snowy-owl-gloucester-massachusetts-c2a9kim-smith-2015My husband Tom suggested that I write a year-end post about the wildlife that I had photographed around Cape Ann. Super idea I thought, that will be fun and easy. Many hours later (not realizing how daunting) the following is a collection of some favorite images from this past year, beginning with the male Snowy Owl photographed at Captain Joe’s last winter, to December’s Red-tailed Hawk huntress.


Living along the great Atlantic Flyway, we have been graced with a bevy of birds. Perhaps the most exciting arrival of all occurred when early summer brought several pairs of nesting Piping Plovers to Gloucester’s most beloved (and most highly trafficked) of beaches, Good Harbor Beach. Their story is being documented on film.


Work on Mr. Swan’s film will also resume this January—the winters are simply not long enough for all I have planned!


While photographing and filming Red-winged Blackbirds this past spring, there was a face-to-face encounter with a hungry coyote, as well as several River Otter sightings.

female-red-winged-blackbird-copyright-kim-smitrhFemale Red-winged Blackbird

eastern-coyote-massachusetts-kim-smithThe summer’s drought brought Muskrats out from the reeds and into full view at a very dry Henry’s Pond, and a short film about a North American Beaver encounter at Langsford Pond. Numerous stories were heard from folks who have lived on Cape Ann far longer than I about the extraordinary number of egrets, both Snowy and Great, dwelling on our shores.three-muskrat-family-massachusetts-copyright-kim-smith

Three Muskrateersfemale-monarch-depositing-eggs-1-copyright-kim-smithnewly-emerged-monarch-butterfly-copyright-kim-smith-jpg

There were few Monarch sightings, but the ones seen thankfully deposited eggs in our garden. Thank you to my new friend Christine who shared her Cecropia Silkmoth eggs with me and thank you to the countless readers who have extended an invitation to come by and photograph an exciting creature in their yard.

cecropia-moth-caterpillar-copyright-kim-smithPristine beaches, bodies of fresh water, and great swathes of protected marsh and woodland make for ideal wildlife habitat, and Cape Ann has it all. With global climate change pushing species further away from the Equator, I imagine we’ll be seeing even more creatures along our shores. Butterfly and bee populations are overall in decline, not only because of climate change and the use of pesticides, but also because of loss of habitat. As Massachusetts has become less agrarian and more greatly forested, fields of wildflowers are becoming increasingly rare. And too fields often make the best house lots. Farmers and property owners developing an awareness of the insects’ life cycle and planting and maintaining fields and gardens accordingly will truly help the butterflies and bees.

female-mallard-nine-ducklings-kim-smithThank you to all our readers for your kind comments of appreciation throughout the year for the beautiful wild creatures with which we share this gorgeous peninsula called Cape Ann.

The images are not arranged in any particular order. If you would like to read more about a particular animal, type the name of the animal in the search box and the original post should come up.

I wonder what 2017 will bring?nine-piping-plovers-napping-gloucester-copyright-kim-smith



  1. I clicked through this set several times. Amazing you shot all of that in just one year Kim. And the personality of each bird is there too, down to the lowly Robin and Cardinal which look like they are paid performers. 🙂

    You need to add speech bubbles. “Get this water bottle off the beach!” says the Piping Plover.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Paul, and thank you for helping with the beautiful Ospreys. That was so much fun, and we got those shots of the Schooner Lynx, too. You’ll have to show me how to add speech bubbles, or maybe I should google how. Happy New Year to you.


      1. Easy on a Mac in Just click on the menu tools and you can annotate away. Once you do it once it will select your last preference so I can add a bird talking Comic Sans with a red outline in moments. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, you could have, depending on what time. He was frozen in at Niles Pond until about 10:30am. What time do you think you saw him? I know he flies in that direction occasionally because I followed him all the way through the harbor one day as he swam past Rocky Neck, past Cape Pond Ice, the Greasy Pole, and then took to the air and flew over Stag Fort, then the canal, and past the marina. He really gets around!


        1. I don’t think he is stuck entirely. At this time of the year he is more often than not in our salt water harbors, which don’t freeze as quickly as the fresh water ponds. Yesterday morning I filmed him as he was using the weight of his body to break through the ice all around him. In order to take off, he needs a patch of water, not ice, to take flight.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Wow, I hope it makes it thru the winter. He has many years of winter under his wing so I guess he knows what to do. Thank You Kim for the info.


  2. Kim these photos are breathtakingly beautiful. I have never seen some of these birds, Otters, coyotes. Thanks so much for your work and for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for your amazing photos throughout the year. My husband and I look forward to seeing them here and on Instagram. Wish you would publish a Cape Ann wildlife calendar.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kim- Your work is really outstanding. As a professional photographer, I know how much effort goes into making your outstanding images. Have you ever considered talking to an organization such as Mass Audobon to see if they might back you to publish a book about Cape Ann birds? If not, possibly self publishing? I am continually impressed by the quality and breadth of your bird and other nature photography. Keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your photos are so professional and beautiful. I didn’t know we had such a diverse animal population. You should be with National Geographic, but we are very fortunate that you share your talent and time with us. Sandy and Eben


  6. You are a force like the wonders you share. Kim, you did this daily, all seasons, all weather, regardless of health (the fall and arm recovery, pneumonia) it’s a breathtaking effort and body of work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t really think about that, but yes that is true. When Joey called to say the Snowy Owl was at the dock my arm was in that giant contraption, but still got the shot although, the video footage was a little wobbly. Hopefully filming in 2017 won’t be so fraught with mishaps! Thank you for your good words 🙂


  7. What a beautiful year with our other friends who bring us so much joy and happiness! The picture of little fella look at the plastic bottle and the owl reminds me of the Cigar package (White Owl) my Grandfather liked. Thanks for these gems! 🙂 Dave & Kim 🙂

    The Great Spirit and Mother Earth
    The Great Spirit is in all things, He is in the air we breathe.
    The Great Spirit is our Father, but the Earth is our Mother.
    She nourishes us, that which we put into the ground, she returns to us… – Big Thunder (Bedagi) – Wabanaki Algonquin

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Well, Kim, I just read all the kudos to you, and I don’t know how I could improve upon them, except to add my appreciation for all the time and effort you have put in to capture these amazing photos…I can imagine, cramped positions, endless waiting, etc. The results speak for themselves. You are a credit to your profession, and Gloucester is so lucky to have you. Keep them coming, Hon. We all look forward to them! Have a great new year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes that is true, but you just don’t remember all that when you get the shot. We can add Lyme and broken arm this year. Planning on fewer misadventures in the coming 2017, hopefully I’ve learned a thing or two.

      Thank you for your good words throughout the year Leslie, so very much appreciated.


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