Or is it Sex for Fish? –The Quid Pro Quo Courtship of the Least Tern

While learning more about Piping Plovers on North Shore beaches I happened to be on Winthrop Shore Beach on an afternoon in May when dozens and dozens of Least Terns were pairing up in an elaborate dance of courtship and mating. It was fascinating to observe their courtship feeding and I was so curious to learn more.

That very same afternoon, the “Rosetti’s” Piping Plovers were mating, too. Well known to the area is a pair of Plovers that nest every year directly in front of Café Rosetti’s, a fabulous Italian restaurant located on the main boulevard that runs along the beach. The Rosetti’s Plovers are very successful and each year they fledge a clutch of chicks. This year was no exception!

For the past several months I have been documenting through film and photographs the Rosetti’s Plovers and the Rosetti’s Terns, along with a family of PiPl at Revere Beach (more about the Winthrop and Revere Beach’s PiPl in future posts). Both species of birds are on the state and federal threatened species list. Piping Plovers and Least Terns began nesting on the area’s urban beaches as a direct result of the Boston Harbor cleanup, a wonderful, and very surprising to all involved, turn of events. In some regions, both species share the same habitat, as is the case with Winthrop Shore Reservation.

The more we learn about how and why Plovers (and other species of threatened shorebirds) successfully nest on other north of Boston much loved and much utilized beaches, the more we can help our Good Harbor Beach Piping Plovers successfully nest in years to come.

During the breeding season Least Terns perform courtship displays in the air and on the ground. In dramatic aerial display, a fish-carrying male is chased by the female, sometimes up to four females.

On the ground, the male parades his fish to a prospective mate. With fish dangling from his bill, he bobs his head from side-to side, then opens and closes his wings over the female.

The male mounts the female, still with fish dangling. During copulation he passes the fish to the female.

The funniest thing is, when the female allows the male to mount, she sometimes snatches the fish and flies away before mating has occurred.

No privacy, and lots of piracy!

The male continues to feed the female throughout the incubation period. Both parents incubate the eggs however, the female does about eighty percent of the brooding, while the male provides most of the fish for she and the chicks.

When one adult Least Tern feeds another, whether during courtship when the pair are first becoming established, or during the incubation period, this behavior is called “courtship feeding.”

The courtship feeding display perhaps provide the female tern the assurance that her male mate will be a good provider of fish for both she and the young. Both male and female Least Terns feed the chicks for the first several months after hatching; the better the fisherman, the stronger the chicks. Studies have shown too that courtship feeding provides the female with considerable nutritional benefit. The number of eggs, and weight of the eggs, are determined by the female’s nutritional status and how much food is fed her by her mate.

In Massachusetts, Least Terns primarily eats fish, including Sand Lance, Herring, and Hake. They also eat insects and crustaceans.

And we have a nest, with two eggs!

Read more about Winthrop Shore Reservation here.Winthrop Shore Reservation Nesting Bird Observers


Dear Kim,
When I was gardening this evening I discovered that there were monarch caterpillars all over our butterfly weed- so many that we stopped counting at 35! Not sure if you are interested in caterpillar sightings in Gloucester as well as monarchs themselves, but thought we would share this info (and photo) with you.
Kelsey McNiff and family


Dear Friends of AVP,

The AVP Porch Tour is back, Friday, August 3, 2018 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm This self-guided tour through the charming village features private porches, many never available before, with stunning views of Lobster Cove, the Annisquam Lighthouse, and across Ipswich Bay.

At the conclusion of the tour, participants will be treated to wine and hors d’oeuvres at the final porch with a sunset serenade by AVP cast members performing some of the best-loved songs from The Little Mermaid.

Tickets are $30 and are available NOW at the Annisquam Exchange,  32 Leonard Street, Annisquam. 978-281-035

Tickets for our 2018 production of The Little Mermaid are also now available at our website and at the Exchange. The show runs August 7-12, 2018 at 7:00 pm.

We’re looking forward to seeing you this summer!

The Annisquam Village Players

Wednesdays with Fly Amero ~ His Musical Guest: LYNNE TAYLOR! 7pm at The Rhumb Line 7.25.2018

Dinner Specials Each Week!
Wednesday, July 25th – 7pm
My Musical Guest: LYNNE TAYLOR!

Gifted singer, songwriter and musician Lynne Taylor takes
the Rhumb Line stage this week. Last time she was here, I
was outa town. Not the case now! I’m looking forward to
playing alongside this great talent from Liz Frame’s group,
The Kickers. We start at 7pm. ~ Fly
Dinner with great music!
*Each week features a special, invited musical guest
The Rhumb Line Kitchen……features Morgan! Dishes are better than ever before!
Plus a fine, affordable wine menu!
8/1 – Ellen & Chick

8/8 – Liz Frame

8/15 – Jared Thomas

Looking forward……to seeing you there 🙂

Buoy Pop Bananas

Clean streets and fun signs on a Main Street curve in historic downtown Gloucester.

Pop Gallery and Buoy pop up store “Buoys will be Buoys”

Bananas  destination vintage shop for four decades

downtown shops Gloucester signs_Pop Gallery, Buoy, Bananas_20180720_©c ryan.jpg


Across the street Trio’s new window sign heralds Fresh Seafood from Local Boats.

Trio Gloucester Mass_ 20180720.jpg

Gloucester Smiles with Assistant Harbormaster


Assistant Harbormaster Michael Birchenough on duty at Harbor Loop.

Link For information on Gloucester Harbormaster 

How to Contact
Harbormaster:  Captain Thomas Ciarametaro
Ph:   978-325-5750
Fx:   978-281-4188
Deputy Harbormaster:  Chad Johnson 
Ph:   978-325-5750
Fx:   978-281-4188
VHF:  VHF Channel 16, VHF Channel 14, City Launch VHF Channel 72

Two Lobster Lunch Cruises scheduled this week on Tuesday and Wednesday!



Looking for a delicious lunch on the water? The Beauport Cruiseline leaves from the dock directly behind Seaport Grille, and has two Lobster Lunch Cruises scheduled this week on Tuesday and Wednesday! Visit for more information and to get your tickets!

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Hook-A-Cure Fishing Tournament


Good Morning!
We are starting a fishing tournament to honor the memory of my husband, Russell Morris, who lost his battle with cancer in 2013 ( as well as untold others…).
Almost all of our Committee is made up of Pan Mass Challenge riders and Volunteers who met each other back in the 1980’s at the Boston Esplanade July 4th celebration!
There we are know as the Red, White and Blue Crew.
Here it’s the Scrawny-Morgan Foundation…the name of our basement “bar” where all friends get together and come up with ways to help in the battle against cancer.
This year is our first year for the Fishing Tourney. I have attached some of the information we have sent out everywhere!
We SURE could use any publicity we can garner! We are alot smaller than the Blue Fin Blow-out…but both tourney’s raise funds for great causes!
My husband loved getting family and kids involved with fishing – thus I think we came up with a somewhat unique thought for our event.
We have 3 “divisions”…the actually boats that go out, The Lady Sea of the Gloucester Fleet for (primarily ) Families and the Shore Division for those who like to fish from land.
We tried to leave nobody out!
Thanks in advance for your time and consideration!


Pat Morris

2018 PMC Campaign has begun!

For more information