RESULTS WEEK 2 Defending #GloucesterMA | try Mr. Goulart’s local history hunt Throwback Thursday #TBT

Gloucester High School_20190318_photo © catherine ryan.jpg
Gloucester, Mass.- Great teacher at Gloucester High School, Shaun Goulart, creates a local history scavenger hunt trivia game for his 9th grade students that takes place weekly for 6 weeks. We’re taking the challenge one week after the students. Good luck!

ANSWERS TO SHAUN GOULART’S LOCAL HISTORY TRIVIA WEEK TWO

How did you do? Week two delved into scenes of historic battles. I’ve added some background. Stop here if you prefer to go back to see Week 2 questions only from 3/17/19 

WEEK 2: DEFENDING GLOUCESTER Location #1

  • Who was the first governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony? ANSWER –  ROGER CONANT
    • Go to the location of the fort named after him and take a picture with a member in it. *Stage Fort Park “Fisherman’s Field”

*“In 1623, 14 English fishermen set up the first European colony on Cape Ann here in what was then Fisherman’s Field and is now Stage Fort Park. These ramparts overlook the harbor, first built during the Revolutionary War, renewed for the War of 1812, the Civil War and the Spanish American War. Alas, those first settlers, sent across the ocean by the Dorchester Company, were unable to live off the sea and these rock-bound fields. They moved a few miles south to what is now Salem in 1626. Then, within a decade, there were enough permanent settlers on Cape Ann to incorporate the town of Gloucester. The first meetinghouse was built on the Town Green in 1642 near what is now the Grant Circle rotary of Route 128. The City set this land aside as a public park in 1898 and its Tablet Rock was dedicated by Henry Cabot Lodge in 1907.  James R. Pringle was designated to write the inscription for the bronze plaque. The execution of the design was by Eric Pape. “The nautical scheme of decorative framework and embellishment was the composite suggestion” of various committees dating as far back as the 1880s.” *see Gloucester HarborWalk Stage Fort Park marker #42  photo on marker ©Sharon Lowe. See also Stage Fort Park then/now photos in prior GMG post

Bronze tribute plaques embedded in Tablet Rock at Stage Fort Park detail the site’s history and were commissioned and unveiled at different times. The monumental and stunning Founders plaque from 1907 on Tablet Rock itself is in fantastic condition. Two DAR plaques were inlaid on the glacial outcroppings past half moon beach on the way to the cannons. The Fisherman’s Field (ca.1930) is so worn it’s nearly indecipherable, though that’s part of its charm. The plaque compels close inspection, lingering and discovery. It’s a fun family activity for anyone who likes a challenge. For those who want help reading the content, I transcribed it back in 2010. Scroll down below the “read more” break in this post to open.

 

  • During which war did it receive this name? ANSWER – FORT CONANT during the Civil War 
detail-battery-k
When you zoom in on this 1901 photograph, you can see the big ‘Battery K’-  for the Spanish American War (Camp Hobson) Fort conant during Civil War

 

Location #2

location 2 courtesy photos

 

  • Take a picture at Fort Point with the former location of the Coast Guard Aviation Station behind you (must be visible in the picture) ANSWER – TEN POUND ISLAND
  • What was the fort called on Fort Point? ANSWER – FORT DEFIANCE Fort Point Hill, Fort Lillie (Lily)
  • Name a war it was utilized in. ANSWER – Efforts to fortify as early as 1703 (see Pringle) ATTACK OF CAPTAIN LINDSAY (OR LINZEE) 1775 –population about 5000 –REVOLUTIONARY WAR, WAR OF 1812, CIVIL WAR

“In 1743, what is known as the old fort on Commercial Street, now encroached upon and surrounded by buildings, was completed. On this point, well selected strategically, is a hill which effectually commands the inner harbor. In 1742 and 1742, the General Court appropriated 527 pounds to defray the cost of fortification. Breastworks were thrown up and eight 12-pounders placed in position in the fort. The immediate cause of its erection was the fear of French incursions, but these fears were never realized. An effort had been made as early as 1703 to fortify the place, but the petition of the selectmen to the General Court for an appropriation for the purpose was refused. The petition shows that he harbor, even at that early date was extensively frequent for shelter, and was “very seldom free from vessels.”

“In order to be better prepared for future assaults breastworks were thrown up at Stage Fort, the Cut, Duncan’s Point and Fort Point. This, however was the last attack by sea or land that the people experienced.”

