Author Archives: Paul T Morrison & RD

Sunday Morning Rockport Girl Butterflies just wanna have fun

For over ten years I’ve been checking out the milkweed in the neighborhood and our yard. Untouched leaves, not a nibble, no eggs, no chrysalis, nothing. Butterflies galore but no interest in the milkweed, just the flowers.

Drinking the nectar, no interest in making babies. All scratched up. Definitely partying all night long.

Stella is also amazed at the Rockport Right of Way elves who must come out at midnight to clear the Atlantic Paths.

In Gloucester: Fireworks. Rockport: We light the outhouse on fire.

Small dragon comes out of the outhouse. Becomes much bigger and rids Rockport of arm hair.

Even from this distance, this bonfire is making Rubber Duck cry propylene tears

Everyone who used to be closer now has no hair on their arms. That is when you move back.

Father’s Day Morning bike ride Plus PSA

I call this “Skip’s Tree” since he takes the best photos predawn right here. End of ride so I’m an hour late. (And I run into Skip under the Keystone Bridge ten minutes later with his camera out.)

PSA (Public Service Announcement) Road Race today. Just don’t get in your car. It’s not worth it.

Quarries are lovely in the morning.

Father’s Day gift. I am designating myself President and Treasurer of the Cape Ann Electrical Bicycle Association. Email me your application for membership to CAEBA.

Eastern Coyote talk tonight, Rockport Library 6:30 PM

Eastern Coyote talks Thursday, (that’s tonight), Rockport Library 6:30 PM.

Please join us for an informative presentation and discussion regarding the Eastern Coyote facilitated by Conservation Biologist and Wild Canid Ecologist Christine Schadler, MS, MA.

While wolf recovery was the focus of her early work, Chris’ attention shifted to the eastern coyote when she moved to New England. Using sound livestock management and non-lethal predator control, she prevented predation for two decades at a sheep farm with known coyote problems. Chris has provided talks to livestock growers and the general public for 30 years on living with coyotes.

Chris is now the Representative for Project Coyote in NH and VT and co-founder of the New Hampshire Wildlife Coalition. She divides her time between teaching, giving talks, and working on her book Becoming Wolf: The Eastern Coyote in New England. Between presentations, she can be found at camp in northern New Hampshire researching coyote feeding patterns and responding to the occasional wolf. She is also the Chair of the Webster Conservation Commission.

Chris earned her MS at Antioch University Graduate School. She has taught Conservation Issues, Dendrology, and Wolf Ecology at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), and is now an Adjunct Professor at Rivier University.

Brought to you by the Friends of the Rockport Public Library

Bill Lee can find Fenway again

In 1969 Bill “Spaceman” Lee found Fenway Park on Jersey Street. They changed the name of the street and the gerbil traded him to Montreal for Stan Papi and a bag of balls. On the back of Fenway Park someone wrote the question, “WHO THE HELL IS STAN PAPI?” and the Red Sox quickly erased it. There were a few of us that kept writing it back on the wall until Zimmer gave up and ran off to New York.

Fenway Park is on Jersey Street again and no one died.

Oh wait. Something did die. No one could find the Jersey Laundry for awesome cheap fluff and fold because Jersey Street was only 15 feet long. R.I.P. Jersey Laundry Center. Too late for you.

Fun fact: Before GPS it was handy to memorize Street names to get around Boston.
The alphabet is whole again.


Yawn, Another Sunset on Cape Ann: Wednesday May 3, 2018

But it was 72 degrees Fahrenheit, no wind, no bugs, no mosquitoes, the asparagus just popped out of the ground, summer is stretched out in front of us, and the Ryan and Wood Knockabout Gin in my glass is ice cold.

Like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day describing the one day in his life he would like to repeat over and over, this one. And maybe today too.



Chinese Space Station; Size of School Bus to Crash at Halibut Point 10AM Easter Sunday

Saturday night we should have a Space Station Crash party at Lat 42. Because of the flight path of Tiangong-1, the Space Station which is as large as a regular sized School Bus and Saturday night is included in the 16-hour window of the tumbling fireball’s reentry.
Why Lat 42? Because Lat 42 goes straight through Cape Ann and the Space Station hangs out at that latitude more often than anywhere on earth except for south latitude 42 which is Tasmania. Those devils are throwing a party. So should we.

