Daybreak Death Wish

Kitesurfing Kiteboarding Good Harbor Beach Gloucester -2 ©Kim Smith 2014Also known as kitesurfing.

Kitesurfing Kiteboarding Good Harbor Beach Gloucester ©Kim Smith 2014Look at what I came upon last Tuesday morning while filming the wildlife at the footbridge end of Good Harbor Beach. The kitesurfing appeared death defying, particularly from where I was standing far down the beach; one kitesurfer especially seemed precariously close to Salt Island. 

I would have loved to stay and continue photographing the three beautiful aerial/marine acrobats but I had been filming until the last possible moment and had to hurry off to work. The action that I did catch a glimpse of was simply stunning. 

Kitesurfing Kiteboarding Good Harbor Beach Gloucester -3 ©Kim Smith 2014Kitesurfing Kiteboarding Good Harbor Beach Gloucester -4 ©Kim Smith 2014 J.PGAirborne ~ Click image to view larger

Note to Kitesurfers: Next time you are planning to kitesurf at dawn please contact me at kimsmithdesigns@hotmail.com. I would love to photograph and film your next adventure, from beginning to end. Thank you!

Kitesurfing ©kim Smith 2014JPGKitesurfing Kiteboarding Good Harbor Beach Gloucester -5©Kim Smith 2014
Kitesurfing Kiteboarding Good Harbor Beach Gloucester -6©Kim Smith 2014 jpg

World’s Best Dog Walking Team!

Pilar and Emma ©Kim Smith 2014You know your pooch is in superb hands with the East Gloucester Dog Walkers!

East Gloucester Dog Walkerrs ©kim Smith 2014Emma, Pilar, Lily, and occasionally Emma’s brother Ben, manage the menagerie beautifully, to the extent of even bringing along a water bowl on hot summer days. They are kind, gentle, patient, and loving towards their charges. Our Rosie is having the time of her life with the East Gloucester Dog Walkers (along with socializing with the other dogs, too). This great team certainly practices the three P’s of a successful business: Positive, Polite, and Professional.

Thank you East Gloucester Dog Walkers for taking such great care of our neighborhood pets!

img_0018-11Emma Duckworth Photo of Pilar and Rosie

The Dreadfully Despicable and Despised Poison Ivy (and Why I Think it Beautiful)

149041535.egW98ojT-1Eastern Bluebird and Poison Ivy Berries
220px-Toxicodendron_radicans,_leaves“Leaflets three, let it be!”

Perhaps the most disliked plant of all is poison ivy, despised throughout its range for the blistering rash that oozes and itches when one has the misfortune to come in contact with any part of the plant. What is the substance that causes that most dreaded of unpleasant of rashes? Poison ivy is infused with usushiol, a compound that not only wards off humans, but caterpillars, too (generally speaking, caterpillars are a plant’s number one enemy).


Toxicodendron_radicans_01Poison Ivy in Flower

Several of my landscape design projects are located on Plum Island. I laughed initially when it was first brought to my attention that poison ivy was one of the “approved” plants permitted on Plum Island. Of course, whether approved or not, I wouldn’t dream of planting poison ivy on a client’s property, but I did want to learn more about why it was on the approved list. And here’s the reason why we might want to rethink our dislike towards poison ivy: Plum Island is home to and breeding ground for hundreds of bird species and small animals. The blossoms of poison ivy are a rich nectar source for many pollinators, and the berries are a prime winter staple for dozens and dozens of song birds, including cardinals, mockingbirds, and robins.

800px-Toxicodendron_radicans_(L.)_Kuntze_-_eastern_poison_ivy,_poison_ivy,_poisonivy_(3778180456)“Berries white, run in fright.” ~ More than 60 species of birds eat the fruit of poison ivy.

Malign poison ivy if you will for its dreadful rash and clamoring habit. Lets rip it out of our backyard play spaces and public pathways. But knowing it holds an important place in our ecosystem, lets allow it to continue to grow wild in wild and appropriate places. Poison ivy is one of the essential reasons why we are privy to the legions and legions of beautiful birds that dwell, nest, and migrate through our region.

140256018.pF0PzVtqYellow-rumped Warbler and Poison Ivy Fruits

Yellow-rumped warblers are able to withstand our cold winters by switching from a diet of primarily insects, to one of poison ivy berries, bayberry, and other small fruits.

1024px-Poison_ivy_vine“Red hairy vine, no friend of mine!”

The telltale reddish hairs of the vine are clearly evident in the above image; leaves, vines, stems, and hairs are all toxic to humans. As I am constantly exposed to poison ivy due to landscape design projects, and oftentimes filming and photographing in locations where poison ivy is prevalent, my number one solution to avoiding contact is to identify its presence and to wear protective clothing. Knowing poison ivy’s mnemonic rhymes will help with its identification: “Leaves of three, let it be!”, “Berries white, run in fright!”, and “Red hairy vine, no friend of mine!”

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My sincere thanks to Bob Snyder for the use of his photos. Permission to post the bluebird and poison ivy berry photo was requested and John not only graciously allowed the photo, he also forwarded along the photo of the Yellow-rumped Warbler. You can see more of his beautiful photos here: Bob Snyder Photography.

All other images are courtesy Wiki Commons Media. 

 

Brace Cove Seals Sleeping at Daybreak

Brace Cove seals at sunrise ©Kim Smith 2014While filming B-roll for several projects I caught the sunrise at Brace Cove several mornings ago. The seals were awakening, as were the swan couple, the cormorants and gulls stretching wide their wings, and the songbirds breaking fast on the abundance of wild berries and seed heads found along the berm at Niles Pond. Click image to see full size.

Brace Cove seals at sunrise -2 ©Kim Smith 2014Brace Cove Seals

Brace Cove at sunrise ©Kim Smith 2014Fledgling juvenile male cardinal ©kim Smith 2014Juvenile Male Cardinal

Niles Pond daybreak ©Kim Smith 2014Niles Pond

Sparrow ©Kim Smith 2014Camouflaged!

Apples!

Apples ©Kim Smith 2014 copyFrom Blossom to Fruit ~ With all the delicious smells associated, from the heavenly sweet scent of apple blossoms wafting on the breeze of a bright spring day to the fresh aroma of fruit ripening in the warm September sun, not to mention pies and tarts baking in the oven!

Apple Blossom ©Kim Smith 2012Have you noticed that the foliage of pear, cherry, and apple trees looks exceptional this year? This is a far cry from the past several years when the winter moth took a tremendous toll on the trees. The very cold winter of last has put a damper on the moths devastating effects. A repeat of cold temperatures will give the trees and shrubs, such as maple, blueberry, and apple, which are most heavily afflicted by the moths, a second season to recover and grow in strength.

Read previous posts about the winter moth here:

White-throated Sparrow and the Winter Moth

winter-moth-operophtera-brumataWinter Moth (Operophtera brumata)

Hummingbird Fall Banquet

Crimson-eyed Rose mallow ©Kim Smith 2014Native Crimson-eyed Rose Mallow (Hibiscus moshuetos)

Fall Blooms for Tiny Travelers ~ just as we can create milkweed corridors in summer and aster corridors in autumn for the Monarchs, we can provide a nourishing banquet for the weary Ruby-throated Hummingbirds so that they may rest and refuel on their southward migration.

Lonicera John Clayton. ©Kim Smith 2010.Native Honeysuckle ~ Lonicera sempervirens ‘John Clayton’

Jewelweed ©Kim Smith 2014Native Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)

Hibiscus ©Kim Smith 2014jpgHibiscus