Location #3

  • From Fort Point go to the location of the seven-gun earthwork battery and barracks in ramparts field. Take a picture with the old towers in the background (do not go on private property) ANSWER –  EASTERN POINT FORT by eminent domain, Ramparts Field Road Fort Hill 
  • Name a war it was utilized in  ANSWER –  CIVIL WAR

“Immediate action was taken toward the erection of fortifications. Land at Eastern Point, belonging to Thomas Niles was acquired by the government, and earthwork fort erected and manned…”

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  • Screenshot Google Earth with all three above locations in it and circle them. Submit the image.

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THE YOUNG SWANS RETURN!

Three Young Graces Update No. 3

Although Niles Pond had refroze, I wasn’t expecting to see the young swans, especially after sunset. But there they were, all three, sitting in the near dark on the ice.

They were taking turns drinking fresh water from a small opening in the ice. I watched for a moment when suddenly all three stood. In unison, they took a running start across the ice and were quickly airborne, flying in a northwest direction.

Where had they been and where were they flying to when nearly dark?

 

FEATHERED FURY, FEATHERED GLORY – MR. SWAN, RULER OF CAPE ANN’S WATERWAYS, RETURNS

Three Young Graces Update No. 2

Niles Pond thawed, and so too was the knowledge that Mr. Swan would return. He is the bird-ruler of Cape Ann’s waterways, from Gloucester Harbor to Rockport Harbor, and vigilantly patrols all our local ponds and inlets. Mr. Swan does not take kindly to other swans in his territory. 

I checked in on the Three Graces at day’s end, and they were contentedly preening after a full day of eating.

Swanference

The following morning I returned and there was Mr. Swan, but no young swans. Although I did not see a battle take place, Mr. Swan’s behavior can only be described as victorious. Swans do a thing called busking when they want to appear big and bad and that is exactly what he was doing. Swimming with vigor and much greater speed than usual, he was patrolling one end of the pond to the other, with his feathers all busked out. It’s a swan’s way, and his territorial behavior is in part what has contributed to his longevity. Mr. Swan is more than thirty years old. I do so hope no one was injured, though.

Feathered Fury, Feathered Glory – Mr. Swan Busking

Perhaps the pond will freeze again, Mr. Swan will head back to Rockport Harbor, and we’ll see the Three Graces at Niles Pond once more.


Busking full speed ahead to the other side of the pond to see if the three young ones are hiding, and then taking a break after what must have been a demanding morning.

UPDATE ON THE THREE GRACES MUTE SWANS AT NILES POND


I’ve been calling the three young swans that arrived at Niles the Three Graces, but my husband reminds that they could also be the Three Amigos. It’s nearly impossible to tell whether a young swan is male or female without a DNA test. When they reach breeding age, at about four years old, the male’s blackberry (black protuberance above the bill) becomes swollen during mating season.

Our young swans are first hatch year, meaning this is their first year of life. They hatched last spring. Late winter is the time of year when Dad swan kicks the young swans out of the family group, to make room for the next brood.

The swans forage nearly nonstop at the pond vegetation. They don’t mind at all the dabbling ducks that feed adjacent to them. The ducks are stealing away smaller bits of vegetation left behind by the deeply diving swans. Periodically the youngsters pause to preen, but then hungrily resume eating.

Scenes from Niles Pond and Brace Cove while checking in on the Three Graces

Notice the young swans are all have black eyes. This is typical for swans in our area. Mr. Swan, on the other hand, has beautifully distinct blue eyes.

SNOWY DAY IN GLOUCESTER with YOUNG SWANS, SAINT ANTHONYS-BY-THE-SEA, TEN POUND ISLAND, BRACE COVE, PAINT FACTORY, AND MORE

The prettiest kind of snowy day, not too cold, with swirly fluffy flakes.

STUNNING BALD EAGLE IN THE HOOD!

Saturday afternoon a captivating young Bald Eagle swooped onto the scene with a fresh catch held tightly in its talons. He was fairly far off in the distance and I couldn’t quite capture what exactly he was eating.

It didn’t take long for the eagle to devour the little creature and after dining, he circled around the pond several times before landing in a nearby tree. I’ve never been so close to an eagle and it was a gift to see, really just gorgeous. It’s feathers were richly mottled in shades of chocolate brown, with contrasting white tips. Despite its youth, you could see the majesty and strength in its wings when soaring overhead.

The eagle perched in the branches for a few moments, completely ignoring the squwacky crows that were gathering, before heading out towards sea.

There have been numerous reports of Bald Eagles in the area. Earlier in the day, a passerby told me she had seen a juvenile Bald Eagle with a crow in its clutches. Although I don’t have a side-by-side comparison, the young Bald Eagle’s talons appeared enormous, even larger than a Snowy or Great Horned Owl’s talons.

