May 9, 2013 § Leave a Comment
April 26, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Habitat Gardening Post #2 ~ Beauty in Our Midst
Blooming now along the water’s edge and wetlands is our native Pussy Willow (Salix discolor). The first photo is cropped (click to view larger) so that you can easily see the Pussy Willow tree on the far right at the pond’s edge– a pretty pale yellowish-green. The small tree, or large shrub, can either easily be pruned to a standard shape, or allowed to grow in its more unruly, wildy way. Prune the branches down to the ground and the following year you will be rewarded with straight shoots for cutting and bringing indoors. Salix dicolor grows easily in average, wet, and moist areas, and grows best in full- to part-sun.
Pussy Willows are pollinated by wind and by insects and produce a very high-sugar nectar. They are an important early food source for native bees. One Pussy Willow catkin contains about 200 fruit-bearing flowers. Cardinals and finches find the flower buds tasty, too. Willows are dioecious, which means some twigs produce beautiful golden stamens (male parts), while others bear slender greenish pistils (female parts).
I often see Mourning Cloak butterflies around the berm between Niles Pond and Brace Cove; the leaves of the Pussy Willow are a larval host plant (caterpillar food plant) for both the Mourning Cloak and Viceroy butterflies. The Mourning Cloak is one of the earliest butterflies seen in our region because they overwinter in the adult form.
The bark and roots of Pussy Willow contains a compound called salicin, and the herb is used similarly to aspirin in treating mild fevers, cold, infections, headaches, and pain. Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is a synthetic replacement for salicin.
Mourning Cloak Butterfly nectaring from milkweed, image courtesy Google image search
March 2, 2013 § 1 Comment
An embarrassment of riches ~ Whether dawn or dusk, when standing on the footpath between Niles Pond and Brace Cove, sometimes I can’t decide which direction to point my camera. When that happens I focus the video camera in one direction and turn and face the opposite direction with the still camera.
This batch of photos was taken on a chilly afternoon in early January, looking first toward the pond, and then heading down to the beach at Brace Cove after a wedge of eight Mute Swans flew overhead and landed in the cove.
The bevy was comprised of six cygnets and parents. The bill of the adult Mute Swan is vivid red-orange whereas the cygnet’s bill ranges in shades from dark gray through muted browns. A black knob at the base of the cob’s (male) bill bulges prominently during mating season; the rest of the year it is often difficult to distinguish pen from cob. Anyone who has ever encountered a hissing, snarling, gnarling, and whistling Mute Swan wonders why they are called mute. Mute Swans lack the vocal trumpeting when compared to other members of the genus. The most beautiful sound the Mute Swan makes is the vibrant throbbing of their wingbeats in flight. I believe this sound is unique to Mute Swans. Click photos to view larger.
Eight Mute Swans (Cygnus olor) at Brace Cove, Gloucester
March 1, 2013 § Leave a Comment
In several places along the footpath, there are cuts clear through the granite dune and a sandy beach is forming on the Niles Pond side. Shrubs, wildflowers, and ground covers that help retain the sides of the causeway have been uprooted and washed away.
To read more about what makes this narrowest strip of land dividing Niles Pond and Brace Cove so unique, see JoeAnn Hart’s beautiful story about Niles Pond.
Niles Pond and Brace Cove Footpath Storm Damage
March 1, 2013 § Leave a Comment
January 9, 2013 § 1 Comment
Earlier in the month of November I had filmed three herons feeding simultaneously—the most I typically see at Good Harbor are two at a time. That footage is lost, and perhaps it is just as well because it may not have been the most interesting as the focal length was some distance in order to capture all three in the frame. I found it captivating to see this lone heron feeding alongside the seagulls and ducks, not an event I have often seen. Whenever a dog approached or some other imagined disturbance startled the birds, all would take flight; the seagulls and ducks dispersed and the heron invariably headed to the opposite end of the marsh. This went on for several hours, back and forth, up and down the salt marsh. The Great Blue Heron is majestic in flight, with deep powerful wing beats, and a wingspan of five and a half feet to six and a half feet. Oftentimes difficult to find in the cameras’ lens, the heron’s subdued blue-gray and brown plumage is perfect camouflage against the rocky shoreline, particularly in the pre-dawn light and early hours of sunrise.
“Pavane in F-sharp minor, Opus 50,” was composed by Gabriel Fauré in 1887. Fauré’s “Pavane” obtains it slow processional rhythm from the Spanish and Italian court dance of the same name. The earliest known pavane was published in Venice in 1508 by Ottaviano Putrucci and is a dignified partner dance. The original music seems to have been fast, but like many dances, became slower over time. For this film I looked for a recording approximately 8 minutes in length, although Fauré’s “Pavane” is more typically six minutes long. The origin of the term is unknown; possibilities include from the Spanish pavón meaning peacock.
The following is the same video, only shared on vimeo. I find in both vimeo and youtube you get a better viewing experience if you watch full frame, but i am curious to know what my readers prefer–vimeo or youtube. Please let me know if you have a moment. Thank you!
December 20, 2012 § Leave a Comment
JoeAnn Hart is the author of the novels Addled and the forthcoming Float (Ashland Creek Press, February 2013). Float, set in coastal New England, involves the fishing industry, conceptual art, jellyfish, marital woes, and plastics in the ocean.
