Deborah Cramer’s book The Narrow Edge galvanizes action to push biomedical rescue for horseshoe crabs and red knots! Revive and Restore convenes Eli Lilly to announce environmental breakthrough

horseshoe crab wingaersheek beach low tide January 21 2018 ©c ryan

Biomedical Breakthrough is win-win for shorebirds and horseshoe crabs:  Deborah Cramer of The Narrow Edge spreads the word

“Jay Bolden, a senior biologist with pharma giant Eli Lilly, has spent the last five years proving a synthetic molecule works as well as horseshoe crab blood in a life-saving medical testIt took a dedicated birder to convince pharma giant Eli Lilly to use a synthetic compound instead of horseshoe crab blood in a mandatory medical test. Now, he hopes the rest of industry will follow…” – from National Audubon article published this March 11 2018  Inside the Biomedical Revolution to Save Horseshoe Crabs and the Shorebirds That Need Them, by Deborah Cramer with photographs by Timothy Fadek

Cramer explained that Ryan Phelan, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Revive and Restore contacted her “to see how this organization might help accelerate institutional and government exploration, acceptance of the synthetic endotoxin test to replace the use of horseshoe crabs…In the book, I’d portrayed how essential the energy rich horseshoe crab eggs are to shorebird migration, and how their numbers decline when they leave for the Arctic, hungry.  I’d described how every human family, and their pets, depend on the horseshoe crab blood test to detect potentially life-threatening endotoxin in vaccines, joint replacements, PET scans, heart stents, IV lines, etc.  And went on to tell the story of the development of the genetically engineered substitute, and the– at the time decade long–that had elapsed without it being accepted or adopted by regulators or the pharmaceutical industry.”  

Revive and Restore’s announcement in the NJ Audubon news this week has more information about these dedicated scientists and exciting news. Deborah Cramer is too modest to spell it out, so I will. Revive and Restore was inspired in part by Cramer’s book, The Narrow Edge, an award-winning read that’s smart and lyrical, and an environmental game changer. Have you read it yet?

 

horseshoe crab verso © cryan wingaersheek beach gloucester mass 20180121_070721.jpg

Here was a substitute test that could leave hundreds of thousands of horseshoe crabs in the water every year, no one was using it.

 

 

The Narrow Edge reveals more unexpected alliances and consequences. Readers learn that hunters have done much to protect wildlife at the edge of the sea through the tax on guns and ammunition. The Federal Duck Stamp that’s required on hunting licenses  provides millions of dollars to support national wildlife refuges (and supports contemporary fine art). Memberships to organizations like National Audubon and donations from wildlife fans, photographers, and birders make a difference.

Cramer had to be trained how to handle a gun for necessary wild and remote travel research.  Gloucester, Cape Ann and North Shore readers: she took the course for her license to carry at Cape Ann Sportsman Club found along Dogtown’s edge where it’s been for over a century. (I’m not certain how Cramer rated there, but a president’s daughter was a good shot. In 1912, Helen Taft, qualified as an “Expert with a Rifle” when she visited the range with her Gloucester friend, Elizbeth Hammond.)

1912 Government rifle range in Dogtown Common

prior gmg post, June 2016Piping Plover Fans: Local author Deborah Cramer on sandpipers is a must read. Oh, and dogs vs.

To learn more about Deborah Cramer, go to www.deborahcramer.com

Continue reading “Deborah Cramer’s book The Narrow Edge galvanizes action to push biomedical rescue for horseshoe crabs and red knots! Revive and Restore convenes Eli Lilly to announce environmental breakthrough”

RED KNOTS OR WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS?, PIPING PLOVERS, BLACK BELLIED PLOVERS, YELLOW LEGS, MONARCHS, AND MORE: CAPE ANN WINGED CREATURE UPDATE

Nine Piping Plovers napping Gloucester copyright Kim SmithNine Piping Plovers Napping 

WONDERFUL creatures are currently migrating through our shores. How blessed are we who live along the Atlantic Flyway. Whether traveling by shore or by sea, there is this great and continual movement of life happening always in our midst.

Many thanks to my friend Jeff Denoncour, Trustees of Reservations Ecologist for the Northeast Region, for assistance with identifying the birds. I met Jeff earlier this summer when he kindly took me out to the tippy far end of Cranes to film the Piping Plovers nesting there.

Additionally we have seven tiny Monarch caterpillars in terrariums. It’s so late in the season for these teeny ones. Last year at this time we were releasing adult butterflies and I worry that they are not going to pupate in time to successfully migrate to Mexico. The caterpillars are too small to handle, but if any of the kids in our community would like to come see, please comment in the comment section or email me at kimsmithdesigns@hotmail.com. The last of the Cecropia Moth caterpillars has not yet pupated and he is fun to watch as well.

Here are some photos to help you identify our migrating feathered friends.

Black bellied Plover Semipalmated Plover Massachusetts copyright Kim Smith

Compare the larger size of the Black-bellied Plover in the foreground with the Semipalmated Plover and Semiplamated Sandpiper in the background

Yellow Legs

Red Knot non breeding plumage copyright Kim Smith

The above group of four photos are of either a pair of Red Knots or White-rumped Sandpipers in non breeding plumage. The White-rumped Sandpiper is thought to migrate an even greater distance than the Red Knot, from Canada’s Arctic Islands to the Southern tip of South America, and some further still to islands near the Antarctic Peninsula. These shy birds did not allow for human interest and the photos were taken at some distance.

