A very proud grandfather with his grand-daughter visiting from New Zealand
Trustees of Reservations ecologist Jeff Denoncour kindly shares information about the Piping Plovers at Crane Beach and he wrote two days ago with an update for us on their Piping Plover population. “Unfortunately the weather has been pretty inclement this year making it tough to monitor and really nail down the number of pairs. That mixed with an abundance of birds and a lot of loss due to storms and high tides and a bit of predation its really hard for me to get an accurate pair count right now. I am estimating that we have more than 33 plover pairs.
So far we have discovered 36 plover nests, but right now we only have 19 active nests. 3 of the 36 nests are renests, which is why I’m saying we have 33 or more pairs. Some pairs have been scraping consistently in areas but have not laid eggs.
Our first nest is due to hatch tomorrow.”
I sent him an email this morning and hopefully we’ll have news of hatchlings!
If you would like to learn more about the outstanding work of the Trustees of Reservations Shorebird Protection Program go here.
Tiny flakes falling through the trees, making that distinct pitapat sound of snowdrops landing on crisp frozen leaves below. But wait, the sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. An assembly of Redpolls overhead, hungrily teasing seeds from the tree’s cones were creating a shower of snow-seeds.
I followed along ever so quietly as the flock moved from tree to tree, expertly pulling the cones apart for the small kernel held within.
Returning several times to the same trail and hoping to catch sight again but, with most of the cones gone, so too were the Redpolls.
The Common Redpoll is a species of finch with a distinct crimson cap that looks like a mini French beret, giving the song bird a bit of a rakish appearance.
Their small yellow bills evolved to eat small seeds, such as those of thistles and birches. Some studies show that in winter Redpolls subsist almost entirely on birch seeds.
Common Redpolls have been known to survive temperatures of -65 degrees below and even sleep at night in snow tunnels that can be up to a foot long. Redpolls nest in the Arctic tundra; we only ever see them during the winter months.
Cape Ann has a wealth of restaurants from which to choose, and we love our favorites passionately. Occasionally though we enjoy trying new places off Cape. One of my husbands’s oldest and nicest friends, Bob Vallis, has opened a fabulous pub in downtown Ipswich. Located at the former Zabaglione address, The Brown Dog serves the best of wonderfully fresh and hearty American cuisine/comfort food within a casually inviting and cozy atmosphere.
Gloucester residents may recall that Bob formerly owned the Blackburn Tavern. Chef Doug Papaws, also from Gloucester, is working his magic in the kitchen. I had without a doubt the best fried oysters I have ever had in my life. They tasted on the inside as sweetly plump and succulent as freshly shucked oysters, but with a light touch of deeply golden fried crusty deliciousness on the outside. Tom tried the chili and baked chicken, also both stellar, and the key lime pie was the perfect touch of creamy citrusy fresh sweetness. We loved our waitress–I think her name is Eleanor, and her mom, also known as the local librarian, helps out on weekends with hostessing.
Thanks to Bob and Doug and our lovely waitress for a great night out!
Cell phone photos don’t do the fabulous fare justice–so just go and check it out for your self!
The Brown Dog is located at 14 Central Street in Ipswich. Phone 978-312-6362 and visit The Brown Dog website here.
One for All and All for One !
Local women retailers and colleagues from Gloucester, Essex, Ipswich and Rowley met early last spring about working together to market their businesses. These street level shops represent 4 cities and towns, and share a regional ‘Main Street’ – Route 133/1A, part of the gorgeous 90 mile Essex Coastal Scenic Byway. The new Woman Owned Businesses Along The Essex Coastal Scenic Byway brochure will be in stores before Labor Day. I’ll re-post with higher resolution images and final copy when it’s unveiled. While you’re exploring this contemporary woman owned businesses trail, don’t miss the fantastic historic exhibition The Women of Essex – Stories to Share show sponsored by the Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum, on display on the 3rd Floor of the Essex Town Hall and Library, 30 Martin Street (Route 22), Essex.
