BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL GOOD HARBOR BEACH

Scenes from this morning’s Good Harbor Beach sunrise.

Good Harbor Beach Gloucester Sunrise Kim Smith

Pink and violet hues when I arrived at 5:15 quickly gave way to reds and yellow, and then the looming gray mass of clouds overtook the sky.

Good Harbor Beach Gloucester Sunrise -2 Kim SmithGood Harbor Beach Gloucester Sunrise -3 Kim SmithBeauty abounds–from the grandest skies to the smallest creatures–that’s life at the edge of the sea.

Sparrow Gloucester Massachusetts Kim SmithThis fearless little Song Sparrow ate breakfast at my feet

Red-winged Blackbird Gloucester Massachusetts Kim SmithMorning songster

Kildeer Gloucester Massachusetts Kim SmithKildeer trying her hardest to distract me from her nest

SKUNK-HEADED HOEDOWN!

Surf Scoter Cape Ann Massachusetts male-female-2  Kim SmithAlthough described as common along both the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, this raft of velvety black ducks was new and different to my eyes. The Surf Scoters were here for several days gathering along Cape Ann’s backshore and feeding heartily several hundred yards off the beach. Both in the evening and the following early morning that I found them, they were first to arrive on the scene, soon joined by a paddling of Buffleheads and then several Common Eiders, and all amicably diving together.

Surf Scoter male female Cape Ann Massachusetts Kim Smith 2016Fairly far off shore at least we can catch a comparative glimpse of the difference between the male and female Surf Scoter (the female is far right).

The male Surf Scoter’s well-defined stark white patches against ebony feathers lends this seaduck its common name, “Skunk-headed Coot.” But it is the scoter’s bulbous-at-the-base orange, black and white patterned bill that I find interesting and almost comical. The female is a plainer dull blackish-brownish with light colored patches, one behind each eye and at the base of the bill.

I would love to know if any of our readers have seen Surf Scoters, when and where, if you have a moment to write. Thank you!

Surf Scoter Cape Ann Massachusetts male female Kim Smith 2016While watching them feeding and courting in the surf, several times it appeared as though they were squaring off, as in the top photo, and preparing to promenade in a hoedown!

Well hello there!

Beauty Surprise at Twilight!

Female Mallard Nine ducklings Kim SmithAs much as I was surprised by this sweet glimpse of mama and her ducklings coming around a bend in the marsh, she was as equally surprised to see me, hidden behind a clump of tall grasses. One glance, and mom quickly departed with her nine (!!) newly emerged ducklings. 

COYOTE ON THE BEACH!

Eastern Coyote Canis latrans massachusetts Kim SmithFace to face

When out filming for projects, I’d often thought about what my reaction would be if ever again I came eye to eye with a coyote. Many have crossed my path, but too quickly and too unexpectedly to capture. I don’t bring my dog with me any longer because one brazen one had a go at her two winters ago and it’s just not a good idea to tempt fate. I hoped that calmness would prevail, allowing for a non-blurry photo, or two.

Well, I didn’t panic and got some great footage, and when the coyote was too far out of range for my movie camera, took a few snapshots.

Eastern Coyote massachusetts beach Canis latrans Kim SmithThis one appears smaller than what I have typically encountered, perhaps it is only a year or two old, or possibly coyotes are not as plump after the winter months. He/she was very intent upon scavenging in a bed of seaweed that had washed ashore and think it must have been quite hungry to allow me to get so close. He reluctantly left his meal as I moved toward him and then watched me for some time from under cover of beach grass. His shining eyes were easily seen in the fading low light. Mistakenly, I thought that was the end of our meeting and went back to filming B-roll.Eastern Coyote massachusetts Kim Smith

Beach grass provides excellent camouflage

I was losing the light and decided to call it a day. Packing up cameras and turning to go, there he was, a hundred yards away, staring at me. Deftly traveling through the tall reeds he had circled around. I don’t think he had me in mind for his next meal, but I was halfway between him and the scavanged dinner from which he had so rudely been interrupted. Plans on how to weaponize my tripod and camera bag quickly came to mind. He trotted leisurely towards me, changed his mind, and then trotted in the opposite direction. A car came down the road and he again turned toward my direction, making his way along the beach until slipping back into the grass.