The exact most northerly position for tumbling school bus is 42.7 north. That is the grout pile centered inside Halibut Point. It will fly straight west to east over the Point 90 minutes before returning to explode over the park spreading flaming debris over miles. 10 AM Easter Sunday is the epicenter of the impact window.


Tumbling Flight path of Tiangong-1 Space Station spends a lot of time at latitude 42.7

[edit] It has been pointed out that the Restaurant is called Lat 43. I will be starting a petition next week to force them to change the name to Lat 42 since Gloucester is latitude 42.6 North. Rounding up is no excuse. Move your restaurant to Isle of Shoals if you want to call yourself Lat 43.

[edit Frid 6:15 PM) 41 hours left. The window has tightened up to eleven hours.

[edit] Update Mar31 8AM. Cape Ann is now out of the range of possible crash sites. Gilette Stadium, Cape Cod, Camp David, and Florida still has a chance of Heavenly Palace falling out of the sky in an inferno of space debris.

Behold: The Perfect Donut

Instead of once a week I’ve been hitting the Brothers Brew Coffee Shop more frequently. My favorite donut, the Butternut Crunch was not running out by 9AM anymore. I figured maybe everyone is on a diet but since my 11 AM purchased Butternut Crunch was fresh and warm I realized that they are just making more of them since I moved to town.

Today, after having a Butternut Crunch yesterday I thought I should slow the pace down and I accidentally stumbled upon the perfect donut. There are some very good fresh donut shops on Cape Ann but hear me out. Or just look at it:

The Butternut Crunch, Chocolate, and Glaze Trifecta. Eat them in that order. Trust me.

Brothers Brew is known for their bacon donut. A donut with a big piece of bacon on top. Rubber Duck reviewed that for Good morning Gloucester several years ago. An excellent donut but not one you can pack away every day unless you want to do a Shamoo the Whale act in Sandy Bay. But the threeway can be your daily go-to donut if you bring two friends.

The lecture on Coywolves last night.

The City of Gloucester Animal Advisory Committee hosted an informative presentation on the Coywolf last night at The Cultural Center at Rocky Neck. Dr. Jonathan Way who is an expert on the habits of the Coywolf spoke for 90 minutes with a lively question and answer period which had to be cut off so we could go to work today.

As a real review, I’ll do that later since there is a lot to unpack. Jon said up front to hold your questions to the end but I knew I was not the only one busting a gut holding back my questions on such a fascinating topic. For now, I will just list a few take-home bullet points of things that were news to me.

• The coywolf is relatively new to the area but it is not an invader, not an invasive species. No one parachuted these coywolves into the east. They migrated naturally from the west to fill the niche vacated by the exterminated wolves. (Blame that on the pilgrims.) If coywolves are an invasive species then virtually every mammal on the planet including man is an invasive species.

• The coywolf wants to have nothing to do with humans. They also want nothing to do with dogs. They fear both. If you think they are stalking you and your dog it is likely because they perceive you as a threat to their puppies and are tracking you to make sure you are heading away from their puppies. Once you have moved far enough away, they will double back to protect the den.

• This bullet point was a shock: Given the size of Cape Ann it is likely that there is one pack on the island. WTF? How can that be? Coywolves cover a lot of territory each night. More on this later.

• Evidence shows that killing an adult in a pack can easily make the pack split and double in size. So shooting one might not be the wisest policy unless you want more coywolves.

•This last bullet point is the biggest. Do not feed the coywolves. There are plenty of mice, rabbits, voles, bugs, to eat. If you think you are helping them you are dead wrong. You are habituating the coywolf to humans and they will likely become a nuisance and have to be shot. Just don’t do it. Do not leave dog food outside. Make sure your bird feeders are not feeding them, don’t leave garbage out.

•• If you know a neighbor who is feeding them. Report them to the police, to the animal control officer, shame them on “Because Gloucester” Facebook page. Make sure they stop.

•• If you see a photographer who wants a photo of a coywolf putting food out to attract them, report them. Bang pots, make them stop. Shaming on “Because Gloucester” as a last resort.

