The smallest, and I think most would agree, among the cutest North American sea ducks, every autumn Buffleheads arrive on the shores of Cape Ann after having journeyed many thousands of miles from their summer breeding grounds in the Canadian boreal forests. They are seen in twos or in small groups and unlike most ducks, are monogamous. Some males begin courting very early in the season as demonstrated in the flock currently residing on Cape Ann however, the birds will not pair until spring.
When out for a walk along shore and pond, you may notice a great deal of bufflehead kerfuffling taking place. The male’s courtship displays are wonderfully exuberant, with much head pumping, chest thrusting, and aggressive flying. The male goes so far as to exaggerate the size of his head by puffing out his bushy crest. Occasionally, the males chase females, but most of the chasing is directed towards other males in territorial displays, which are accomplished by both flying and skidding across the water as well as via underwater chasing. The female encourages her suitor vocally and with a less animated head pumping motion.
Female Bufflehead, left and male Bufflehead, right
Buffleheads are diving ducks, finding nourishment on Cape Ann on small sea creatures and pond grasses, as well as seed heads at the shoreline’s edge.
By the early twentieth century Buffleheads were nearing extinction due to over hunting. Their numbers have increased although now their greatest threat is loss of habitat stemming from deforestation in the boreal forests and aspen parklands of Canada.
The word bufflehead is a corruption of buffalo-head, called as such because of their disproportionately large and bulbous head. Buffleheads are a joy to watch and are seen all around Cape Ann throughout the fall, winter, and early spring. Their old-fashioned name, “Butterball,” aptly describes these handsome and welcome winter migrants!
Listen for the Buffleheads mating vocalizations. The Bufflehead courtship scenes were filmed on Niles Pond. The end clip is of a flock of Buffleheads in flight and was shot at Pebble Beach, Rockport.
LINK TO Specimen Ballots for March 1, 2016 Primary:
(each ward link contains a specimen for the Democrat, Republican, Green-Rainbow & United Independent ballots.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”
“I and the Father are one.” (said by Jesus)
For those who view Jesus as a prophet, a holy man, an historical figure, but just a man, the Bible clearly tells us that He is the Word (one of his many names), who was with God, and one with God, since before the beginning of creation. The Spirit of God or Breath of God, also one with God, is the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost. Hence the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit/Ghost which has always existed as one.
Mankind is distinct from all the rest of creation in that we are made in the image of God. Just as God is made up of three parts — Father, Son and Holy Spirit, so man is made up of three parts — temporal body, soul (seat of the senses, desires, affections, appetites, intellect, will, emotions, conscience, etc.) and spirit (that part of us that connects, or refuses to connect, to God). As with a fellow human being, you can never completely know another until you personally connect with the physical man or woman (can recognize the person walking down the street because of how they look, their walk, etc.), and come to know the soul and spirit of the person. Those are your true friends in life, the ones you connect with on all levels (whether you agree with them all the time or not) and would trust with your deepest secret; all others are acquaintances, maybe buddies, maybe siblings or parents, lovers or spouses, but not true friends. Since we are made up of three parts, we cannot truly know ourselves, never mind anyone else, if we don’t connect with all three. So it is with God; to truly know Him and be His friend, we must connect with all of Him.
Like people throughout time have done, I made God kind of look like me, but with a beard and blue eyes, rather than hazel. Unfortunately, throughout time people have made God to be in their physical or soul likeness, and therefore anyone who doesn’t look or think like them obviously isn’t of God and should be discounted, discriminated against, or worse, obliterated from the face of earth (think ethnic cleansing – American Indian, Nazi Germany, Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Chechnya, Darfur, Syria, and the Islamic State to name a few). God created us, loves us and wants relationship with us no matter what we look like, where we come from, or what we think or believe. And it is not because a single one of us is perfect, worthy or deserving.
Isaiah 55:8-9: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Thanks for all the great work you put into your blog..I read it just about every day. It really makes me feel part of what is going on in our town.
My name is Dave Lemont and I live in Magnolia. I am launching a new blog called Cape Ann Passion (http://thirdwindphotography.com/blog) that talks about my photo trips to the area we all love. I was hoping there is a way I can contribute some of my photography to your site from time to time. Please let me know if that would be possible.
The sun sets over Waring Field and the Rockport Golf Club to close out a pretty lovely weekend.
