WHAT TO DO IF YOU FIND A DOVEKIE OR MURRE STRANDED ON THE BEACH

In recent weeks, there have been more than a few reports of Dovekies and other seabirds found on our local beaches, both alive and dead. Friend Jeff Papows has found several dead birds and has returned one live Dovekie and one Common Murre.

Jeff knew just what to do with the stranded birds, which is to return them to the water. Jodi Swenson, from Cape Ann Wildlife, recommends this is best. She shares that seabirds do not do well in rehab. If on the other hand the bird appears sick or emaciated, then please call Tufts at (508) 839-7918.

Dovekies, like many seabirds, are clumsy on land, however they do nest on land, so we know they are able to walk. Then why are they stranding? It most commonly happens to young, inexperienced birds. But stranding can also happen in great numbers to exhausted adults after large storms. This influx is known as a wreck. One of the most tragic and dramatic wrecks occurred along the East Coast in 1932, when thousands of Dovekies literally “rained” from the sky.

Photos Jeff Papows

We’d like to get an understanding of how many seabirds are washing ashore. If you have seen a Dovekie, or other species of seabird, dead or alive on the beach this winter, please write and let us know when and where. Thank you so much.

Common Murres are more crow-sized whereas Dovekies are more similar in size to an American Robin

Dovekie front view

Dovekie side view

Common Murre, winter plumage. Photo courtesy wikicommons media

GIANT SEALS SCARED THE BEEJEEZUS OUT OF ME!

While filming the tiny Dovekie as he was blithely bopping along in the inner Harbor, dip diving for breakfast and seeming to find plenty to eat, suddenly from directly beneath the Dovekie, two ginromous chocolate brown heads popped up. Almost sea serpent-like and so completely unexpected! I leapt up and totally ruined the shot, and the little Dovekie was even more startled. He didn’t fly away but ran pell mell across the water about fifteen feet before giving a furtive look back, and then submerging himself.

So there we were face to face, only about twenty feet apart. We spent a good deal of time eyeing each other, several minutes at least, both trying to figure out the other’s next move. Their eyes are so large and expressively beautiful. Down they dove and search as I might, could not spot them again.

There have been plenty of Harbor Seals seen in Gloucester Harbor, but I have never been so close to a Grey Seal, and so delighted to see not one, but two!

The following are a number of ways to tell the difference between a Harbor Seal and a Grey Seal.

Harbor Seals are smaller (5 to 6 feet) than average Grey Seals (6 feet 9 inches long to 8 feet 10 inches long). Bull Grey Seals have been recorded measuring 10 feet 10 inches long!

Harbor Seals have a concave shaped forehead, with a dog-like snout. The head of a Grey Seal is elongated, with a flatter forehead and nose.

Harbor Seal head shape left, Grey Seal head right

Harbor Seals have a heart or V-shaped nostrils. The nostrils of Grey Seals do not meet at the bottom and create more of a W-shape.

Harbor Seal heart, or V-shaped, nostrils

Grey Seal W-shaped nostrils

Grey Seals are not necessarily gray. They are also black and brown. Their spots are more irregular than the spots of a Harbor Seal.

Grey Seals and Harbor Seals are true “earless seals,” which does not mean that they cannot hear but are without external ear flaps.

Dovekie Gloucester Harbor

BEAUTIFUL AND FUNNY RARE BIRD IN GLOUCESTER THE “LITTLE AUK” OR DOVEKIE

The tiny “Little Auk” has been on our shores for several days and this morning I was finally able to take a few good snapshots. It dips and bobs in a funny manner, weaving back and forth, up and down the channel, before using its wings to deeply dive for small fish and crustaceans.

The Dovekie is the smallest member of the auk (puffin) family. A bird of the open Atlantic Ocean that breeds on Islands in the high Arctic, Dovekies are only seen during winter months in New England.

SAFE TRAVELS COLUMBIA!