Folklore has it that Niles Pond was once in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the closest body of fresh water to the ocean, but I can’t verify it. No matter. Not only does it seem true, but as with other Guinness records, such as the heaviest weight lifted by tongue (27.5 lbs.), it also seems impossible. Yet there it is. This 38 acre pond is separated from the salty Atlantic by a causeway just wide enough for a footpath. There is Niles on one side, neatly defined and calm, and on the other, the pounding surf of Brace Cove. To stand between the two is to feel washed in conflicting emotions. I walk this route with Daisy, my fuzzy mutt who believes herself to be a famed hunter of ducks and likes to splash into the dark pond up to her sternum to stir them up.
Niles is named after the farmer who once owned Eastern Point, the small spit of Gloucester land where I live. Of the many unique features of the intertwined land and waterscapes here, Niles is nature’s odd duck. It is a Massachusetts Great Pond, meaning that it is like a Common, where citizens have the right to graze their sheep, except this Common is made of water. Instead of grazing, it is reserved for hunting, fishing, ice-making, and recreation. Duck hunting is no longer feasible because of all the homes built up along the shore, and fishing is also a moot point because the perch have been eaten by the snapping turtles. As for ice, Cape Pond Ice (“the coolest guys in town”) churns it out for the fishing boats these days. That leaves recreation. I’ve never seen anyone but Daisy swim in the pond, what with those snappers, but there are skaters when there is ice. There was no ice last winter, speaking of breaking records, but that is a topic for another time. The point is, Niles is left mostly in the hands of wildlife, as nature intended.
Phragmites at Niles
But what does nature intend? Does it intend for the pond to be choked by phragmites, the feathery reed that is prowling along the perimeter? In geologic time, Niles was once part of the ocean, an extension of Brace Cove. Over the years, rocks rolled to shore, sand accumulated, and the dune got higher until one day it was shut off from the sea. A natural spring bubbled up and slowly replaced the salt water with fresh. In the 1830’s, sensing that the ocean might want to stake a claim again, Farmer Niles reinforced the 400-foot dune with granite to preserve the pond for ice-cutting and “ornament.” It remains a prime resting place for migratory seabirds, and a source of fresh water for the stealthy mammals of the land, including fisher cats and raccoons. At any given time, grebes, cormorants, and ducks float on the surface, while herons and egrets stand around on one leg pretending to be reeds. The mute swans are probably a human introduction, but they are hardly mute. They hiss and snort and otherwise act aggressively because people feed them, which confuses wild animals and makes them testy. That, and the fact that the turtles pull their cygnets from below and eat them. But the phragmites are more aggressive than either swan or snapper.
According to Fish and Wildlife, non-native phragmites appeared in coastal ports in the eastern United States in the 19th century, probably as seeds clinging to the hulls of ships. Maybe humankind’s natural purpose on earth is to help immobile species move around the globe. It is hard to figure out where we fit in, but in this aspect, we’ve succeeded. The rapid spread of phragmites in the 20thcentury is attributed to habitat disturbance and eutrophication. Raise your hand if you know what that is. It’s over fertilization from the nitrates from lawn fertilizers and phosphates in laundry detergent seeping into the pond. Phragmites are usually an indicator of a wetlands system out of balance. Well, aren’t we all?
Daisy on the path
Niles Pond wants to grow up to be Niles Marsh. Humans want it to stay a pond, as, I’m sure, do those migratory seabirds. A group of residents is working to have the phragmites dredged. But they’re tenacious plants, with stolons like bullwhips. The upside of this tenacity is that they might hold the earth in place when the Atlantic comes calling for the pond. But, again, that is a topic for another time.
Mallards and Cormorants
Daisy and I do not think of all this when we walk. Her mind is on ducks, mine on “ornament.” It’s particularly hard getting out of the house this time of year. I have to leave unfinished work behind in order to beat the early-setting sun, but Daisy and I need the exercise and the mental cleansing. When we get to the causeway, she scrambles down the steep bank of Farmer Niles’ stones in search of her ducks, while I, shedding myself of the day’s challenges, walk that narrow path between internal calm and unleashed energy.
Sunset at Niles
Reblogged from Newfound, the online journal about place for which JoeAnn is a monthly contributor.
December 6, 2012 § Leave a Comment
To create a double exposure select the Multiple Exposure mode in the shooting menu. Take your first shot, and if acceptable, press ok. The first photo is now visible in both the viewfinder and the LCD monitor, which allows you to easily compose the finished photo. Take the second shot and press ok to exit. If you do not like the second shot, you have the option to retry.
Multiple Exposure shooting mode allows you to change focal length, degree of focus, and aperture between shots. I absolutely adore this feature and can think of a hundred thousand images. Creating double exposures is always possible post production although I prefer the ephemerality of composing in the moment.
Over the past several months I have spent many mornings at Eastern Point trying to film the resident swans in their pre-dawn flight. My hope was to capture 20-30 seconds of swans silhouetted against the red rising sun. For the most part I have been unsuccessful and have only managed a mere snippet or two. The swans eye me warily and then head to the far side of the pond. Yesterday morning I went to my usual observation point to experiment with the Fujifilm X-E1 multiple exposure shooting mode. Perhaps because I was so focused on my exposure experiment and wasn’t paying a lick of attention to them or perhaps because I did not have my tripod with me (I am convinced now more than ever after today that the swans think my tripod is a rifle), but for whatever reason, two decided to groom themselves within arms reach.
In this image you can see the typical first photo from my little experiment.
November 30, 2012 § Leave a Comment
While filming B-roll of gorgeous herons, ducks, geese, and gulls this morning, the homies were particularly cooperative. Click images to view larger.
Come to think of it, the sunbeams, the herons, the pearly pink-hued surf caught in the dawn light, and sand turned-brilliant-gold were also cooperating. It must be my good fortune! Several nights ago on my way home from work I purchased my first ever lottery ticket and, although unfortunate in that I did not win the half billion dollars, I feel fortunate everyday, for our shared beauty that is Gloucester.
