The online database collaboration of Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society compiles aggregate data from engaged birders. What a staggering quantity of volunteers taking the time to share and record data!
Although Cape Ann towns are not ‘hot spots’
it’s fun to sift through the information and peek at some public competition. The top 100 birders in MA are predominantly male. (We know Cape Ann is a birding hot spot though it may not be a recording hot spot.) There are plenty of reports from scenic North Shore sites: Cranes Beach, Plum Island, Chewbacco Woods, Coolidge Reservation, Eastern Point, and Halibut Point. Less traveled spots such as ‘Lanesville Community garden’ and local cemeteries have a diary entry feel to them and fun to peruse. Checklists indicate the distance and effort taken for any given outing, and the duration, often significant.
There are scores of reports from Gloucester whale watch trips –customers and staff. Look for ‘Stellwagen Bank’ as a listed location. I think I’d like the location column added to one default screen, and a category for whale watching.
eBird: An online database of bird distribution and abundance. eBird, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Available: http://www.ebird.org. (Accessed: Date [July 30, 2016]).
I saw the BIRD SIGHTINGS call out in the Sunday Boston Globe and noted the Plum Island list. (Under ‘Miscellaneous’ there is one bird listed from Gloucester.) I have no idea if that is the MassAudubon customary geographic selection, randomly culled, or all that’s available at the time of publication. I suppose I was looking for a ‘Gloucester’, ‘North Shore’, or ‘Cape Ann’ heading. I am confident the region is represented because folks like Chris Leahy, Dave Rimmer, Essex Greenbelt, other experts, citizen scientists, and fans report from our communities.
*This just in update: Dave Rimmer reports that the piping plover fencing at Good Harbor came down today.
GMG features many bird photographs, from FOBs and contributors especially Kim Smith and Donna Ardizzoni. Here’s an unofficial appreciator’s list with a few Gloucester sightings: ‘sandpipers’ on Long Beach last week. Piping plover (heard/saw),’plovers’ and ‘sandpipers’ on Good Harbor beach on July 25. One (dead) horseshoe crab and 1 sand dollar (alive) off Wingaersheek on July 26. Piping Plover (heard/saw) on Good Harbor this morning. What have you seen?
David Rimmer wrote a big thank you for all the GMG attention. He explained that Mass Wildlife and the Greenbelt Association are working with the City of Gloucester and sends this update:
“There are 4 pairs of piping plovers at Coffins Beach – 2 pairs on the front beach and 2 pairs on the inside beach.
3 pairs are on private land and 1 pair is on Greenbelt land. Mass Wildlife and Greenbelt have been monitoring and managing this area, too, (as with Good Harbor)
at Coffins Beach, one pair has 4 chicks; one pair has 3 chicks; one pair has 2 chicks; and one pair has no chicks.
Greenbelt also has an Osprey Program, which focuses on managing and monitoring nesting Osprey from East Boston to Salisbury.” Greenbelt has set up webcams and platforms. Learn more http://www.ecga.org/what_we_do/osprey_program. Chris Leahy and Marion Larson from Ma Wildlife also mentioned Greenbelt’s fantastic Osprey program.
Gloucester’s Coffins Beach is a long, long stretch of wide open sandy seashore framed by dunes, sea and sky. Growing up, we called it the private side of Wingaersheek. I could hear piping plovers and saw two ‘in the zone’– the intertidal bit that is still wet at low tide and well under water at high tide. I didn’t see birds in the safe retreats by the upper part of the beach, but heard the melodious chirps that inspired their nickname.
Listen to the piping plover
Piping plovers have quite a story. In Massachusetts, the vast majority are south, Cape Cod and the islands. By the close of the 19th century, these birds were near extinction. They rebounded successfully by the 1950’s.
I spoke with Dave Rimmer of Essex County Greenbelt, Marion Larson with Ma Wildlife, Deborah Cramer and Chris Leahy. All of them have updates for GMG which I’ll add next. First,
Chris Leahy, MA Audubon, explained that a second age of precipitous piping plover decline occurred in the 1960’s and 70’s. What do you think it was?
There are more than 110 portraits of the City of Gloucester by the American artist Edward Hopper. There are a few 1923 Good Harbor Beach scenes including one with Jo Nivison seated sketching, and in the distance Bass Rocks and a ‘Hopper’ house. That vista was already a Gloucester motif.
piping plover with Hopper house
Dave with Hopper house
Eleven years before the image of Jo sketching, Hopper painted the other side of Good Harbor (Brier Neck) when he first came to New England. Leon Kroll painted two pedestrian bridges on the Bass Rocks side of the beach that same year.
Note the double bridges on Good Harbor.
Leon Kroll, 1912, oil on canvas, (Good Harbor Beach, Gloucester) 26 x 32
Knoll also painted Niles and Pavilion. He kept returning to Gloucester; eventually his family purchased a home in Folly Cove in 1932. Learn more at Cape Ann Museum and see Kroll works of art on display.
Spread The GMG Love By Sharing With These Buttons: