Semipalmated plover ©Kim Smith 2015Semipalmated Plover and Sanderling

Last week after presenting my Pollinator Garden program in Orleans and visiting the Nauset lighthouses, the next stopover was to my grandparent’s beach in Dennis, or I should say, the beach where my family summered as our grandparents are no longer living. It was close to sunset and I had the overwhelming wish to watch the sun go down from the same place where we perched atop the bluff and had watched the sunset thousands of times as children. It was more than a little dismaying upon arriving to see my Grandmother’s glorious seaside garden gone, replaced by grass, but even more so, to see that the great stairwell and wild rose-lined path to the beach, once enjoyed by all the neighbors, had been privatized. Despite all that and feeling very melancholy, I had a lovely walk along the shore, watched the spectacular sunset from the cliff’s edge, and came upon a gorgeous mixed flock of shore birds. They stayed awhile resting and feeding in the surf at the high tide line and none-too-shy, allowed for both filming and photographing in the fading rosy light.

Black-bellied Plover ©Kim Smith 2015JPG I believe these are Black-bellied Plovers in their winter plumage. Not only were they standing on one leg, they also run, or hop, along the beach at top speed, on one leg!

Sanderling Dennis Cape Cod ©Kim Smith 2015Sanderling

Dennis MA Cape Cod sunset -2 ©Kim Smith 2015

You can read an excerpt about my Grandmother’s Cape Cod garden in my book Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities in the chapter titled “My Grandmother’s Gardens.”Plover cape Cod ©kim Smith 2015,Camouflaged!

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Cape Ann Monarch Butterfly Migration Update

Monarch Butterfly bougainvillea ©Kim Smith 2015Female Monarch and Bougainvillea

Monarch Butterflies Daisies ©Kim Smith 2015Methuselah Monarchs Heading to Mexico

Our last batch of Monarchs emerged from their chrysalides, dried their wings, and caught the tailwinds to Michoacán. I hope they arrive to their winter roosting sites at the trans-Mexican volcanic mountaintops safely!

Although not many migrating Monarchs were reported on the shores of Cape Ann, a great batch was seen migrating over Lake Erie in late summer. Cape May, which is 400 miles south of Cape Ann, also had a strong showing. Keep on the lookout though because on Election Day in 2007, I photographed a Monarch refueling at Korean Daisies.

The Monarchs are counted by the Mexican scientists in December and the numbers released in January. Last year a tiny increase from 2013 was noted (2013 was the year the lowest numbers were ever recorded). Lets keep our hopes up that the population will continue to improve.

Monarch Butterfly sunflower ©Kim Smith 2015Last Sunflowers of the SeasonMonarch Butterfly daisy ©Kim Smith 2015

Monarch Butterfly pink bougainvillea ©Kim Smith 2015


Dear Friends,

Please join us at the Sawyer Free Library on Thursday November 12th at 7:00 pm for my Monarch butterfly program. I am especially, especially excited to present to our community. I hope to see you there! Please note that this is my photo and lecture program, not the new film, which will be coming soon.

For more information visit my website Kim Smith Designs.

Special thanks to Valerie Marino at the Sawyer Free for creating the program flyer!



Mr. Swan is traveling between Niles and Henry’s Pond. I hope a new Mrs. Swan joins the scene before long!

Male Swan Henrys Pond Rockport ©Kim Smith 2015


Brace Rock Gloucester MA ©Kim Smith 2015 JPGBrace Cove and Niles Pond in the lifting fog ~ When I first got to the causeway, Brace Rock was completely obscured. As the fog drifted away an army of cormorants began to appear, joining the gulls on the rocks and feeding from the surf.

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Silly Goose!

Shopping for design clients in Essex and Ipswich today and ran into these charming geese. domestic Geese Russell Orchards Ipswich ©Kim Smith 2015domestic goose ©Kim Smith 2015

silly goose sounds!

A video posted by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on


Dog Bar Breakwater Panorama ©Kim Smith 2015Click panorama to view larger

Built to protect ships from the Dog Bar Reef, the Dog Bar breakwater was built on top of the ledge. The half mile long breakwater is seven and a half feet above mean high water and ten feet wide, constructed of 231,756 tons of Cape Ann granite over a substructure of rubble. Built by the Army Corps of Engineers between 1894 and 1905 at a cost of only $300,000.00, I wonder what it would cost to build a granite breakwater such as Gloucester’s in today’s economy?

For more interesting history about the Dog Bar Breakwater visit Lighthouse Friends.

Eastern Point Lighthouse ©Kim Smith 2015