Last May you may recall that we posted photos of a tiny flock of three Wilson’s Plovers (Charadrius wilsonia) that were spotted at Good Harbor Beach. The fog was dense and I was on my way to work, so I only captured a few fleeting moments of footage and several photographs.

Compare Wilson’s Plover (top of page) to Piping Plover (above).

I was contacted by Sean Williams, secretary of the Massachusetts Avian Records Committee with a request to use my photos. Wilson’s Plovers are a southern species; it is quite rare to see them as far north as the New Jersey shore, let alone in Massachusetts. There is no previously known sighting ever of two or more Wilson’s Plovers ever seen before in Massachusetts history.

And to think this rare bird sighting happened on our Good Harbor Beach!

The Wilson’s Plovers were foraging by Boardwalk #3 in our Mama and Papa Piping Plover territory. There were a few minor skirmishes between Wilson’s and Piping but they all continued to go about their respective ways. The Wilson’s foraged at the wrack line, preened on the beach, and one took a bath in the shallow water of the incoming time.

You can see in the clip, Papa Plover giving brief chase to one of the Wilson’s Plovers.

Here is a copy of the report that MARC requested be filled out in the case of rare bird sightings.

Massachusetts Avian Records Committee (MARC)

Review List Species Report Form

Please answer each question with as much thought and detail possible. These details will help the MARC determine whether your review list species is sufficiently supported for acceptance. It is fine if you do not have all the details to complete the form; complete as much as possible.

Once completed, email this form to Sean Williams: seanbirder@gmail.com

  1. Species or subspecies: Wilson’s Plovers (3)
  1. Date, time, and location (please be specific, i.e. 17:40 on 30 Oct 2015, GPS coordinates or street address):

Approximately 8-9:00am on May 9th at Good Harbor Beach, 99 Thacher Road, Gloucester, MA

Number of individuals: 3 birds, two persons, myself and Essex County Greenbelt’s Dave Rimmer

  1. Situational details of the sighting—e.g., “I was walking down Race Point Beach when suddenly…”, or “I got a call from Ludlow Griscom and went to investigate a…”

I was walking on Good Harbor Beach checking on our Piping Plover pair and saw the three birds in the fog, plus one sandpiper. The birds were foraging in the wrack line. One went higher up on the beach to preen, another took a bath in the shallow water. The WP were in the PiPl’s nesting territory and there were several skirmishes between the PiPl, and one Wilson’s chased another Wilson’s. After a bit, all three flew further down the beach and out of sight. I stopped by later in the day, after the fog had burned off, to see if they were still there and they were not.

  1. Physical description. This is perhaps the most important part of the form. Include all observed physical details of the bird, including plumage, bill, feet, eyes, bare skin, shape, and size relative to nearby birds:

Pale pink legs, thick bill and overall black, plumage similar to PiPl, but a little darker, but not as dark as Semi-palmated Plover, tiny bit larger than Piping Plover.

  1. Vocal description. If the bird vocalized, describe the sound to the best of your ability, e.g. trill, buzz, high-pitched, “kser”, quavering, length of call, etc.

The waves were drowning out their vocalizing.

  1. Behavioral description. What behaviors did you observe?

Foraging, preening, bathing, territorial dispute with PiPl, and flying.

  1. Habitat:

Good Harbor Beach is a sandy beach, with the beach greatly narrowed this year because the beach dropped about six feet and the tide now comes right up to the dune during periods of high tides. The beach abuts a dune, large parking lot, and marsh.

  1. Total length of time and number of times bird was seen and/or heard:

Half an hour to an hour.

  1. How did you rule out other similar species?

 Behavior and photos.

  1. Distance from the bird:

Twenty to thirty feet or so.

  1. Optics used to view the bird:
  2. Eyes and cameras. I may have film footage. Will check on that.
  3. 13. Lighting—e.g. sunny or cloudy, was the bird sunlit or backlit:
  4. Sunny at first, then dense fog came rolling in.
  5. Your contact informationkimsmithdesigns@hotmail.com

Classic Trucks at the White Ellery 🏠

Fun family event news from Courtney Richardson at Cape Ann Museum:

Classic Trucks at the White Ellery House | Linking past and present

GLOUCESTER– In the spirit of connecting the past to the present the Cape Ann Museum will display classic trucks on the lawn of the historic White-Ellery House (245 Washington Street in Gloucester) on Saturday, August 4 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. This program is free and open to the public. All ages are invited to enjoy a ride down “memory lane” while taking in these classic vehicles as well as the historic house that served as a home until 1947. Local historians and Museum docents will be on hand to share the history of the house with visitors. Classic truck themed drawing, coloring and “I spy” activities will be available for children and families. All are welcome!

