The avian northward migration is heating up! The following are just three of the fascinating species of wild birds readily seen at this time of year, found all around Cape Ann. Look for Brants, Scaups, and Ring-necked Ducks at coves, bays, ponds, quarries, and marshes.
Currently migrating along Cape Ann’s shoreline is a beautiful brigade of Brant Geese. They usually turn up at about this time of year, late winter through early spring, and I have been looking for them in all the usual places. Brants thrive in Cape Ann coves, devouring sea lettuce while riding the incoming and outgoing waves. I see them eating and pecking for food atop barnacle-crusted rocks and am not sure if they are eating seaweed caught on the rocks or tiny crustaceans.
Brants eating bright green sea lettuce.
In the 1930s a terrible disease devastated eel grass and the Brant population plummeted. Surviving Brants adapted to sea lettuce and as the eel grass recovered, so too is the population of Brants recovering.
Brants are wonderfully vocal, making a funny “cronk” sound. I was walking past a flock of geese off in the distance and wasn’t paying much attention. Thinking they were Canada Geese, I ignored them until hearing their vigorous cronking.
They fight with each too, over rocks and food. Tomorrow if I can find the time I will try to post photos that I took of a Brant scuffle.
Brants feeding on the rocks are knocked off by the incoming tide, but then quickly get right back up again.
Brants migrate the furthest north of any species of goose, as far north as Hedwig territory.
The Greater Scaup breeds as far north as Snowy Owls and Brant Geese, and Ring-necked Ducks are also passing through, not traveling quite as far, but on their way to the Alaskan and Canadian boreal forests. Greater Scaups travel in flocks, sometimes forming rafts of thousands. You can see why in the photos Greater Scaups are colloquially called Bluebills.
Three male Scaups and a Red-breasted Merganser
The most significant threat to Greater Scaups is habitat loss, oil, and sewage pollution. Nearly eighty percent winter over in the Atlantic Flyway where they are subjected to heavy metals in foods and habitat.
The two species are closely related (Aythya collaris and Atythya marila); both are small diving ducks and both are vulnerable to becoming poisoned by lead from diving for food and incidentally eating the lead shot and lures that continues to cause problems in our wetlands.
READ MORE HERE
Iain Kerr writes,
“Last week Ocean Alliance was in Mexico working with Blue Whales. This work will be featured on Vice News Tonight, Thursday night 15th at 7:30 PM on HBO.
Also, on the 26th Nat Geo is premiering a series called “One Strange Rock,” hosted by Will Smith – Amy and I are at the Premiere in NYC right now. Ocean Alliance will be featured in one of the 10 episodes.”
Congratulations and thank you to Iain for sharing!! Please keep us posted as to when the Ocean Alliance episode will air on “One Strange Rock.”
Arctic and northern parts of the Atlantic Ocean, south to the Gulf of Maine as a stray.
Occurrence in the Gulf of Maine—
Stray specimens of this northern fish have been reported from Eastport, Maine; from off Cape Ann; and from Salem, in the north side of Massachusetts Bay. We have also seen three small specimens, 1-1¼ inches long that were collected about 15 miles southeast of Cape Ann in 23 and 29 fathoms, by the U. S. Fish Commission in 1878 (now in the U. S, National Museum.)
From Fishes of the Gulf of Maine by Bigelow and Schroeder (1953) online courtesy of MBL/WHOI
I have used Stacey instead of Stacy on many of my own posts, but STACY is the correct spelling, it is set in Stone.
Research finds that I am not the only one, that has made the same mistake. (Gloucester Daily Times and even the City of Gloucester web site)
see links below:
on Jan 31, 2016
REPOSTING FROM 2015 AS THE POST IS GETTING LOTS OF INTEREST THIS WEEK 🙂
Joe Virgilio Makes Saint Joseph Rolls is a wonderful addition to Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project. So many thanks to Joe for taking time from his busy work day to allow filming! Highlights include Joe sharing stories about the early days working alongside his grandfather and cousins, when the thousands of rolls needed for Saint Joseph’s Day were made by hand.
Snow day brings out the fun of sledding and snow boarding at Stage Fort Park.
Please go to link below to vote. Thank you
Huge step and opportunity. Justice Lowy has scheduled a hearing on Tuesday March 20 for counsel and parties! High noon. This is not to the full court; first stop is before the Single Justice. Justice Lowy has allowed 10 minutes each for oral argument.
Sunday, March 18th
Please join the Gloucester Education Foundation at the Power of Play Festival at Gloucester High School
The Gloucester Education Foundation is proud to host the Power of Play Festival, a day of play for Gloucester families and kids of all ages. Play is an important learning tool that promotes creative and innovative thinking. Play also helps kids develop skills that are a foundation for life-long success, including critical thinking, communication, problem solving, and collaboration. The Power of Play Festival will feature fun family activities like: an obstacle course, art projects, lego building, games, music, dance, fort-building, goop-making, sand and water play and LOTS more.
Hosted by Gloucester Education Foundation and Sponsored by Cape Ann Savings Bank and Cape Ann Savings Trust & Financial Services Department
March 14th to 18th: Seaport World Trade Center, Boston
The Boston Flower & Garden Show is about inspiring, educating and motivating the region’s gardeners. Whether for curb appeal, backyard, kitchen, indoor, rooftop or community gardens, this is where New England’s green lovers go to discover new ideas while having fun with family and friends.
This March, as winter wanes, the Boston Flower & Garden Show’s designers, exhibitors and marketplace vendors will whet your appetite for the sumptuous joys of the season ahead. Colorful life-sized gardens, intricate floral arrangements, informative lectures and demonstrations and exciting special events will incorporate elements of the popular food gardening trend. Learn about organics, small-space gardens, homesteading hobbies, edibles as ornamentals and family-friendly spaces for outdoor dining and entertaining. Enjoy the first taste of Spring while gathering the recipes and ingredients you’ll need for this year’s successful garden.
Sunday, March 18th. Parade start, 1:00
As always, for a comprehensive list of family friendly activities, please visit our friends at North Shore Kid
Parker River National Wildlife Refuge just before the recent blizzard. If you can even get in there today, I imagine it looks quite different.
Harry Wagg, the Ipswich-based guitarist, returns to Feather & Wedge this Sunday, March 18.
Harry, will be performing a variety of traditional jazz, contemporary classics and original tunes, all arranged for solo guitar.
Reservations suggested. 978. 999. 5917
Sunday, March 18 – 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM
Feather & Wedge, 5 Main Street, Rockport, MA 01966
Ayurveda Wellness Healing, LLC loves daylight savings time…it is a perfect time to enjoy the benefits of Ayurveda by rising before dawn. Yes, BEFORE dawn.
But don’t just “jump up” and out of bed to start your day, stop, find a quiet spot to mediate for 15 minutes.
Let this become your way of life and watch your life around you become calmer with positive vibes and energy.
Challenge yourself to start tomorrow. If not now, when?
“Blockage is disease/Flow is health”