October 31, 2012 § Leave a Comment
A Seagrass Fantasy for your Halloween enjoyment!
Filmed at Brace Cove during Hurricane Sandy, October 29, 2012. Created for Good Morning Gloucester. Music composed by Camille Saint-Saëns ~ Carnival of the Animals.
October 14, 2012 § 1 Comment
Stills from my B-roll. Click images to view larger.
One of the most gorgeous, interesting, and enjoyable aspects of filmmaking I find is shooting B-roll. I am swamped with design work, organizing lecture programs, and hoping to finish the edits on my Black Swallowtail film very soon, but there is no better time of year to shoot B-roll for my Monarch film than autumn in Gloucester; the light is simply stunning, and what I like to refer to as “atmospheric.”
B-roll further tells the story in a beautifully subtle, and alternatively not so subtle, manner and gives the project a sense of place. While filming and waiting, for example, for birds to take flight (whether swans or homies) I have my still camera readily available.
The most extraordinarily beautiful things occur spontaneously. I feel so very fortunate to see, and in turn share, the natural world through the camera lens. Only several weeks ago while filming a spider’s web in a tree, capturing the filaments of silky webbing dancing in the light of the setting sun (with the pinky schooner Ardelle and the Dog Bar Breakwater in the background!), the web’s maker came cavorting through the scene, with a capture of her own!
October 8, 2012 § 1 Comment
The video that was posted on GMG yesterday, The Problem with Catch Shares, from www.fisherynation.com, provided a link to this very handy and very easy petition, which took all of thirty seconds to fill and to send. Learn more about catch shares and Fair Fish.
After signing the petition, an opportunity is also provided to conveniently share on twitter and FB.
Protect Jobs and Coastal Communities, Take Action to Stop Privatized Fishing Programs
Under the guise of conservation, a system called “catch shares” is being pushed by the government and larger members of the fishing industry alike to make a public resource, our fish, like private property. Traditional, small-scale fishermen are being pushed out of the industry as these shares are handed out for free with most going to larger, industrial fishing operations. Worldwide, catch share programs have meant fewer jobs for fishemen – and the effects spread to whole communities – fewer fishermen means less dollars for local shops, restaurants and more. For consumers, it can mean lower quality fish and a further reliance on industrially processed foods.
Privatization leads to consolidation – not conservation. Tell the government to stop privatizing our oceans now and save our traditional fishermen and coastal fishing communities!
The Problem with Catch Shares is a very brief video (4 minutes), which explains in a nutshell the problems with catch shares, which even I, as a non-fishing type woman can understand. Although not a fisherwoman, I want to help protect the people and jobs in our community, and believe that when people come together they can make an impact. I love to cook and serve fresh fish for my family, and when purchasing fresh fish for our table, I want to know that it comes from the hard working local fishermen, rather than supporting some enormous corporate entity. Don’t you?
The following is the message that will be sent to Senators Kerry and Brown and Representative Tierney:
Turning the right to fish into a tradable commodity in the private market has grave consequences for coastal communities. Under the guise of conservation and economic efficiency, many fishermen, their crew, and those in related communities are likely to lose their jobs. At a time when our nation faces a high unemployment rate, we should not deliberately be putting more people out of work.
The privatization approach to catch shares gives away public control of our fisheries resources and favors big business in the initial handouts. This makes it more difficult for small-scale fishermen to stay in the fishery and for new entrants to join.
To avoid this, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration should retain control of our fisheries resource for the benefit of the public and allocate access to it in a fair and equitable manner that respects historical fishing communities. A Fair Fish program would allow fishermen to rent the resource in the same way that other public resources are managed. As shares are retired, they would be returned to the government who could keep costs at a reasonable level for new entrants and those seeking to rent additional quota. Programs could be designed to benefit fish, fishermen and the public.
September 21, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Click the photo to view larger and you will see the little Monarch flakes heading into the cherry tree. The clustering Monarchs are well-camoflouged by the autumn foliage nonetheless, their silhouettes are clearly visible in the setting sun.
Another passel of Monarchs poured onto the Point Thursday at dusk, carried in by the warm southerly breeze. Overnight the wind shifted, coming in from the northeast, and by day break Friday morning, the Monarchs had flown from the trees, carried to shores further south by the blustery tailwind.
August 11, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Tomorrow, Sunday, at noon, is the dedication of the Gus Foote Park. Following the dedication, I will be giving a mini-talk about the butterfly gardens along the walk. A yummy clam chowder tasting is planned, provided by the Gloucester House Restaurant. At 12:45, we’ll Walk the Walk with Mayor Kirk. The theme of Sunday’s walk is Gloucester’s maritime heritage.
Sunny skies are predicted for tomorrow–perfect weather for strolling through the gardens while listening to sea stories. I hope you’ll come join us!
From left to right Peter Sollogub, Principal; Ethan Lacy, Chris Muskopf, Tim Mansfield, and Rosie Weinberg.
Gus Foote, now 82 years young, is a retired Gloucester City Councilman. He represented Ward 2 for more than three decades. In 2011, Gus was reappointed by Governor Deval Patrick to serve another five-year term on the Gloucester Housing Authority .
Gus Foote Image Courtesy GMG 2009
July 20, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Congratulations and thank you to Mayor Kirk, Sarah Garcia, Chris Muskopf, Jay Ramsey, and including everyone involved (there are many, many more than named here–these are the people I have had the pleasure to work with on the project) for having the vision, courage, tenacity, and talent to create Gloucester’s Harbor Walk.
