipswich and Saturday night in Manchester soon!” The Cape Ann Symphony Chorus and Orchestra joined by the Ipswich High School Chamber Singers on Saturday, November 24 at 2 pm at the Dolan Performing Arts Center at Ipswich High School on 134 High Street, Ipswich, MA; and joined by the Manchester-Essex Regional High School Select Chorus on Saturday, November 24 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, November 25 at 2 pm at Manchester-Essex High School auditorium on 36 Lincoln Street in Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA  perform a wide selection of holiday favorites ending the festive concerts with the annual audience sing-along. Single ticket prices are $43 for adults, $38 for senior citizens, $15 for Students of any age; $5 for youth 12 years old and under. For tickets and information, call 978-281-0543 or visit

Cape Ann Symphony Conductor and Music Director Yoichi Udagawa is looking forward to this year’s Holiday Pops Concert, “



Sending much love and all our prayers to Judy, Marissa, Alexis and all the Junkers for the loss of their beloved husband and grandfather.

Henry “Hank” Juncker III

October 06, 1933 – October 11, 2018

Gloucester, MA – Henry Juncker, III, 85, beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, passed away on Thursday, October 11, at the Wolfeboro Bay Center, in Wolfeboro, N.H.
He was born in the Bronx, New York City, N.Y. to the late Henry Juncker, Jr. and Elna (Christensen) Juncker. Hank attended New York Public schools, graduating from Stuyvesant High School, and then studied at Brown University on a NROTC scholarship. It was there that he met his future wife Judy, a student at Pembroke College; they would marry in 1958.
Upon graduation from Brown in 1955, Ensign Juncker (USNR) deployed for cruises in the Mediterranean and Caribbean Seas, serving on the ammunition ship USS Great Sitkin (AE-17) as a gunnery and deck officer. He was honorably discharged from active service in 1957, with the rank of LT. (j.g.), and continued in reserve service thru 1960.
Following his service, Henry pursued graduate studies at Columbia University, earning a master’s degree in Education. His first teaching position was at Lakeland High School in upstate New York, where he and Judy discovered they missed the ocean, so he applied for several positions closer to the coast. He eventually interviewed with Paul Walsh from Marblehead Public Schools, who hired him to teach in Marblehead, Mass., where he would serve in multiple roles for 50+ years. Henry retired in 2014 as a highly respected educator, teaching and mentoring students and younger colleagues alike.
Henry was an active member of the Annisquam Village Church, serving many years as clerk, teaching Sunday school, and singing in the choir. He was also a long time member of the Chorus North Shore.
Hank is survived by his wife of 60 years, Judith, and the family was blessed earlier this summer to have been able to celebrate that union while he was still well. He is also survived by three children (Kristian, Sr. and his wife Cindy; Deene and his wife Jennifer Jensen; Betsy and her husband Karl Bujold); six grandchildren (Kristian, Jr. and his wife Jessica; Courtney Tranos; Arrienne Andrus and her husband Sean; Erik and his wife Vicki; Alexis DiGregorio; Marisa DiGregorio), and six great-grandchildren (Michael Johnson; Christopher Tranos Jr; Elias Tranos; Declan Andrus; Keelin Andrus; Claire Juncker). In addition, Henry is survived by his younger sister Elna Hickson and her husband Lloyd of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.In keeping with his wishes there is no funeral, but all are invited to a celebration of Henry’s life at 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 17 at the Annisquam Village Church, 820 Washington St, in Gloucester. Family and friends are cordially invited to a reception at the Annisquam Village Hall directly after the service.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in his memory to Marblehead Dollars for Scholars, PO Box 4, Marblehead, MA 01945.


Thanksgiving Bulk Pick-up

Need to round out your pantry as we head into the holiday season? We would like to offer an opportunity for bulk ordering on some produce this week.
Pick up will be between 3PM and 6PM on Thursday, November 15th. If you can not make this date let me know and we can work something out.
How to Order: Simply reply to this email listing what you would like by 5PM on Tuesday, November 13th. I will confirm your order. Email address:– Cedar Rock Vegetable  Ordering Options – 
Enjoy our wholesale prices by ordering in bulk!
Open to everyone—please feel free to spread the word!

We are doing a special “Thanksgiving Basket” that includes an assortment of items for your favorite Thanksgiving dinner ever.

This basket includes: 5# Carrots, 5# Mashing potatoes, 1 Head of cabbage, 2.5# Parsnips, 1 Butternut Squash, 1 mixed herb bundle, 1# cut lettuce, 1 Stalk Brussles Sprouts, 4# Leeks, 2 Heads Garlic, and 1# Shallots – All for $62.50

Or, you can make your own combos with all the deliciousness below!