A science observation: Jon described mitochondrial sequencing, Y chromosome sequencing, using SNP panels, all to figure out what is going on with this animal. From these data it is shown that our local coywolf is 30% wolf, 10% domestic dog, and 60% coyote. The cool thing is that whole-genome sequencing of these animals is right around the corner. That is what I do in my day job. Just five years ago I spent $15,000 to sequence one human genome. I can do it today for $1,200. Still a little pricey but that number will continue to drop and we will know a lot more as to how these animals are evolving. Because they are evolving. Each year, traits are selected for. If this new animal can avoid cars, mate successfully, know how to opportunistically hunt new types of food (coywolves are very good at eating what is available, rabbits, voles, cats), they give birth to smarter animals who fill the niche better. A coywolf who is hit by a car, cannot find a mate, or cannot find food, will not be passing on their genes. We are witnessing Darwinian evolution in real time. These animals are no longer coyotes. They have different behavioral patterns and phenotypes. They are not wolves either and they sure are not domestic dogs. They are a new species, canis oriens, which has stabilized. It is not comingling with actual coyotes, wolves or dogs, they treat all three as threats.

Shoot, I was going to keep this one short. So here is a picture of some coywolves that will be giving birth on Cape Ann around the beginning of April.

[Additional edit 2/28] I have received a bunch of email and messages about the number of packs on Cape Ann. My response and likely Jon’s response: No idea. Anecdotal evidence is dicey. The same three coywolves could walk the perimeter of their terrain every evening and every morning through the same 23 backyards. Would that be reported as 23 packs? An exaggeration for sure but they do lay out tracks that are many miles long. They are looking for something to eat, avoiding people and dogs, but also marking their pack domain to ward off other coywolves. Since Cape Ann is an island with only three leaks (coywolves love to walk the tracks) the pack size might be peculiar. The only way to find out is putting a radio collar on a couple of them. Except Mass Wildlife will not allow that. (long story.)

Is there one pack? Two? Has one coywolf been killed so the pack breaks into two and multiples? No way of knowing without data. From Jon’s experience of pack size on Cape Cod, there may be only one pack. But Cape Ann is known to be the more awesome Cape so Cape Cod data might be irrelevant here. 🙂

Go to this website here to find out why Jon has suggested a new name, canis oriens, for the animal that is living with us on Cape Ann.

Eastern Coyote (Coywolf) Ecology & Behavior Talk Tonight 7:00PM

The City of Gloucester Animal Advisory Committee is hosting an informative presentation on the Coywolf tonight, 7:00-8:30PM in The Cultural Center at Rocky Neck. Dr. Jonathan Way is an expert on the habits of the Coywolf.

Go to this website here to find out why he has suggested a new name, canis oriens, for the animal that is living with us on Cape Ann.

Got a high five from Jim Cantore

He saw the name on the side of the tow truck, “Tally’s Hookers” and he did a SMDH.

Oh, if you are parked on T-Wharf in Rockport you might want to move your car. Or give Tally a call and negotiate. Looks like they took a pass on these last few that were lifting up. How do you get a chain on a floater?

This … may get wetter later.

1/1/2018 4:14 PM Super Moon Rise

Today at 4:14 PM the Super Moon will rise on Cape Ann into screamingly clear skies except for the sea smoke blowing away from the coast. Anywhere you can get a look at the ocean horizon to the ENE and you can watch it rise.

But if you really want to see awesome Super Moon I suggest two locations. The upper level of Granite Pier in Rockport or Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester because then you either have the Rockport Breakwater or Thacher Island as back drops.

But if you are into it you want to know to the second and your phone clock can give you precise time so:

Granite Pier Rockport moon rise: 4:14:14 PM

Good Harbor Gloucester moon rise: 4:14:26 PM

You will notice those are to the second. Things that might change it by a few seconds: Warm air steaming off the ocean might bend the light around the horizon speeding the appearance of that first glimmer of the moon. The sea smoke might mask moon rise by several seconds maybe even a minute. If you are on Good Harbor Beach the moon is going to rise right behind the North Tower of Thacher. If the island blocks moonrise this might delay it by several seconds.

4:14 PM and 14 seconds. End of upper level of granite pier the moon will rise just to the left end of the breakwater.

4:14 PM and 26 seconds the moon will rise behind the North Tower of Thacher Island. (The left one) is standing on Good Harbor Beach.

You can also go to the website here at and find your favorite spot. Just pick up the marker and move it around. If you are planning on a shot from Good Harbor Beach I suggest going to the website and zoom in and out to see how Salt Island and the shore can get in the way depending on where you are. Back shore is also good because the moon will be to the right and clear of Thacher Island.