The Harbor Walk is nearing completion. Despite the plethora of unforeseeable problems with the landfill at I4-C2, and current drought, the walk looks gorgeous. Come, take a stroll!
Gus Foote Park Last Year at this Time. What a difference–the build phase of the project was accomplished in only a few short months!
I will be bringing you more ‘before and after’ photos, as well as information about the native plants habitat gardens (and how you can translate that information to your own garden), in the coming months.
May 18, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Video Walking Tour of Gloucester Harbor Walk with Good Morning Gloucester creator Joey Ciaramitaro
May 18, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Chris Muskopf and the newly planted Tulip Trees at St. Peter’s Square
Friday late afternoon I took a stroll along the Harbor Walk to have a look at the newly planted gardens. I heard a friendly hello from behind and there was Chris Muscopf, primary architect and project manager for the Harbor Walk, stopping by to check on the gardens, too. Chris was later meeting JD MacEachern and they were on their way to a running race at Good Harbor Beach.
Chris Muskopf and JD MacEachern
Chris lives in Jamaica Plain with his wife and young daughter Beatrix and rides his bike, or runs, to his job at Cambridge Seven Associates nearly everyday, rain or shine. I’ve gotten to know Chris a little bit over the past year and he is an all around great guy, with a wonderful sense of humor. Chris is working tirelessly, and always with much enthusiasm, to make the Harbor Walk a success. Stop in and see the work in progress. I think you’ll agree, the Harbor Walk is coming along beautifully!
May 18, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Jay Ramsey with his crew Mauriocio Tuquerres and Mike Rogers planting hawthorn Crategus viridis ’Winter King’ at Gus Foote Park.
Last week Jay Ramsey and his crew planted the garden at I4-C2 and two trees at Gus Foote Park. Jay (Farm Creek Landscaping) suggested the hawthorn ‘Winter King’ and project architect Chris Muskopf and I agreed it was a great suggestion. Jay has had good success with ‘Winter King;’ notably with the several he planted along a windswept bank of the Annisquam River. ‘Winter King’ is relatively disease and pest free (atypical for members of the Rose Family) and is noted for its profusion of white flowers in May and tight clusters of bright red fruits that persist through the winter. The fruits are usually not eaten by birds until late winter. Crategus viridis is tolerant of poor soils and urban conditions. Crataegus means strength and viridis refers to the greenish bark of the species, however ‘Winter King’s’ bark is more silvery.
May 6, 2012 § 1 Comment
April 17, 2012 § Leave a Comment
You’ve heard me talking about my butterfly documentary (for Months now!). I began filming the black swallowtails last July and am only now close to premiering my film. I am so excited to share this project with you and hope you enjoy the trailer.
My daughter Liv and our dear friend Kathleen Adams collaborated on a beautiful rendition of “Simple Gifts.” The music in the background is an improv interlude from their recording session.
Coming soon: Documentary about the Life Story of the Black Swallowtail Butterfly, from egg, to caterpillar, to chryrsalis, to adult. Filmed in a garden and along the seashore, Gloucester, Massachusetts. Featuring the black swallowtail butterfly, wildflowers, pollinators, the sun, the garden, and more.
March 2, 2012 § 1 Comment
Round Robin Red Breast
What’s that you say? A flock of robins, in winter?
Yes, yes! Sweetly singing liquid notes. A flock in my garden!
What does a hungry round robin find to eat in a winter garden?
Red, red winterberries and holly, rime-sweetend crabapples, and orchard fruits.
And how does a winter robin keep warm?
Why, blanketed together with air-puffed fluffed feathers.
How long will they stay, how long can they last in the frost?
Only as there are fruits on the bough and berries on the bush.
Round robin red breast, silhouette in bare limb,
Calling away winter, cheer, cheerio, and cheer-up!
Each year we are visited by a breathtakingly beautiful migrant flock of American Robins. This year they arrived on leap day, many weeks later than is typical. There wasn’t much to eat as the Mocking Birds and Catbirds have eaten nearly all the berries on the Dragon Lady hollies. Fortunately, the winterberry had held its fruit. Unfortunately, the aggressive and pesky European Starlings were competing for what little fruit remained.
The widely distributed and beloved American Robin (Turdus migratorius) hardly needs an introduction. The American Robin is the largest member of the thrush family—thrushes are known for their liquid birdsongs and the robin is no exception. Their unmistakable presence is made known when, by early spring, the flocks have dispersed and we see individual robins strutting about the landscape with fat worms dangling. Unmistakable, too, is the male’s beautiful birdsongs, signaling to competing males to establish their territory, as well as to entice prospective females.Read more about the American Robin including suggestions of native plants that provide nourishment for resident and nomad.
February 21, 2012 § Leave a Comment
There is beautiful assortment of waterfowl inhabiting the harbor. While there filming the birds and trying to get closer (ever closer!), I’ve become fascinated with the graphic industrial compositions from atop and from below the pier. For example, the above snapshot of Gloucester’s iconic Paint Factory, through the piling’s grid.
February 20, 2012 § 2 Comments
The Jodrey State Pier is named after Everett R. Jodrey, a barber by trade and activist sympathetic to the fishing industry. Jodrey envisioned a changing waterfront and eventually won support to construct a state fish pier in Gloucester. The money was appropriated in 1931; the pier opened for business in 1938.
February 12, 2012 § 2 Comments
The Public Trust Doctrine is a legal principle that dates back nearly 2000 years, which holds that the air, the sea and the shore belong not to any one person, but rather to the public at large.
