CINNAMON GIRL – HOODED MERGANSER IN THE HOOD!

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

FLOCK OF WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS MIGRATING ALONG OUR SHORES

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

HAPPY AUTUMN DAYS!

Spring Peeper out and about before hibernating for the winter.

Relishing the last of these golden days, we took advantage of Sunday’s delightfully beautiful weather with a hike around Eastern Point. Several female Yellow-rumped Warblers were spotted feeding on seed heads, a lone turtle was basking on a sun-warmed rock, the Harbor Seals were lolling about, and a tiny Spring Peeper was spied in the fallen leaves.

You can see why these sweet birds are called Yellow-rumped Warblers. Note the little flash of yellow on the rump of the warbler flying in the background.

Eastern Painted Turtle

Who me?

Harbor Seals warming in the sun.

Visitors to Gloucester at the Breakwater

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From Beverly enjoying a bike ride around Cape Ann with a stop at the Breakwater

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From Argentina enjoyed a walk on the Breakwater

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From South Korea enjoy fishing at the Breakwater

Visitors to Gloucester at the Breakwater

Visitors at Eastern Point Lighthouse from Illinois, Texas, Minnesota, and even Germany (Father Mother and Son).  Also a  Group of people that came to Boston for a wedding, and  decide to enjoy Cape Ann before heading back home to California and Wisconsin.

When a field trip is a field trip! Mass Audubon and O’Maley Middle School

Gloucester public schools have stellar community partners and locales

Mass Audubon Eastern Point Wildlife Sanctuary

 

Two+ centuries of naturalists in Gloucester is quite a legacy. Here’s a partial list from Robbins to Cramer and Smith to Smith–there have been notable champions most every decade.

  • Mason Walton (Hermit of Gloucester)
  • Alpheus Hyatt, principal founder of world famous Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole– from 1880-1886 the school was on Goose Cove and later off Lobster Cove
  • BH VanVleck  (wrote book with David Starr)- instructor at Annisquam seaside laboratory 
  • Samuel Sawyer land conservation
  • Alfred G. Mayor (Hyatt’s son in law) marine zoologist- his studies on marine life led to 1905 book Sea Shore Life
  • Prince Mahidol of Thailand “Sanitary Survey of the City of Gloucester, Massachusetts 1921 by M. Songkla” in city archives- Includes brief history of Gloucester and description of public health activities
  • Roger Babson land conservation and watershed
  • Dr. Ralph Dexter, began his studies on marine life in 1933 (later Kent State) and chimney swifts
  • Ivy LeMon banded monarch butterflies to trace their migration wintering in Mexico
  • Sara Fraser Robbins curator of education ( the title of her classic book The Sea is All About Us was a nod to Gloucester summer resident TS Eliot’ Four Quartets)
  • Betty Smith
  • Dan Greenbaum
  • Sara Evans
  • Philip Weld, Jr
  • Jane Benotti
  • Deborah Cramer
  • Chris Leahy
  • Harriet Webster
  • Martin Ray
  • Kim Smith
  • Ian Kerr

organizations such as Gloucester Civic and Garden Club, Essex County Greenbelt, Mass Audubon, Ocean Alliance, Martime Gloucester, UMASS Marine Station…

easternpoint-iba

Our Young Swan Suffers a Second Attack

The Young Swan has survived a second attack by Mr. Swan, but only barely. He is injured and needs veterinary care.
The Young Swan is temporarily back at Lyn Fonzo’s swan sanctuary, until a forever home can be found. Photo courtesy Lyn Fonzo.
Katia Mason shares the following, “Tonight the Young Swan was being chased then attacked by the Senior Male Swan in the Harbor. The neighbors at Hawthorne Point ran into the harbor and broke up the attack and protected the young swan.  Thank goodness for Jodi Swenson at Cape Ann Wildlife who got their message and came to help complete the rescue before the tide came in and it got too dark.
Thanks to the Good Morning Gloucester Blog, neighbors had been following the story and knew what was happening. “
Katia Mason Photos

Gloucester in the news: Nell Porter Brown fabulous Beauport Sleeper McCann article in Harvard Magazine

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!

excerpt:

“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…”

Read more – Download PDF

 

 

ROCK ON R. B. STRONG (LITERALLY!) WORK CONTINUES ON THE NILES POND BRACE COVE CAUSEWAY RESTORATION

The arduous work of rebuilding the Niles Pond Brace Cove causeway continues, despite the mid-week blizzard. I walked the causeway Tuesday night and then again the past several mornings–the pace of the restoration is fantastic and will soon be completed. Many, many thanks to the generous residents of Eastern Point who are striving to keep Niles Pond from being engulfed by the sea.