You can go to these spots and marvel at my amazing powers of prediction or you can take a photo and post it on the Good Morning Gloucester Facebook Page.

1/1/18 Sunrise at 07:12:49 AM

Forty-nine seconds after 7:12 AM today, sunrise occurred for the first time on Cape Ann in twenty-eighteen.

Stella: “No really, I’ll pinch a loaf in the backyard and you let me back in. Go take a photo of sunrise and I’ll go in the kitchen and pee on the floor, thanks.”

Outside for ten minutes. My gloves were off for twenty seconds and they are still stiff 30 minutes later. The sea smoke is hard to capture since it looks like far away clouds but most of the photo is steaming right off the hot 39 F Gulf of Maine.

Christmas Eve Sunrise, Chapins Gully, 7:10:55 AM

About five minutes before sunrise.

How hard is it to know exactly to the second when the sunrise occurs? You would think one click on the internet would do it but a few things make it slightly harder. The calculation has to know exactly where you are on earth. It also needs to know your elevation and the elevation of the horizon. All three are pretty easy here on Cape Ann. You don’t have to be within the foot, just a decent guess.

So if I am standing about 30 feet above the water and the sunrise is on the water, boom, 2/3rds done. Then you go to Sunrise Tools at this website and do some clicking. You can have a free account so once you have your favorite locations saved it’s easy.

Today, the sunrise was at 7:10:55 AM and tomorrow it will be 22 seconds later at 07:11:17 AM. Most internet calculators will round that off so that both happen at 7:11 AM. But if you want to see the green flash in the morning you need precision to the second.

That way I could figure out that my phone died precisely eleven seconds before sunrise.

Sunrise tools

The Alison Carol pulling in with a load of Christmas Lobsters

The Alison Carol and Pete Mondello and crew arrived today at Captain Joe & Sons just like every day. But the fresh lobsters offloaded were special Christmas Eve lobsters. Spreading joy from here to Boston restaurants but the last five girl lobsters went in my bag for the annual Christmas Eve feast. Sue has put up with me for over 30 years which means Christmas Eve is our 30th wedding Anniversary.

We call it lobster casserole but really I want to invent a new name for it. Because it is really five baked stuffed lobsters without the hassle of the shells. You get the crispy Ritz Cracker thing going on top but buttery goodness below without having to fight through the shells. I now call it Boneless Baked Stuffed Lobster. The shells are saved to make a stock for some soup on Christmas day before the big beef. I’m getting fat just typing this.

Dockside conversations with my hearing aids tuned to the machinery so I say “what” a lot.
Joey: What are the blue and yellow ducks?
Me: Ducks?
Joey: Ducks
Me: What ducks?
Joey: Dots!
Me:(figuring out it is analemma dots) The yellow dot is Christmas and the blue dot is when you jump in Gloucester Harbor!
Joey: Who the fuck figured that out?
Me: The Greeks.
Joey: Did they have a clock?
Me: No. Eratosthenes used a deep well at noon to mark the time.
Joey: Cool.

You can also google in youtube, “Say “what” one more time I dare you” 🙂

Winter Solstice Anal Emma and more

David Cox got after me at the Christmas party I was not posting enough and goodness, a month has practically gone by since my last photo. So instead of posting my annual analemma shot for Winter Solstice, and wish everyone a Happy Festivus, I’ll post some pics from the other end of the analemma. When Thacher Island is a hot paddle in July.

No kayaking today!

Six lighthouses on Cape Ann to choose from but these two are my favorite.

If you ever played the Computer game Myst popular in 1993 you know that the Miller brothers had to have visited Thacher Island.

Except in Myst, there were zip lines between the lighthouses. Rockport should install them.

Rubber Duck wanted to say hello to the sixty seagulls lining the rail. Only Homie stuck around.

Me: “What rhymes with orange.” Rubber Duck: “No it doesn’t.”

I quack myself up. OK, I’ll stick to photos. Here is the analemma. Today on the winter sostice we are the yellow ball. The blue ball of course denotes when certain people who do not chicken out jump into Gloucester Harbor.

The meteorological start of Spring, March First, is only seventy days away. (And Mother’s Day, the day we catch the first striper, is 143 days away.)

Happy Festivus one and all. (Now help me up bro, my knee!)

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