Yesterday my husband, our dog, and I were walking along Wonson’s Cove through the muck of the low tide zone when a woman approached us, at first with a friendly hello. We smiled back and said hello. She immediately became confrontational and informed us that we were trespassing, demanding that we turn around and leave. We politely said that we believed we had the right to walk across the beach especially as we were heading to the Wonson’s public landing. She became livid and said she was going to call the police. I said okay, call the police. She then made some very rude remarks.
I do not wish to inconvenience or offend any property owner however, I had my camera and we were clearly only there to enjoy the great beauty of the cove. We were not littering or damaging the beach in anyway, as a matter of fact, large amounts of trash washes ashore and accumulates at that little beach and I have often come home with armfuls.
What has been your experience in a similar situation?
Below I’ve posted the Public Trust Doctrine of Chapter 91, The Public Waterfront Act, and underlined the information I think is particularly pertinent for photographers and for all lovers of nature. The complete chapter is posted in the Read More section and here is the link to the Mass DEP, or Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection page that highlights Chapter 91.
Through Chapter 91, the Commonwealth seeks to preserve and protect the rights of the public, and to guarantee that private uses of tidelands and waterways serve a proper public purpose:
Preserves pedestrian access along the water’s edge for fishing, fowling and navigation and, in return for permission to develop non-water dependent projects on Commonwealth tidelands, provides facilities to enhance public use and enjoyment of the water.
Seeks to protect and extend public strolling rights, as well as public navigation rights.
Protects and promotes tidelands as a workplace for commercial fishing, shipping, passenger transportation, boat building and repair, marinas and other activities for which proximity to the water is either essential or highly advantageous.
Protects Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, ocean sanctuaries and other ecologically sensitive areas from unnecessary encroachment by fill and structures.
Protects the rights of waterfront property owners to approach their property from the water.
Encourages the development of city and town harbor plans to dovetail local waterfront land use interests with the Commonwealth’s statewide concerns.
Assures removal or repair of unsafe or hazardous structures.
Read More… « Read the rest of this entry »
February 11, 2012 § 4 Comments
My favorite places and time of day to walk our sweet terrier Miss Rosie Money Penny (also know as Rosie, Rosa, Rosalicious, Rosalita, Rosebud, Rose-Muffin, Rosie-Pie…) is at sunset and all around my East Gloucester neighborhood and water’s edge of Eastern Point. The above photo was taken from the narrow strip of land that separates Niles Pond from Brace Cove. It is believed that at one point, not too long ago, Niles Pond was a lagoon, which was sealed off by rising sand and rock. Over time, it became a fresh water pond, fed by springs and rainfall.
Surrounded by reflected light from the sea, sunsets are gorgeous from nearly any Cape Ann vantage point. Luminous light is made all the more atmospheric from moisture in the air; combine that when seen through the golden lambent glow of sun’s low slanting rays– I call that heaven on earth! Click photo to see full size image.
February 8, 2012 § 1 Comment
An atypical chocolate brown duck–possibly a hybrid between a domestic duck and a Mallard, filmed at Wonson’s Cove, Rocky Neck.
February 7, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Coming Soon: Life Story of the Black Swallowtail Butterfly tells the story of the ubiquitous and stunning Black Swallowtail butterfly.
My new documentary film captures the beauty and mystery of the Black Swallowtail, through all its life stages, and in it’s surrounding habitats. I think you will be amazed and captivated by this garden-variety and seemingly ordinary, extraordinary butterfly!
From Egg to Caterpillar to Chrysalis to Adult
One of several preferred Black Swallowtail habitats—Gloucester’s sandy wildflower meadow at Good Harbor Beach. The milkweed provides nectar for swallowtails on the wing and Queen Anne’s Lace is a food plant of the Black Swallowtail caterpillars.
January 28, 2012 § Leave a Comment
The point of the Aftermath video is to showcase the litter, not who owns the pond. Thank you Daniel for pointing out the litter and thank you Anonymous for sharing that Niles Pond has Massachusetts Great Pond Status. And thank you to all who wrote comments-it just goes to show how much we all care about our beautiful Niles Pond and surrounding environment.
Irrespective of who owns the pond, let’s all please not litter, and if you do see trash left behind, clean it up, and if you can’t manage the job yourself, email the wonderfully good eggs Donna Ardizzoni and her One Hour at a Time Gang for the really tough jobs.
From the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection website: Chapter 91 comprises four basic areas of geographical jurisdiction. Any activity that takes place in one of the hot link areas listed below requires Chapter 91 authorization. The areas are:
Flowed Tidelands – Any project located in, on, over or under tidal waters seaward of the present mean high water (MHW) shoreline. Jurisdiction in this case extends seaward three miles, to the state limit of territorial jurisdiction.
Filled Tidelands – The limit on filled tidelands is: A.) Outside Designated Port Areas, the first public way or 250 feet from mean high water, whichever is farther landward and B.) Inside Designated Port Areas, the historic MHW shoreline (i.e., all filled areas).
Great Ponds – Any project located in, on, over or under the water of a great pond. A great pond is defined as any pond or lake that contained more than 10 acres in its natural state. Ponds or lakes presently larger than 10 acres are presumed to be great ponds, unless the applicant provides unequivocal evidence to the contrary. Ponds 10 or more acres in their natural state, but which are now smaller, are still considered great ponds.
Non-Tidal Rivers and Streams – Projects located in, on, over, or under any non-tidal, navigable river or stream on which public funds have been expended either upstream or downstream within the river basin, except for any portions not normally navigable during any season by any vessel. Additionally, the Connecticut River, the Merrimack River and portions of the Westfield River are within jurisdiction.