Juvenile Laughing Gull copyright Kim Smith

Juvenile Laughing Gull

Laughing Gull copyright Kim SmithAdult Laughing Gull

READ MORE HERE

Continue reading “RED KNOTS OR WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS?, PIPING PLOVERS, BLACK BELLIED PLOVERS, YELLOW LEGS, MONARCHS, AND MORE: CAPE ANN WINGED CREATURE UPDATE”

BREAKING NEWS: Listen live! Deborah Cramer being interviewed right now by WNYC Leonard Lopate. Gloucester and Cape Ann wildlife- sandpipers red knots, horseshoe crabs- featured

Follow this link to listen in to  big interview with renowned 30 year + radio host, Leonard Lopate. WNYC New York public radio reaches 20 million people a month.

I’ll add the audio when it’s there.

AUDIO LINK http://goo.gl/q6114p

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Leonard Lopate welcomes poets, painters, politicians, novelists, dancers, Nobel and Pulitzer winners, filmmakers and actors to talk about their work each afternoon on WNYC’s acclaimed arts and culture interview program. The Leonard Lopate Show has been the proud recipient of three James Beard Awards and three Associated Press Awards.

Deborah Cramer bird watch report: Piping plovers, oyster catcher, red knots sandpipers

Deborah Cramer update related to the Narrow Edge GMG post:

“Piping plovers are also on Coffin’s Beach, an oyster catcher has come into Essex Bay, and in a few weeks, and right now the red knots are up in the Arctic nesting.  They’ll be heading back later this summer, and some will pause to refuel in Essex Bay.”

 

David Eliot Gould’s 1895 entry on piping plovers reads like the summer of 2016:

“From many of its resorts along the Atlantic Coast, where in former days it was most abundant, it has been driven by the advance of fashion and the influx of the summer’s passing population, until it is now found chiefly on the more retired parts of the coast where it is most free from molestation.”  

I’ve added the illustration. The artist, “Ernest” Sheppard, illustrated scientific and natural history, primarily birds, including History of North American Birds in 1874.  He was on the staff of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia; in 1969 he was one member of the 3 man ornithological committee of the Academy that pleaded for more funding and care in their department. So, what did they ask for “to ensure the preservation of the best collection of birds on the continent, and, with one exception, the largest in the world” ?

First they recounted recent acquisitions such as a rare egg of the Great Auk. Then they explained that the repository required more funding,  space, display,  inventory systems, and conservation (a tricky endeavor with these specimens.) Insects were on the warpath! Poison was effective.

The 2016 restoration of the Civil War coat and display options may resonate.

Sheppard
illustration from the 1895 book by David Eliot Gould, North American Shore Birds; a history of the snipes, sandpipers, plovers and their allies, inhabiting the beaches and marshes, illustration by Edwin Sheppard.

 

From the ornithological committee’s submission to the annual report, excerpted from Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, Volume 21, 1869

1869 PA Academy

 

 

 

 

Author Deborah Cramer asks were there plentiful horseshoe crabs in Gloucester? Leads to Winslow Homer, John Bell, and Cher Ami

Deborah Cramer thanks Good Morning Gloucester for mentioning her book and asks for photographs and stories about horseshoe crabs, otherwise known as the nearly scene stealing co-stars from her inspiring book on red knots (sandpiper shorebirds), The Narrow Edge.

“I’m in the midst of a project right now trying to uncover the almost forgotten history of the whereabouts of horseshoe crabs in Gloucester.  I’ve heard some fantastic stories, like one from a man who used to go down to Lobster Cove after school and find horseshoe crabs so plentiful he could fill a dory. Do you think there’s a value to putting up a few pictures on GMG and asking people to send in their recollections of beaches, coves where they used to see them in abundance?”

We do. Please send in photos or stories if you have them about horseshoe crabs in Gloucester or the North Shore for Deborah Cramer’s project. Write in comments below and/or email cryan225@gmail.com

Here’s one data point. Look closely at this 1869 Winslow Homer painting. Can you spot the horseshoe crabs? Can you identify the rocks and beach?

Winslow Homer Rocky Coast and Gulls (manchester)
Winslow Homer, Rocky Coast and Gulls, 1869, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, installed in room #234 with so many other Homers (Fog Warning, All’s Well, Driftwood, …)
zoomed into horseshoe crabs (detail )
(zoomed into horseshoe crabs)

cr 2015 mfa

 

While reading The Narrow Edge, and looking at Kim Smith’s Piping Plover photographs, I thought about Raid on a Sand Swallow Colony (How Many Eggs?) 1873 by Homer and how some things change while much remains the same.When my sons were little, they were thrilled with the first 1/3 or so of Swiss Family Robinson.  As taken as they were with the family’s ingenuity, adventure, and tree house–they recoiled as page after page described a gorgeous new bird, promptly shot. They wouldn’t go for disturbing eggs in a wild habitat. The title ascribed to this Homer, perhaps the eager query from the clambering youngest boy, feels timeless. Was the boys’ precarious gathering sport, study, or food? What was common practice with swallows’ eggs in the 1860s and 70s? Homer’s birds are diminutive and active, but imprecise. Homer sometimes combined place, figures, subject and themes. One thing is clear: the composition, line and shadow are primed and effective for an engraving.

 

Homer watercolor 1873

Harper’s Weekly published the image on June 13, 1875. Artists often drew directly on the edge grain of boxwood and a master engraver (Lagrade in this case) removed the wood from pencil and wash lines.

Winslow Homer

 

2016. Wingaersheek dunes and nests 140+ years later.

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Continue reading “Author Deborah Cramer asks were there plentiful horseshoe crabs in Gloucester? Leads to Winslow Homer, John Bell, and Cher Ami”