If ever you have a close encounter with a coyote, be sure to remind yourself of this story and know that they may indeed still be very close by.

Synopsis: Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly

Writing proposals and organizing the film’s website this past week. This is a longer version of the synopsis. Oh my goodness, the last application was ten pages long. I think (hope) it will get easier the more I do it!

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Beauty on the Wing ~ Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly is a documentary film that tells the story of the monarch butterfly at it unfolds along the shores of Cape Ann and in the heart of Mexico’s forested volcanic mountains. Filmed in Gloucester, Massachusetts and Angangueo, Michoacán, the film illuminates how two communities, separated by 3,000 miles, are ecologically interconnected.

Every stage of the butterfly’s life cycle is experienced in vibrant close-up, from egg to caterpillar to adult. Set against the background of sea and forest, sun and wind, by the millions and millions the intrepid monarchs journey thousands of miles. The most magical thing is that this migration happens in our midst, taking place in backyards, farms, meadows, and along the shoreline, wherever milkweed and wildflowers grow.

The monarch’s life story is one of nature’s most incredible examples of adaptation and survival. There are no other butterflies in the world that journey thousands of miles over such a great and vast area, ecologically linking Canada and Mexico, to nearly every region within the United States.

The story opens in the industrial port of Gloucester, Massachusetts. Well known for her legendary fishing industry, Schooner Festival,  Italian feasts and fiestas, rich artistic heritage, and stunning coastline, Gloucester makes up much of the peninsula of Cape Ann, located on the coast of Massachusetts just north of Boston.

As are most regions along the length of the Eastern Seaboard, Cape Ann lies within a largely unrestricted north-south corridor for migratory species of birds and butterflies. This means that birds, butterflies, and other insects travel along the Atlantic flyway without being impeded by either mountain ranges or large bodies of water to cross. There is a tremendous sense of urgency in this great movement of life. Whether traveling by land or by sea, wildlife must reach its seasonal destination while life-sustaining food is abundant.

Cape Ann and Angangueo emerge as characters in the film, places where we have much to gain by preserving the habitats of these unique ecosystems and where, through neglect, the loss will be devastating.

Beauty on the Wing is a film for all ages, created for all to gain a deeper understanding of the symbiotic relationship between habitats, wildflowers, and pollinators, and the vital role that they play in our interconnected ecosystems.

In seeking funding to finish the film, I am currently in the process of writing grant proposals. Recently, I was invited to join the Filmmakers Collaborative, which is a dynamic organization that is providing excellent advice and will also act as the fiscal sponsor for the film. Each filmmaker represented by the Filmmakers Collaborative has a project page on the FC website and I invite you to visit mine here: Filmmakers Collaborative.

MY MONARCH BUTTERFLY FILM TRAILER!

Dear Friends,

I am super excited to write that today I am launching the trailer for my monarch butterfly documentary, Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly. I hope so much you enjoy watching as much as I have loved creating!

I am asking a huge favor of all my Good Morning Gloucester, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram friends and that is to please share the trailer, hit all like buttons, and if you have time, to please comment.

In seeking funding to finish the film, I am currently in the process of writing grant proposals. Recently, I was invited to join the Filmmakers Collaborative, which is a tremendous and well-respected organization that is providing excellent advice and will also act as the fiscal sponsor for the film. Each filmmaker represented by the Filmmakers Collaborative has a project page on the FC website and I invite you to visit mine here: Filmmakers Collaborative.

The next stages in finishing the documentary are title design, audio mixing, and color correcting. I’ll keep you posted on progress made through GMG, the film’s website, and my website.

Look for Pilar, Meadow, and Atticus in the trailer. They were wonderful and I am so appreciative of their assistance. There were additional kids from our East Gloucester troupe that participated in making the film however, I couldn’t squeeze them all in the trailer. I think you’ll love all the children’s parts in the finished film!

For more information about the documentary, please visit the film’s website here: Beauty on the Wing

My most sincerest thanks to everyone for your kind support!