Chapter 91: An Overview and Summary ~ Read more to find out how Great Pond Status directly affects Niles Pond: « Read the rest of this entry »
January 26, 2012 § 2 Comments
Isn’t Niles Pond gorgeous? I posted the photo below on Good Morning Gloucester blog on Sunday; the pond looks especially pristine and sparkly in the snow and ice.
The following day Good Morning Gloucester follower and Eastern Point resident Daniel D. wrote to say, “It does look beautiful, and as a Resident of Eastern Point, I love when others can share in the beauty of our neighborhood. Unfortunately, the picture for today should be all the cans, boxes, and trash left behind by these people when they finished skating that day, all glaringly standing out as the snow melts in that exact spot… Hopefully they read this comment and then quickly come and clean it up before the ice melts this week and it all sinks to the bottom of our lovely pond. I’m Just Saying….”
Hey guys—it looked as though you were having a great time, but then had to leave very suddenly—with trash, half a dozen pucks, and even a shovel left behind. Perhaps there was an emergency—whatever the case—could someone who was playing hockey at Niles on Sunday please come and clean up the mess. I picked up much, of what I could reach, but the embankment is muddy and slippery and you will need tall waders to reach the plastic bottles and shovel. Thank you for your consideration.
As Daniel D. correctly stated, all the trash is going to sink to the bottom. Many species of waterfowl dive for vegetable matter and the seeds, stems, roots, and bulbs of submerged aquatic plants. They can easily became entangled in trash. The last shot of the bird’s nest is meant to symbolize the pond’s fragile ecosystem.
Clip of the stunning Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) at 3 minutes 45 seconds.
January 15, 2012 § 1 Comment
Filmed at Oakes Cove, Rocky Neck, November 7, 2011. “Count on Me” by Bruno Mars, from the album Doo-Wops and Hooligans.
Oakes Cove is a small, protected cove located on the southwestern side of Rocky Neck within Gloucester’s Inner Harbor. The “best friends” were unaware they were being filmed. I loved that they were so familiar with the ledge that they knew the exact location of the perfect perch for watching the setting sun together.
Total length 6 minutes, 20 seconds
January 10, 2012 § Leave a Comment
On that balmiest of all January Saturday’s past, Tom and I walked along the Rocky Neck beaches. The Flynn’s Beach (at Oakes Cove) swan did not at all appreciate the interest shown by our curious pooch.
The Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) is native to Europe and Asia and is an introduced species to North America. Called “mute” because they are less vocal than other swan species, the Mute Swan is also distinguished from other swan species by its prominent knob atop the bill. The male swan is called a cob, the female, a pen, and the young, cygnet. The female is slightly smaller than the male, and her knob is less pronounced.
Sand Bath ~ Note the grains of sand around the swan’s bill (click photo for larger view) in the above photo; the swan appeared to be using the sand as an aid in cleaning it’s feathers.
January 9, 2012 § 1 Comment
January 5, 2012 § Leave a Comment
2012 Rocky Neck Plunge with a pre-plunge breakfast hosted by Passports Restaurant and rally at Sister Felicia’s home. Featuring The Ciaramitaro Family, Donna Ardizzoni and her daughter Erica, E.J., Ed, Mayor Kirk, Nicole, Alicia, Paul, the van Ness Family, and too many more brave souls to mention all by name. Cathy McCarthy and friends set up boxes by the entry to the beach and a truckload of food was collected and donated to The Open Door Food Pantry.
Included is a postlude video short titled New Year’s Day Bath ~ Swan Style.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Filmed at Flynn’s Beach on Oakes Cove Gloucester, Massachusetts.
Beethoven Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Opus 68 Pastoral
Beethoven Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Opus 125 Choral Finale (Ode to Joy)
Performed by the London Symphony Orchestra
December 29, 2011 § Leave a Comment
REMEMBERING JOE GARLAND
Mr. KERRY: Mr. President, over the course of the past half-century, Joe Garland served as the unofficial historian of Gloucester, MA—its fishermen, its boats and its life. But Joe Garland not only wrote history in his books and newspaper column—he was part of history, guiding his beloved hometown through headwinds and troubled waters. Joe Garland passed away August 30, and his family and friends gathered October 1 for a memorial service. I would like to share with the Senate the thoughts and memories of Joe that I shared with those who were part of that service honoring this great champion of all things Gloucester.
If you visit the Fisherman’s Memorial on Gloucester’s waterfront on a stormy winter day, the statue of the Heroic Mariner seems to be steering the whole town into the wind toward fair weather. And if you look closely at the statue, you can almost see Joe Garland in its carved granite face, full of grit and determination, guiding his be- loved Gloucester through headwinds and troubled waters.
‘‘Beating to windward’’ is the art of sailing into the wind. ‘‘Beating to Windward’’ is also the name of the column Joe wrote so many years for the Gloucester Times. And it is no surprise to any of us who knew him that Joe used the column to champion all things Gloucester.
Joe didn’t just chronicle Gloucester’s history—he was a part of it. In his column and in his books, he brought to life the era of the great schooners—like the 122-foot Adventure, the flagship of Gloucester, and the larger-than-life Gloucestermen—like the ‘‘Bear of the Sea,’’ Giant Jim Patillo, and the ‘‘Lone Voyager,’’ Howard Blackburn.
But he also used the sharpness of his pen to make his case on all kinds of civil causes—opposing unbridled economic development, warning about the loss of local control of the hospital and water supply, complaining about compromises on the environment or demanding the preservation of Gloucester’s beauty. And trust me—Joe never hesitated to offer his advice to a certain U.S. Senator, if he felt like I needed it.