Fun route is easy to follow
#1 Pauline’s Gifts, Gloucester
#2 Essex Bird Shop & Pet Supply, Essex
#3 Sea Meadow Gifts and Gardens, Essex
#4 The Essex Exchange, Essex
#5 Olde Ipswich Shop & Gallery, Ipswich*
#6 AnnTiques, Ipswich
#7 Be Modern, Ipsiwch
#8 Lost Treasures, Rowley
#9 Serendipity at Todd’s Farm, Rowley
*Johanne Cassia, who owns Olde Ipswich Shop & Gallery –#5 on the new map–painted the illustration of their businesses featured on the brochure.
I’ve included a few scenes from The Women of Essex – Stories to Share exhibition at Essex Town Hall and the renovated bright space on the top floor, accessible for all.
photo- Women of Essex: Restauranteurs (detail from installation Essex Town Hall)
Many of the pieces of art and furniture in the Gloucester Stage’s current show “Out of the Mouths of Babes” are for sale. The art that is available to purchase was provided by my friend Mia Nehme and her daughter Claudia Bowman, from their beautiful shop in Manchester, Mimi, the furniture is from the wonderfully chic be modern in Ipswich, and the exquisite paisley rug is from Landry and Arcari.
If interested in purchasing art, furniture, or the rug from “Out of the Mouths of Babe,” please call 978-281-4433 or email email@example.com
Read dishy brief updates from downtown, marketing opportunities from MOTT, and trending topics from across the state. The arts scene in Gloucester and Cape Ann has so much going on and sets such a high, high bar for the state. We needed a calendar and GMG did it! Reminder: If organizations want to be featured on the essential GMG calendar and weekly arts round-up, they should email their listings to James Eves! Triple check the calendar before planning any major scheduling dates.
What’s New March 2017 updates link (if embed doesn’t show)
*= Founding Partner Yellow = NEW partner March 2017 Bold blue= updates
I wonder if there are any birders out there who help me identify these birds. I have tried but am confused. Maybe they are juveniles? They are medium sized. I can’t tell from the photograph but I think their legs are dark, not yellow. They were out on Great Neck in Ipswich in a tidal inlet. They are pretty.
Playing on a neutral field at Reading High School, the Manchester Essex Hornets took on the Ipswich Tigers in MIAA State Field Hockey Tournament Semi-Finals. In a hard fought first half the Tigers broke through first for a 1-0 lead but before halftime the Hornets were able to score the equalizer. In the second half both teams continued playing great defense and getting/allowing few scoring opportunities. The Hornets held a decided edge in penalty corners but had a tough time converting for scores. Manchester Essex did get a few more chances and managed to make one count for the 2-1 lead. The Hornets worked hard to preserve the win despite a strong finishing Ipswich attack. The Hornets move on to the finals of the State Tournament where they will face the perennial powerhouse Watertown. Game will be played at North Andover High School Saturday November 9th at 11:00.
Click on pictures for larger image.
Feels like fall. Must be time to head to Ipswich and right after the turn-off to Crane’s beach, turn into 114 Essex Road (click for directions) to find yourself at Wolf Hollow this Sunday from 2-6 PM. Why? Because there will be wolves of course. And activities for your kids, food from the vendors, and beer from the Mercury Brewing Tap Mobile. Almost forgot, the Reggae Band Jah Spirit will be playing because after all it’s the 2013 Annual Reggae Fund Raiser at Wolf Hollow.
This is Nina and Jamie-Lynne Mezzetti (Nina is on the left), getting some neck scratches and licks traded back in January, photo by Zee Soffron. You may not get this close to a wolf on Sunday but they might howl for you. Wolves love reggae.
Until December 1st you can visit every Saturday and Sunday. Formal presentation of the wolves is at 1:30 PM so aim to get there by 1 PM. After December 1, Sunday only, weather permitting. (But this Sunday, remember, 2-6 PM.)