From: Robyn Salvanelli;
“Sara Salvanelli, Age 7 found her first Art Rock this morning!“
GloucesterCast 173 With Guests Greg Bover @KimSmithDesigns, Mark Ring and @Joey_C Taped 2/28/16
(EDITOR’S NOTE) Mayor Romeo Thekan has called a meeting in her office on March 24th, from 5pm to 6pm, to discuss Ten Pound Island. Everyone is welcome.
Ten Pound Island with fish and lobster hatchery, air station, lighthouse, keeper’s house, and oil house. Photo submitted by Toby Pett.
After reading the Gloucester Daily Times’s article about the city’s Recreational Boating Committee’s recommendations on how better to serve boaters, I have been looking at old photos and reading about Ten Pound Island. This tiny island located at the eastern end of Gloucester Harbor has a storied and fascinating history. The timeline (see below) was created to help give an overview.
The following is the part of the article that caught my attention:“Perhaps the most innovative idea in the report is to consider creating a community boat house — possibly similar to the house boats moored along the Annisquam River — and a dock upon Ten Pound Island that could host the Gloucester High School and YMCA community sailing and boating skills programs, as well as other public programs and access for rowing and kayaking.”
I am looking forward to learning more about the possibilities for Ten Pound Island and trust that our Mayor and community leaders will do a thoughtful study to create a comprehensive plan on how to co-exist with the birds that breed and nest on the Island. In our region, we have so many great examples to follow on ways to manage land for wildlife; two that come to mind immediately are the Plum Island Piping Plovers and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge.
I think it important our community understand that more than likely, the vegetation found growing on Ten Pound is in a transitory state and that over time, if left to naturalize, will become a forest. The shrubs and brushy growth, so ideal for nesting birds, will eventually give way to hardwood trees, which may not be the best habitat for shore birds.
There is the hope that developing trails and managing the island flora will create an even better and more permanent sanctuary for our cherished wildlife. Today the Island is only accessible to private boaters. If a community dock were built at the site of the preexisting dock and trails were created and well maintained, just imagine the enjoyment and educational experiences Ten Pound Island could provide for all.
1644 Early settlers graze rams on the Island.
1817 Mariner Amos Story famously reports seeing a sea serpent (along with many others) near the Island. See account below.
1821 Ten Pound Island Lighthouse Station is established to safely guide mariners through Gloucester’s Inner Harbor.
1833-1849 Amos Story serves as Ten Pound Island Lighthouse Keeper.
1880 Winslow Homer stays with the lighthouse keeper during the summer creating over 50 watercolor paintings.
1881 Present conical cast iron tower, lined with brick, replaces original stone tower. Wooden keepers house is constructed.
1889 U.S. Fish and lobster hatchery is established.
1925 U.S. Coast Guard establishes first in the country air station, primarily to capture rumrunners during Prohibition.
1940 Lighthouse keeper’s wife Evelyn Hopkins honors Edward Snow, the Flying Santa who dropped Christmas presents from a plane for lighthouse keepers’ children, by nailing “Merry Christmas” boldly in newspaper, which could be read from the sky.
1954 Fish hatchery abandoned.
1956 Ten Pound island Light Station is decommissioned and replaced by a modern optic. The original fresnel lens is on display at the Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland.
1965 Keepers dwelling razed.
1988 The Lighthouse Preservation Society initiates restoration of Ten Pound Island Light.
1989 A modern optic was installed atop the tower and relit as a Federal aid to navigation.
1995 The oil house is restored.
1996 -1997 (*Possibly longer, checking dates) Shuttle to and from the Island is provided by the Gloucester Harbor Shuttle.
Currently, Ten Pound Island serves as an active aid to navigation.
“Merry Christmas” written with newspaper hammered to the ground
* * *
Amos Story sea serpent sighting account: “It was between the hours of twelve and one o’clock when I first saw him and he continued in sight for an hour and a half. I was setting on the shore, and was about twenty rods [330 feet] from him when he was nearest to me. His head appeared shaped much like that of the sea turtle, and he carried his head from ten to twelve inches above the surface of the water. His head at that distance appeared larger than the head of any dog I ever saw. From the back of his head to the next part of him that was visible, I should judge to be three or four feet. He moved very rapidly through the water. I should say a mile in two, or, at most, in three minutes. I saw no bunches on his back. On this day, I did not see more than ten or twelve feet of his body.”
In a separate sighting, Story’s wife, “a woman held in high esteem for her veracity” noted through a telescope what at first she believed to be a log that had washed ashore, until it moved, that is. Throughout the month, more and more witnesses told similar stories of a sleek brown serpent-like creature in Gloucester Harbor.