R. B. Strong’s Larry expertly operates the John Deere excavator, deftly extracting and moving boulders around as if they were pebbles on the shore. The track-hoe not only scoops and lifts the massive rocks, the bucket is also used to tamp down the boulders once in place, as you can see in the video below.

MARCH NOR’EASTER #GLOUCESTER MA ATLANTIC OCEAN EXPLODING WAVES, SPINDRIFTS, AND THE PRICE TO PAY


Eastern Point

Shoreline, home, and garden have been hard hit by the third nor’easter to take place this March. The waves and spindrifts were magnificent, taking a short drive around the back shore this morning, but it was difficult to observe the further damage to coastline habitats.

SHORING UP THE NILES POND-BRACE COVE CAUSEWAY BEFORE THE NEXT NOR’EASTER (ARRIVING TONIGHT)

With the third nor’easter to hit our shores during the month of March expected to arrive tonight, track-hoe excavator Larry shares that the work continued today to fortify the causeway, and to possibly get more water to flow through the clogged drain that is preventing excess water from leaving Niles Pond.

For our readers general information, the cost of the repairs, restoration, and continued ongoing maintenance of the causeway, and surrounding area, are paid for entirely by the generous residents of Eastern Point, not tax payer dollars.

NILES POND BRACE COVE RESTORATION UNDERWAY 2018 #GLOUCESTERMA NOR’EASTER STORM RILEY

Large track-hoes (excavators) are needed to repair the damage done by the March nor’easter storm known as Riley.

The narrowest slip of land between a body of fresh water and the sea.

Native pussy willow trees survive storm after storm after storm after storm. More pussy willows, as well as other deep-rooted natives, need to be planted to help with the unending erosion.

Niles Pond water overflowing the bank and littered with debris swept in by the sea.

#GLOUCESTERMA RILEY STORM DAMAGE MORNING AFTER, EASTERN POINT ROAD IMPASSABLE DUE TO STROM SURGE, CLEAN-UP BEGINS, HUGE SHOUT OUT TO GLOUCESTER’S DPW AND POLICE OFFICERS, GOOD HARBOR BEACH FOOTBRIDGE IN THE EMBANKMENT

Last night’s fourth super high tide in two days again brought an incredible surge of seawater. Gloucester’s DPW Marco Numerosi was working last night at 2am and reports it was the worst of all. DPW crews and GDP Officers were on the job bright and early this Sunday morning, cleaning the roads of hurled rocks, popples, seaweed, and seagrass.

Officer Al D’Angelo and Marco Numerosi

Eastern Point Road, by Bemo Street, still littered with debris at 8am, is closed, and virtually impassable. One driver tried, and then quickly changed his mind.

This morning photographing and filming at 6:30 you would not believe it was dead low tide. There is so much water and I am afraid the next tide will bring with it another round of destruction. The waves are towering; a large ship, the Oldendorff appeared to head straight out and then steered closer to shore. Stay safe and warm friends.

Still no sign of our Snowy

 

SNOWY DAY MORNING VIOLET SKIES TO BLUE -By Kim Smith

As the snow storm departed the early morning skies shifted from hues of violet gray to brilliant blue. 

Ten Pound Island Lighthouse

 

CAPE ANN RECOVERING FROM THE BOMBCYCLONE -By Kim Smith

Rain this past week melted the snow, revealing more destruction from the 2018 Bombcyclone. Stopping at favorite places along the backshore, the storm surge left in its wake damage to T-wharf, the road is completely washed out at Pebble Beach, and Eastern Point marsh and storm drains are clogged with debris.

T-Wharf, Rockport

Pebble Beach and Henry’s Pond. The storm surged pushed the rocks over the bank and into the road. Saltwater found a path and gushed into Henry’s Pond.

Popples strewn across the lawn and seaweed and debris clogged storm drains.