Snowy Owl ~ Ghost of the Arctic

Snowy Owls have captured our imaginations partly because Harry Potter’s faithful companion Hedwig is a Snowy Owl, but also because unlike most owls, Snowy Owls hunt during the day, allowing us to observe their movements and struggle for survival more easily than their nocturnal cousins. Like all owls, the Snowy possesses a superb sense of hearing, binocular vision, and the ability to turn its head 270 degrees. A Snowy Owl’s hearing is so astute, it can capture prey under snow, without ever seeing the intended prey!

Snowy Owl Gloucester Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015

The Snowy Owl that was spotted in East Gloucester several days ago displayed this very behavior. Perched on a rock wall with a panoramic view of the surrounding fields, it held its body stone still all the while rotating its head around and around, up and down, and side to side. At one point, its head seemed to rotate in its socket nearly 360 degrees. In the two photos you can see the head turned seemingly backward from its front facing body, the second photo to an even greater degree than the first. By comparison, a human’s neck bones would snap if rotated to that measure and the blood vessels would close down. Owls not only have 14 very flexible neck bones, they have specialized blood vessels. When the circulation is cut off, others open to allow blood to flow.

Snowy Owl Gloucester Massachusetts January ©2015 Kim Smith

 Snowy Owl Irruption Update

Are Snowy Owls having a second irruption, two years in a row? It’s too early to tell. Just as with last year’s histoic incursion, they are again showing up all over eastern Massachusetts. My brief encounter with the Snowy Owl only left me wanting more!

You can learn much about the Snowy Owl from the tremendous film, The Magic of the Snowy Owl, linked here from a GMG post during last year’s widespread irruption. GMG FOB Mary McCloud shared this article from an Annapolis magazine, published last January, 2014.

Chilean Fjords, Glaciers and Islands

The fjords, glaciers, islands and passages of southern Chile stir up all kinds of emotions. These were the waters explored by Magellan and by Robert Fitz Roy aboard the Beagle. Charles Darwin went ashore and explored Wulaia Bay and in 1895 Joshua Slocum, having sailed from Boston on the Spray, had a few very nervous days in this area when he encountered a less than friendly welcome by the indigenous people of Tierra del Fuego. However, that did not stop him from completing the first solo circumnavigation of the world.

It is hard to describe the glaciers of this region. The U shaped valleys and massive moraines give testimony to the awesome power of these slowly moving rivers of compressed ice. Some of the glaciers we saw are receding in size and mass at an accelerated rate due to climate change. Others, with larger and higher snow collection areas, are stable or growing.

Although the wind was stiff during most of our voyage, the Via Australis rarely rolled, pitched or yawed. I felt significant motion only once, when we rounded Brecknock Peninsula at the southwest extremity of Tierra del Fuego, where the protected waters of the fjords and inland passages briefly meet the open Pacific.

I hope this short video gives you a sense of what this portion of our trip was like. Come with us as we not only explore and discover the power and beauty of nature, but also get to spend some time among the 140,000 penguin inhabitants of Magdelana Island.

gimmesound embraces the paradigm shift in music

The music business is in undergoing a huge transformation — but you already know that, so why are we stating the obvious?  Two reasons:

1) Once in a while when you find yourself in the middle of a major paradigm shift, it’s worth stepping back for a moment to notice what’s going on before you arrive at the next level and exclaim, “Oh! Look what happened.”

2) 2014 was a dramatic turning point for music as evidenced by two Earth shattering stats that you might not be aware of:

  • Taylor Swift was the ONLY artist to release a platinum album in 2014.
  • Digital music sales were down in 2014 for the first time in 10 years (maybe ever, it’s hard to get good stats on music downloads).

Even with all the tech advances that empower musicians to record and distribute their own music relatively inexpensively and without getting “signed” by a major label, it’s harder than ever to make a living as a musician.  We believe that recorded music sales will never again be the major source of revenue for musicians — just like sheet music sales are no longer a major source of revenue.

Vickie and I believe that live music holds the most promise for the future of the music business, both for musicians and fans.  In this new world where we spend more and more time staring at a screen of some kind, we find people crave live concerts where we make powerful connections with musicians and other fans that transport us to a magical place we just can’t experience any other way.  Musicians who can draw fans to their concerts are able to make a good living doing what they love most–playing music.  Everybody wins!

We’re embracing this musical paradigm shift by focusing our efforts on presenting and promoting live music even more than we have in the past.  Our new focus is reflected, in part, by changes to  We’ll continue to provide live music listings while we transform the site into something new that helps musicians and venues promote their live shows better and works well on all devices, including phones.  You’ll notice that songs on gimmesound can now be played on phones and tablets (including the iPhone and iPad).  More mobile enhancements are coming.  Stay tuned . . .

Monday January 5th , 2015 Cape Ann Weather ..

Marine Forecast :
Gale Warning :
Mon W winds 25 to 30 kt with gusts up to 40 kt. Seas 3 to 5 ft.
Mon Night W winds 25 to 30 kt…diminishing to 15 to 20 kt after midnight. Gusts up to 40 kt. Seas 2 to 4 ft. A chance of light freezing spray.

Pod Cast Weather :

Hourly Forecast :



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