Joe wrote with passion, conviction and humor, never with ill will or with the intent to wound. He was a gentleman. And always, whether in his column or in his books, he promoted the interests of Gloucester’s fishing fleet. In my office in Washington, I have a copy of the book he wrote in 2006, ‘‘The Fish and the Falcon,’’ about Gloucester’s role in the American Revolution. His inscription to me expresses his appreciation ‘‘for your efforts to relieve the fiscal crisis that has long haunted our beleaguered fishing industry.’’ He urged me to keep up the fight, and I have.
Joe wrote 21 books, and I always enjoyed his sharing the latest with me. In my Boston office, I have a copy of his book about the Adventure, which he helped to restore. It arrived with an invitation from Joe to tour the schooner and, of course, I didn’t waste any time accepting his invitation. He welcomed me aboard, and his tour made the Adventure’s history come alive—from its construction in 1926 through its career as a ‘‘highliner,’’ the biggest money- maker of them all, landing nearly $4 million worth of cod and halibut during her career.
But the book that spoke to me the most was his last, ‘‘Unknown Soldiers,’’ his memoir of World War II and his journey from a student at Harvard to a ‘‘dogface’’ with a close-knit infantry in Sicily, Italy, France and finally Germany. It is a clear, eloquent and unflinching panorama of the mundane and the horrific in war. It is, by turns, humorous, poignant and gut-wrenching, with the common soldier perspective long associated with journalist Ernie Pyle or cartoonist Bill Mauldin, a point of view with which soldiers from my war, from any war—a band of brothers stretching through generations of Americans—can identify.
I was deeply saddened to learn of Joe’s passing. But I am glad that his passing was gentle, his last moments of his life near the window of his beloved house by the sea, surrounded by loved ones and squeezing the hand of the woman he loved—Helen, his wife, his World War II pen pal.
And how fitting that in those final moments, the schooner Lannon fired a farewell cannon salute to Joe as it headed out to sea. Joe loved the tradition of cannon salutes, so much so that he fired one at the wedding of his stepdaughter, Alison, only to have it backfire, burning a hole in his jacket and covering his face with gunpowder, just in time for the official wedding photos. But that was Joe, and a face smudged with gunpowder underscored what we all know—truly, his was a life well lived.
There is an anonymous quote I once read which may well describe how we should think of Joe’s passing. It says:
“I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says, ‘‘There! She’s gone.’’
Gone where? Gone from my sight— that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side, and just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination. Her diminished size is in me, not in her, and just at the moment when someone at my side says, ‘‘There, she’s gone,’’—there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, ‘‘There she comes!’’ And that is dying.” [See editor's note.]
Because Joe loved the sea so much— and because he enjoyed watching seagulls soar—I close with a special poem. It is titled ‘‘Sea Joy’’ and it was written in 1939 by a little girl named Jacqueline Bouvier. America eventually came to know her as Jackie Kennedy. But when she was 10 years old, she wrote:
When I go down by the sandy shore
I can think of nothing I want more
Than to live by the booming blue sea
As the seagulls flutter round about me
I can run about—when the tide is out
With the wind and the sand and the sea all about
And the seagulls are swirling and diving for fish
Oh—to live by the sea is my only wish.’’
To Helen and Joe’s family, I extend my deepest sympathy, but with a reminder that Joe’s work, like the sea he loved, is eternal and booming, and that Joe’s life, like the seagulls he enjoyed so much, swirled and soared.
And to Joe, from one sailor to another, I wish him ‘‘fair winds and following seas.’’
Editor’s Note: The quote “I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean…” was written by Henry van Dyke (1852- 1933), an American educator, clergyman, and author.
December 10, 2011 § 1 Comment
Foggy Autumn Sunrise ~ Featuring Ring-necked Pheasant, November 9, 2011, 7 minute duration
Filmed at Good Harbor Beach on a luxuriously warm November morning. Standing in the sand dunes filming the wildflowers and rising sun I heard a noise behind me, and only several feet away. I turned to see a Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus). This is my first encounter with a Ring-necked Pheasant at Good Harbor Beach, but have subsequently learned they are fairly common. I was amazed to see it foraging so close to the public beach and not closer to the marsh where cover is dense. Introduced to Massachusetts in 1894, this game bird continues to thrive in both rural and metropolitan areas. The footage of dried flower heads is of Seaside Goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens). The opening and final clips show the White’s house, formerly referred to by townspeople as the ‘”Birdcage” because it was wrapped on all four sides with open porches, which have now been enclosed.
Music composed by Antonio Vivaldi: The Four Sesaons Opus 8 Autumn Allegro. Performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra with Itzhak Perlman Violin.
From wiki: The Four Seasons (Le quattro stagioni) is a set of four violin concertos by Antonio Vivaldi. Composed in 1723, The Four Seasons is Vivaldi’s best-known work, and is among the most popular pieces of Baroque music. The texture of each concerto is varied, each resembling its respective season. For example, “Winter” is peppered with silvery pizzicato notes from the high strings, calling to mind icy rain, whereas “Summer” evokes a thunderstorm in its final movement, which is why the movement is often dubbed “Storm.”
The concertos were first published in 1725 as part of a set of twelve concerti, Vivaldi’s Op. 8, entitled Il cimento dell’armonia e dell’inventione (The Contest between Harmony and Invention). The first four concertos were designated Le quattro stagioni, each being named after a season. Each one is in three movements, with a slow movement between two faster ones. At the time of writing The Four Seasons, the modern solo form of the concerto had not yet been defined (typically a solo instrument and accompanying orchestra). Vivaldi’s original arrangement for solo violin with string quartet and basso continuo helped to define the form.