Schooner Columbia departing Gloucester Friday morning with the Captain waving bye to Charlotte 🙂

How majestic to see the towering masts of the Columbia in our harbor during Schooner Fest!

Columbia: How the classic Fisherman’s Cup schooner was reborn

WICKED TUNA? FILMING IN GLOUCESTER HARBOR TODAY, VIA HELICOPTER!

A low flying helicopter overhead prompted Charlotte and I to head to the Harbor this morning. A fishing captain we met suggested it was a Wicked Tuna film crew, but I don’t recognize the boat Kraken from the show. By the time we got there, a dense fog bank was rolling in and filming quickly ended. If any of our readers know more, please write. Thank you 🙂

What is a Kraken I wondered? From wiki: The Kraken is a legendary cephalodpod-like sea monster of giant size in Scandinavian folklore. According to the Norse sagas, the Kraken dwells off the coast of Norway and Greenland and terrorizes nearby sailors. Authors over the years have postulated that the legend may have originated from sightings of giant squids that may grow 13-15 meters (40 to 50 feet) in length. Read more here.

2019 Celebrate the Clean Harbor Swim #GloucesterMA is a two day festival this year!

 

Sarah Robbins Evans on the right with Barbara Blais watching 40th Anniversary Celebrate Clean Harbor Swim_Evans co founder both swam it many years _20180811_©c ryan Gloucester Mass
2018

From the race press: save the date — it’s  a great, family friendly spectator sport event!

“CELEBRATE THE CLEAN HARBOR OPEN WATER SWIMMING FESTIVAL will be held  August 17 and 18, 2019.

Starting off  the festival will be the  Clean Harbor Kids Swim on Saturday, a 500 meter swim along the shore of Niles Beach for 8-12 year olds. Held since 2015, this is a wonderful way to introduce kids to the sport of Open Water Swimming.

Also on Saturday will be the 1.2 Mile Celebrate the Clean Harbor Swim

NEW EVENT

For 2019, we are continuing a second day to the event, creating the festival. We will be holding the  10 mile Clean Harbor Relay event on Sunday, August 18th. This event will be held on a 1.0 mile course, very similar to Saturday’s event.  We suggest teams of 5, and swimming through the rotation two times.  Your team may have more or less than 5 swimmers. We believe the more the merrier. There will be a 6.5 hour limit. This will be a fun atmosphere, so bring a beach chair/blanket, snacks, some sunscreen and shade, and have a great time hanging out on the beach between your swims with your closest swimming friends. “

Proceeds raised target Maritime Gloucester and Fishermen Wives Club

Kayaking around Gloucester Harbor on Sunday

What a beautiful day Sunday was.  Rick and I went kayaking around Gloucester Harbor and had our lunch on Ten Pound Island, we visited Joey on the dock, Wicked Tuna being filmed and paddle through the west wind and choppy ocean.  It was fantastic.  Also we saw the barge that took down the Magnolia Pier.

Again we are so lucky.

Yella on the Water – Gloucester Harbor view from the new deck

Yella on the Water joins a fantastic line up of seasonal plein air dining options in Gloucester. The inviting new outdoor space and decor of Danielle and Carlo Berdahn’s  Mediterranean bistro, Yella on the Water, in the former Morning Glory space on Western Avenue (Stacy Boulevard), beckons on any given sun day. The interior is equally alluring. Owner Danielle Berdahn enlisted some design help from Taniya Nayak and the snappy casual vibe is perfect.

Woburn native, Berdahn has a personal connection to Gloucester. She grew up spending magical summers on Wingaersheek at her family’s beach house. After hearing that fun fact, it’s easy to order the “Wingaersheek” cocktail. We had one brief hour between work and appointments to sample hand crafted appetizers (Hummus Awarma) and spirits.  Were we on vacation? A day-cation for sure, thanks to impeccable service and yummy local fare on a hot new deck with a view of Gloucester Harbor.