Not really, although it is wonderful to see a flock of so many. Red-breasted Mergansers are a diving duck found readily on our shores. They are funny to watch as they seem to get into spats and chase each other around. I read that a group can sometimes appear to be cooperatively hunting. They will line up and drive schools of small fish into shallow water and scoop the fish up without having to dive, which seems precisely what they were doing when I took these photos.

Red-breasted Merganser -2 ©Kim Smith 2016


Red-breasted mergansers ©Kim Smith 2015Red-breasted Mergansers on a sunnier day

Feeding amongst the mergansers, a pair of Horned Grebes, a Common Loon, and a Common Goldeneye can all be seen, although both these “commoners” don’t seem at all common to me.






Forty one years ago today, January 9th is celebrated as the day the Monarchs winter habitat was “discovered.” The woman who led the discovery, Catalina Aguado, was  born in Michoacán, the Mexican state that is home to the butterflies wintering grounds. Catalina is the only living member of the original team featured in the following 1976 National Geographic article.

Excerpt from “Discovered: The Monarchs Mexican Haven”

Doctor Fred Urquhart, the Canadian zoologist who had been studying and tracking the butterflies since 1937 writes the following:

“In our search for the overwintering place, years passed, years of frustration. Norah, late in 1972, wrote to newspapers in Mexico about our project, asking for volunteers to report sightings and to help with tagging.

In response came a letter, dated February 26, 1973, from Kenneth C. Brugger in Mexico City. “I read with interest,” he wrote, “your article on the monarch. It occurred to me that I might be of some help. . . .”

Ken Brugger proved the key that finally unlocked the mystery.

Traveling in his motor home with his dog, Kola, he crisscrossed the Mexican countryside. He searched especially in areas where tagged monarchs had been recaptured, and places where other visitors had reported numerous butterflies. “Go out in the evening,” we instructed him. “That’s when you’ll see the monarchs moving about looking for a place to roost.”

In a letter written in April 1974, Ken reported seeing many monarch butterflies in the Sierra Madre flying at random as if dispersing from a congregating site.

“Your data and observations are exciting,” I replied. “We feel that you have zeroed in on the right area.”

Ken Brugger doubled his field capability by marrying a bright and delightful Mexican, Cathy. Late in 1974 he wrote of finding many dead and tattered butterflies along the roads in a certain area. “You must be getting really close,” we responded. These butterfly remains suggested that birds had been feeding on large flocks of monarchs.

Swiftly came the dramatic conclusion. On the evening of January 9, 1975, Ken telephoned us from Mexico. “We have located the colony!” he said, unable to control the excitement in his voice. “We have found them—millions of monarchs—in evergreens beside a mountain clearing.”

Mexican woodcutters, prodding laden donkeys, had seen swarming butterflies and had helped point the way.”

The complete article is available to read online here.


Sista Felicia Making Arancini Using This Weeks Favorite Kitchen Gadget! 


Click link below for Sista Felicia’s Aramcini Recipe!


Thank you to Terry Weber and Eoin Vincent for alerting us to this fantastic Snowy Owl shot!!


CBS News:

Spectacular images of a snowy owl in flight have been captured by Transport Quebec’s traffic camera along Montreal’s Highway 40.

The images were captured on Jan. 3 by a traffic camera at Highway 40 and Sources Boulevard.

Transport Minister Robert Poëti tweeted about the owl early Thursday morning, and the province later released video footage.

See Video Here


Sing and Sign Along Saturday, Jan. 9th at 1:00pm @CapeAnnMuseum!

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Cape Ann Community

Saturday, Jan. 9th at 1:00pm

Bring the whole family and join along with the Optimistic Voices Senior Choir and La Petite Chorale who will sing, sign and dance with you to favorite oldies, children’s and holiday songs. Awaken your senses and minds with this fun challenge and light up your day!

Free and open to the public.

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Maritime Gloucester’s February Vacation Program

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Cape Ann Community


Spend February Vacation at Maritime Gloucester for Sea Creatures of Cape Ann. The program runs Tuesday through Friday and includes a variety of activities in the classroom, microscope laboratory, wet lab, and museum.  Students may enroll for one day or for the entire four days.  There are two different programs based on age of the students that are offered during the four-days—one for Pre-K to K (ages 3.5-5) and the other for Grades 1-5.  The Pre-K/K drop-in program runs from 9:00 am-10:30 am and children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The Grade 1-5 program runs from 8:30 am-3:30 pm; after care until 5:00 pm is available for Grade 1-5 students for an additional fee.  For more information and to register online, please visit click here.

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Week of January 10, 2016

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Matz Gallery Artist for January: Suellen Wedmore

Suellen Wedmore, poet laureate emerita for the town of Rockport, has been painting since she was a teenager. She has studied painting with Skip Lawrence of Pemaquid, Maine, at the Cape School of Art in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and is presently in a workshop with Ron Straka  at the Rockport Art Association. She recently won first place in the Quill’s Edge Press “Woman on the Edge” contest, and her poetry chapbook , Mind the Light, was published with her painting of Thacher Island’s north tower on the cover. (The book is available at Toad Hall Bookstore, from the author, or on-line at the Thacher Island website and at the Quill’s Edge Press website.)

NTower Roses lo res

Save These Dates! Upcoming events:

1 23 CharlotteGordon


The four Cape Ann public libraries are launching a yearlong innovative community reading program!                                                                                  The Cape Ann Museum is hosting the CAPE ANN READS kickoff event…

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