November 27, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Standing at the parking lot’s edge I turned west toward the silvery setting sun. As the clouds broke the reflected light beneath the pilings caught my eye and a familiar scene became new again. We would be hard pressed to take a bad photo from nearly any Gloucester Harbor vantage point!
November 15, 2011 § 1 Comment
A thoughtful and beautiful and affordable gift for the holidays!! My friend Joey has created a gorgeous DVD with 21 separate videos he has shot over the last several years. Three of my very favorites are–Good Harbor Beach at Dawn, 2011 Greasy Pole, and the St. Joseph Novena. Featured also is great footage of some of the most interesting and rare sea creatures found along Gloucester’s shoreline — a blue lobster and golden sea robin, to name but a few. Cost of video is 20. and 5% of sales go to rebuilding the Greasy Pole!
November 11, 2011 § Leave a Comment
October 24, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Starring Mallard Ducks (Anas platyrhynchos)
October 22, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Eastern Point Lighthouse Sunrise from Dog Bar Breakwater
Thank you Terry and Joey for helping me get this footage for my Monarch project!
October 14, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Columbus Day weekend ~ Looking for butterflies on Eastern Point and videotaping the sun setting as the moon was rising. I passed Niles Pond on the drive home and stopped to admire the moonglow over the water. The following dawn brought flaming red skies, a cygnet plaintively searching for its family, and a startlingly large (at least 2 feet in height) Black-crowned Night Heron. Quawking loudly as the sun began to rise, there were a half dozen more night herons roosting in a nearby tree.
October 12, 2011 § 3 Comments
In the garden of mid-Ocotober’s dissipating beauty ~
And the fabulously fragrant remontant roses ‘Souvenir de Victor Landeau’ and’Aloha’
October 10, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Happy Columbus Day!
The gorgeous weather coinciding with the long weekend is a gift and I am trying to enjoy every spare moment, spending time with my family along with taking advantage of the added opportunity to film more “B” roll for video projects. While photographing at Good Harbor Beach late in the day yesterday afternoon two Monarchs heading south flew past. There is a little passel traveling through Gloucester this weekend, along with a host of yellow sulphurs. Look for the butterflies on asters and seaside goldenrod.
I am delighted to tell you about several of my upcoming fall programs:
Wednesday, October12th, 6:30 Lexington Field and Garden Club Annual Meeting at the National Heritage Museum ~ The Pollinator Garden
Thursday, November 3rd, 10:30 Amherst , NH Garden Club ~ Butterfly Gardening
Guests are welcome to attend!
Getting ready to make the fabulous Ken Duckworth’s Lobster Risotto!
October 7, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Views from Eastern Point and Raymond’s Beach with wildflowers Smooth Aster, Common Milkweed, and Seaside Goldenrod. Time lapse of Seven Seas Navigator cruise ship turning in the harbor.
Click on panorama and horizontal photo to see full photo. WordPress distorts horizontally oriented images.
September 1, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Vote Here for Good Morning Gloucester
Click To Vote Daily Until 9/9
Joey C writes from over at the Good Morning Gloucester Blog: As many of you know (and I swear I don’t want to be obnoxiously asking for your votes every two seconds) Good Morning Gloucester, our blog, is among the 30 or so nominees for Boston’s Most Valuable Blogger in the Everything Else category.
It’s a great honor and it’s all because of our contributors and community who send in material as well as comment on posts and/or help out with the latest foolish plans we may be concocting to dominate the world.
I don’t want this to come off as a plea for votes but I just now had the time to click through the other nominees on the list and out of the 30 or so, there really IMO are only about 5 that belong there. I’m not even saying GMG deserves the top spot (although in my mind it does) but I could see how someone could vote for Adam Gaffin’s excellent and oft updated Universal Hub.
What I cannot understand is how there are some nominees in the category that hardly ever even update or may only update once a week. There are some nominees that have a total of three blog posts for the whole month of August. We bang that out by 8AM on any given day. So if you have time and see some of the other nominees even in the same category that we are nominated in, look through and at least vote for some blog that cares enough to maintain the thing.
To see the rest of Joey’s post and blog: Good Morning Gloucester and don’t forget to vote!
August 4, 2011 § 1 Comment
At this time every year readers write in to inquire about the mysterious and startling “furry shrimp” flying in their gardens. Perhaps you have a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth I write back? They are often seen nectaring at our North American native wildflowers bee balm (Monarda didyma) and white flowering summer phlox ‘David’ (Phlox paniculata), as well as the butterfly bushes and Verbena bonariensis. Scroll down through several posts to see article..
July 16, 2011 § Leave a Comment
The Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) is easily distinguished from the Great Egret (Casmerodius albus) by its smaller size, plume of feathers atop its head, and bright, sunny yellow feet. The Snowy Egret is about 24 inches long and weighs approximately 13 ounces. The Great Egret is roughly 37-40 inches long and weighs about 35 ounces. Plume hunters for the millinery trade hunted both species of egrets to near extinction by the turn of the previous century. Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Snowy is protected by US law and the population has rebounded.
The Snowy Egret’s diet is diverse, consisting primarily of shrimps, snails, small fish, frogs, and aquatic insects. Snowys stalk prey in shallow water, and in the video, you can see it flushing prey into view by shaking and shuffling its feet. While filming (see last half minute of video), the Snowy stepped out of the water, turned gracefully towards the camera, and stood for a moment–providing more than a quick glimpse of it’s substantial, bright cadmium lemon feet.