Orange Carrots – 5lb bag, $10 -or- 10lb bag, $18
Rainbow Carrots – 5LB bag, $12
Brussels Sprouts! – 2 stalks, $12
Butternut – 20lb box, $20
Squash Mix: carnival acorns, kabocha & honeynuts – 20lb box, $30
Potato, Roaster: Red pinto – 5lb, $12
Potato, All Purpose Masher mix, white/Yellow – 5lb, $8
Beet Mix, red & gold – 5lb bag, $10
Parsnips – 5lb bag, $12
Garlic – 1lb bag, $8
Shallots – 2lb bag, $10
Leeks – 4lb bag, $10
Cabbage mix (red and green) – 10lbs, $10
Celeriac – 3lbs, $8
Chic Mix: pan di zucchero & radicchio chicories – 5lbs, $10
Fennel – 3 large bulbs, $10
Grains, fresh-milled, Hard Red Wheat, Pastry Wheat –or– Rye – 5lb bag, $10
Herb bundle: Parsley, Thyme, Sage – 1 pack, $6

We wish you all well and a very healthy and cozy holiday season.


All the best.
Your farmers,
Elise and Tucker Smith
Cedar Rock Gardens

“Climate Change, Capitalism, and The Worldwide Symbiote” by Gloucester High Student Willa Brosnihan

The Gillnetter

The student news site of Gloucester High School in Gloucester, MA


I am not a tree hugger. I do not always remember to switch off the lights when I leave the room, and sometimes I turn the heat up too high in the winter. I don’t spend my days saving injured birds or picking up trash off the beach. But after the climate report issued by the International Panel on Climate Change, I started to feel guilty about how little I’ve been doing.

The report said that the highest temperature increase that the planet can safely reach in comparison to pre-industrial global temperatures is 1.5 degrees Celsius. In 2017, NASA placed us at a .9 degree Celsius increase, and according to the IPCC report, we are expected to reach that 1.5 degrees “between 2030 and 2052.”

The effect of this change to our planet’s climate would be catastrophic. Sea level rise from melting ice caps would worsen the flooding caused by the increasing numbers of hurricanes, typhoons, and blizzards that could be expected. Arid regions and land already damaged by deforestation would become completely un-farmable. Poor communities would be the most drastically and immediately affected.

Here on the coast, where our high school parking lot already fills with ocean water after a big storm, we should be worrying about what our little city will look like for our children and grandchildren.



Late afternoon after last week’s nor-easter, I drove along the backshore to check out the waves. The breakers were only mildly dramatic but what caught my attention were the ribbons and ribbons of migrating birds flying over Twin Lights, heading toward the backshore. They just kept coming and coming and I think they may have been waiting out the storm before setting out on their night time journey. I followed them along the shore and past Eastern Point Lighthouse before losing sight of the travelers as they were crossing Massachusetts Bay and heading towards Boston.


Will the winter of 2018-2019 bring another Snowy Owl Snowstorm similar to the irruption of 2017-2018? It is too soon in the season to know. They have been trickling in, but Snowy Owls typically begin to move southward in greater numbers in mid- to late-November.

The Snowy spotted today is a male, with a beautiful nearly pure white face and neck. Although off in the distance, he appeared to be in good health, with plushy full set of feathers, big furry feet, and tell-tale pinkish hue smudged around his beak (hopefully from a recent catch). He was quietly nodding off until suddenly disturbed by someone approaching too closely. He swooped across the landscape and away from the onlooker to a more remote location, and was hopefully left undisturbed for the remainder of the day.

Grooming and dozing off amongst the tall grasses and dried wildflowers

On high alert and then flushing after sudden disturbance.


Notice the sparrow’s pointy-shaped head, but where is the white crown on these White-crowned Sparrows you may be wondering? The flock currently migrating on Eastern Point is comprised mostly of sparrows in their first-hatch year. They won’t develop white crowns until next year. White-crowned Sparrows are a relatively large sparrow, with long tails, and a cute little hop they do while foraging.

White-crowned Sparrows are passing through, having departed from their breeding grounds in Alaska and Canada and heading to parts further south of Cape Ann, in the US and Mexico.

White-crowned Sparrow adult, photographed in Gloucester in May of 2017


The song of the White-crowned Sparrow is one of the most widely studied sounds in all of animal behavior.The beautiful whistling notes of the male can be heard far an wide, especially during the spring and summer months. The female rarely sings.  
Range map of the White-crowned Sparrow