Bald Eagles have repopulated the 48 contiguous states, Alaska, Canada, and northern Mexico. Their recovery over the past several decades is largely due to the ban on DDT (yet another deadly dangerous poisonous insecticide manufactured by Monsanto). Bald Eagles mate for life and they are breeding in the area. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to see a nest on Cape Ann!

I believe this to be a second or third hatch year juvenile Bald Eagle. You can tell by the broad brown band on its face, the iris is transitioning from amber to yellow, and because the beak is beginning to turn yellow.

Click on any of the photos in the gallery above to see a full-sized slideshow.

Fourth hatch year Bald Eagle -note the remaining brown feathers around the face.

Mature Bald Eagle (images courtesy wiki commons media). 

THREE GRACES – BEAUTIFUL YOUNG SWANS AT NILES POND!

A beautiful trio of young Mute Swans spent the day at Niles Pond foraging on pond vegetation and enjoying fresh water. When the fresh water ponds thaw, we see our local swans take a break from their salty harbor refuges. The Three Graces spent the entire day eating nearly nonstop, which suggests they are very hungry.

I believe the three young swans are not quite one year old. Their bills are pale, and brown first-molt feathers mix with incoming white feathers. It’s their first winter so if you see the young swans, please be kind.

Mr. Swan, too, has been enjoying the fresh water at Henry’s Pond. He’s so territorial that I hope he stays over in Rockport for a bit so the Three Graces can fortify at Niles.


Mr. Swan thawing at Henry’s Pond

POOR LITTLE DEAD RAZORBILL

Monday afternoon at Good Harbor Beach I found the little Razorbill washed ashore, up between the ice sheets at the high tide line. Thanks so much to Mike for sharing his story about the Razorbills he saw at the Dogbar Breakwater last week. I could identify it immediately because of Mike’s sighting. I hope so much the other Razorbill is surviving 🙂

I left him by the footbridge in case anyone else would like to see the Razorbill.

Another Super Exciting Wildlife Sighting- Two Razorbills at Eastern Point!

ANOTHER SUPER EXCITING WILDLIFE SIGHTING–TWO RAZORBILLS AT EASTERN POINT!

Many, many thanks to reader Mike for sharing his amazing sighting of two Razorbills. He writes the following,

“Hi Kim. I was out on the Dogbar Breakwater yesterday afternoon. I didn’t see any Snowy Owls, but I did spot 2 Razorbills. I’d never seen one before, so it was quite exciting. There was a flurry of activity in the water as 2 loons harassed one of the Razorbills. They wore him down and then a large sea gull attacked and tried to kill the Razorbill pecking at his head. He dove and swam far enough away the gull lost track of him in the small chop.

Interesting to see the White Line across it’s backside and the white under the wings.  I witnessed one of the Razorbills swimming underwater from the height of the rocks at the end of the breakwater, the bird appeared to be “flying” underwater and I thought it had tiny wings as I could only see the white portion of the wings in the darkness of the water.  It swam similar to a Penguin underwater.  Another couple also saw the Razorbill swim underwater and the three of us were surprised at distance the bird covered in such a short time.

On my way to the breakwater, I asked a young couple returning to the parking lot, if they had seen any cool critters.  They said they saw an injured bird that was something like a Puffin or Penguin just inside the breakwater, at the edge of the shore.   They said the bird made it’s way into the water as they approached.  They had a frontal top view of the bird with their smartphone, but it was unclear as to what it was.  I’m guessing that’s the same Razorbill I saw being attacked by the sea gull.  Nature has a way of weeding out the weak and injured, but he escaped to live another day !!

I also saw around a dozen Common Eiders, 2 Surf Scoters, couple mergansers, 6 Buffleheads and 4 light brown ducks I would guess to be Gadwalls by the elegant patterns of breast feathers swimming along the shore inside the breakwater. Great sightings on a wonderful warm day!!”

I just read on the Audubon website that the Razorbill is probably the closest living relative of the extinct Great Auk. How interesting is that! I’ve never seen a Razorbill but will most certainly be on the lookout. Thanks so much again to Mike.

All images courtesy wikicommonsmedia.

TUBYLETTES (HARBOR SEALS) BASKING

As was everyone else, the Harbor Seals were enjoying Tuesday’s 50 degree weather. Much jockeying, grunting, and gnarling over prime rock-real estate was taking place. Paintings of nudes by Renoir and Botero, along with the made-up word tubylette, come to mind whenever I see these bathing beauties basking on the rocks at Brace Cove.

By the time I left after sunset, there were no less than fourteen Harbor Seals hauled out on the rocks.