Here is a shot that Rubber Duck took last fall during a presentation:Check out the size of those paws! Checking out the paw is an easy way of distinguishing Wolf from coyote or domestic dog. A wolf has some big ones. The next time you see tracks in the snow or mud on Cape Ann, measure the size of the paw. Was it a coyote, a coywolf, or a wolfote? Likely they will be a tad smaller than these paws.
This striking Baltimore Checkerspot was photographed last week in a field of Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). The field is located in Ipswich’s town center.
Notice the Baltimore Checkerspot’s vivid orange antennal clubs and white and orange dotted abdomen. The caterpillar’s food plant, or host plant, is mainly turtlehead (Chelone glabra) in low lands and gerardias upland, e.g., Smooth False Foxglove (Aureolaria flava).
I find absolutely the most interesting creatures in fields where grows Common Milkweed, which tells us that the plant provides a wealth of nourishment for a diverse range of organisms.
Note: The underside of butterfly wings are referred to as ventral; the upper surface as dorsal. An easy way to remember the difference between the terms dorsal and ventral is to think of the dorsal fin of a dolphin.
I remember going to Hawaii and loving the guide books called Maui Revealed. They were written by locals and the folks burnt a lot of bridges with the locals and revealed insider tips. Here is my quick and dirty insider tips guide for a day trip to the beach in Ipswich. I know many of you have the Gloucester beach sticker, but it’s always great to check out other North Shore treasures.
Here is the play if you are going to come up from Boston or from anywhere on the North Shore and hit Ipswich.
Cranes Beach – On weekends head over early. Get there between 9:30
and 10am to get in the first 5 to 10 parking rows and avoid a crazy traffic backup. Stay to the far right and head towards the sand bar. The tides are key at Cranes. The water will seem cold right at the life guard stations, but immediately take a hike to the sand bars on the right and enjoy the quieter setting. For a real treat hike around the beach to the backside of Cranes. I usually head out before the large crowds arrive. On your way out, if you have never been to the estate it is worth a walk around. Another insider tip is to take the cheaper option and head to the beach during the week for a late afternoon swim and dinner. The weather and water are perfect, especially for the pale nation. You can even get the pizza joint, Theo’s to deliver to Cranes. I am fortunate to have The Trustees sticker, which is a great deal.
Ipswich Clambake – After you are done at the beach head over to Ipswich Clambake on 196 High Street (take a right off of 133 in Ipswich). It is a great fish market and place for all things seafood. The chowder is excellent and I think they have the best lobster roll on the North Shore. In all honesty I really have yet to test the other places (The Lobster Roll Call coming soon!). Simple, buttered bun and lots of very fresh Lobster. I can’t say enough about them and the place is sparkling clean.
White’s Farm – Keep heading away from Ipswich on High Street (rt 133) and you hit White’s. White’s is in the top 5 local homemade ice cream joints. Every flavor rocks and the kids can take their ice cream cone and drop it in a real sand box! The play here is to go Kiddie size even for the grown ups.
Ipswich Role Call: Too many great spots to name, but here are a few of the top spots:
Down River Ice Cream – Another great homemade Ice Cream place right past Cranes turn on 133.
Russel Orchard – An Ipswich institution and a great place to stop after Cranes.
The Clam Box – My personal favorite for fried seafood, but get there early or call for take out (insider tip)
Stone Soup – One of the top breakfast places and every dinner on their menu is great. Get the breakfast sandwich on fresh italian bread!
Riverview Pizza – One of my top ten places for pizza on the North Shore.
Choate Pub – Great local bar & great burgers!
1640 Hart House – The tavern here is a great play.
Orange Julius – Yes there is an Orange Julius at the Dairy Queen. Hello 1985 at the mall!
East End Bagels – Across the street from Orange Julius is Mitchell st. and they are down that road and a commenter below and New Yorker validates they have great bagels. I have to check them out!
Thanks for reading,