Grant helps plovers have record year on Crane Beach, featuring Jeff Denoncour

Rotary Club paid for three solar-powered electric fences

IPSWICH — Those little birds you see running around the beach don’t have it easy.

Although they have wings, they won’t fly to trees to build their nests. Instead, they scoop holes, or “scrapes,” in the sand and lay their eggs there.

And that’s an invitation for all kinds of trouble: predators, rogue waves, dogs, or clumsy or malicious humans.

Combined with widespread loss of habitat, piping plovers are now on the federal government’s threatened species list. One estimate says there are just 8,400 left worldwide.

But along with lease terns, which are protected in Massachusetts, the plovers are well taken care of on Crane Beach.

In fact, they were so well taken care of in 2019 that a record number of chicks fledged and are now ready for the next perilous phase of their lives — a migration to the Bahamas.

This year, 49 pairs of plovers raised 96 chicks, said Jeff Denoncour, coastal ecologist with The Trustees of Reservations.

The last year that good for the birds was in 1999, when 44 pairs produced 89 fledglings, he added.

To show how precarious the species’ existence can be, Denoncour said the year 2000 was disastrous. Just 12 fledglings survived despite the efforts of 49 pairs. “That was due to a major storm,” he explained.

READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE HERE
Jeff Denoncour and Courtney Richardson last year at Jeff’s program on coastal ecology held at the Cape Ann Museum

A GOLDEN SEA OF SUNFLOWERS AT THE STUNNINGLY BEAUTIFUL SCHOOL STREET SUNFLOWER FARM

The brand new beautiful School Street Sunflower field is not to be missed. With gently rolling hills, abundantly planted rows, and a wide, easy path to stroll (easy enough for a two-year-old to navigate), the 5 acres of sunflowers is a wildflower lover’s dream.

Paul Wegzyn and his Dad, also Paul Wegzyn, shared their enthusiasm for this exiting new venture.

There are picnic tables for those who would like to take lunch, and positioned artfully around the fields are photo props such as tractors and bales of hay, but for the most part, the scene is straight up gorgeous sunflowers (and bees!).

The variety planted blooms in 50 to 60 days from when planted and today is day 61. Only a few flowers have droopy seed-laden heads, or have passed. NOW is the time to go as the blooms will all have expired in another two weeks.

Kissable Butterflies

School Street Sunflower Farm

At the corner of Linebrook Road and School Street (for google maps type in – 79 Linebrook Road)

Ipswich, Massachusetts

Open 8am to sunset.

The cost is eight dollars during the week, ten dollars on weekends, and the ticket covers a full day. Wristbands are available if you would like to return the same day. Children under five are free.

Instagram: @schoolstreetsunflowers

Facebook: @schoolstreetsunflowers

Thoughtful sayings posted throughout the field ~

“Wherever life plants you, bloom with grace.”

CRANE BEACH PIPING PLOVER UPDATE FROM TRUSTEES OF RESERVATIONS JEFF DENONCOURT

 

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.

Least Tern (left) and Common Tern Crane Beach

IT’S SNOWING IN IPSWICH!

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.

GREAT DININNG EXPERIENCE AT THE BROWN DOG IN IPSWICH!

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.

here.

Great idea and beautiful new trail map! Woman Owned Businesses along the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway Route 133/1A

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.

front

 

Woman Owned Business on the Essex coastal byway

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)

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FABULOUS SET DESIGN FOR GSC “OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES” BY JENNA MCFARLAND LORD–AND MUCH OF THE ART AND FURNISHINGS ARE FOR SALE!!

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 info@gloucesterstage.com

Gloucester downtown harbortown cultural district: Partner Updates | March 2017

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. 

Gloucester downtown harbortown cultural district march 2017 updates CR

What’s New March 2017 updates link (if embed doesn’t show)

*= Founding Partner    Yellow =  NEW partner March 2017      Bold blue= updates

More save the dates — creative placemaking, smart cities, sustainable cities, cultural districts, smartgrowth

High Street Ladies Art Show 2015

The High Street Ladies will hold a show and sale of their artwork at the Hall-Haskell House, 36 South Main Street, Ipswich. An opening reception with light refreshments will be held on Friday, September 25 from 5-8PM.  Saturday and Sunday show hours are 124PM
High Street Ladies 2015.pdf
 
The High Street Ladies are Cara Connors, Marion Frost, and Sarah Winderlin, next-door neighbors and artists who together have shown their watercolors, photography and mixed-media art for the past 10 years. A sampling of their work is on the attached flyer. 
 
We hope to see you there!

 

Help With Bird ID

Pair of wading birdsGMG FOB Jackie Bennett wonders what bird. I think they are willetts, but am not entirely sure. Thanks for sharing!

Jackie writes: 

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.  showing legs

Manchester Essex Field Hockey wins Semi Final!

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.