This program is offered in conjunction with the special exhibition Gone… Fishing: Recent Work by Jeffery Marshall

opening on August 10. For more information visit capeannmuseum.org or call 978-283-0455 x10.

Ellery House with Cows

The White-Ellery House, located at 245 Washington Street in Gloucester at the Route 128 Grant Circle Rotary, was built in 1710 and is one of just a handful of First Period houses in Eastern Massachusetts that survives to this day. (First Period means c. 1620–1725.) Stepping inside today, visitors enter much the same house they would have 300 years ago.


Image credit: Martha Hale Harvey, Old Ellery House, photograph. c1895. Collection of the Cape Ann Museum.

Cape Ann Coffee Loves Turtles

And though I do not “love” turtles, I am on board with reducing use of plastic straws. I’d be happy not to see another poor turtle with a straw stuck in any bodily orifice. However, I confess to not being all on board with metal straws….just unappealing to me. I will harken back to my youth and seek paper straws and hope their durability has improved over the years.

community stuff 7/27/18

PRIVATE GARDENS of Bobbie Brooks OPEN for this weekend

A warm welcome to visit DISTINCTIVE GARDEN DESIGNS, 73 Langford St, Rt 127 in Lanesville 

Open Garden Days and Daylily Sales 

July 28, 29 – Sat and Sun – note the time to visit is 9-1

Collection of 1000 American Daylily Society registrations in bloom, with 500+ seedlings, with 200+ varieties to offer, plus 50 BB registrations, and with many potted up to carry home!

Or just come and enjoy! 

bobbie brooks



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Gloucester Resident Awarded Second Annual

Salem State Junior Book Award and Scholarship


Rose Degrange, of Gloucester, has received the 2018 Salem State Junior Book Award and Scholarship from Salem State University Undergraduate Admissions. A total of 50 local high school students received this award this year.

The recipients received a copy of Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand, a book which was chosen by many of the students from university community.  The recipient received a copy of the book, as well as a $1,000 scholarship to the university. To be eligible for the scholarship the student must be admitted and enroll as a first year student in the fall 2019.

The students who received book awards, all high school juniors, received a GPA of 2.75 or higher throughout their first three years of high school and have demonstrated a commitment to the community through work, volunteerism, family/peer commitment, and/or civic engagement.

Hi Joey, 

Happy Summer! 

I am a volunteer with the Mass Oyster Project.  You may be familiar with this organization.   Here is the our website:  www.massoyster.org

Mass Oyster Project is hosting a Waterfront Party at Maritime Gloucester on August 18 and thought that you may be interested in details. Attached is press release for your reference.  If you have time – come join us!   

Let me know if I can connect you with one of our Board Members for additional comments on these initiatives.   Thank you! 


Stories Songs and More

My girlfriends and I were sharing our own stories of marriage, motherhood, movies and more the other night.  One of them mentioned wanting to see the Mr. Rogers movie coming out. As we all have gotten older and somewhat simpler we realize how amazing this man really was. How present but purposeful every move, routine, and word was spoken to evoke such a feeling of welcome, love, and kindness.

My own kids have written biographies on famous explorers, Americans, and heroes of the times.  Most are noted for achieving uncharted territory and climbing some mountain top for the first time. However, most heros actually walk the same street everyday, take the same 7:08 train, and the same route on the boulevard. And, like Mr Rogers, in their quiet routine accomplish so many unspoken and trophy-less feats. Some of these heros help us journey back to our child self, you know the part of you who plays, wonders, and notices small details like lady bugs and acorns. They remind us to slow down, look up, enjoy time and a smile. They make serious note and attend to matters that are seemingly small to busy adults but to a 5 year old of the utmost importance. They call us out of our heads and into our hearts.

I had a toddler and infant swaddled in cloth heading to Stage Fort Park for some type of story time a decade ago. Instantly, magically, I was welcomed into this tribe of mothers, fathers, grandparents, children, friends, ,and two talented storytellers.  We would gather and listen, laugh and wonder. Year after year, Lucille and Alicia watched my children grow from babies to toddlers and more babies and long legged 10 and 12 year olds. One year my daughter found a tiny little teddy bear for Alicia’s puppet Pierra. To her this gift was as rich and tender as the first sighting of the Lady Slipper in Ravenswood Park.  Summer after summer they taught my children to wait, to listen, to not step in the poison ivy behind the bushes, to make a wish, to send a good thought, to laugh. But it never stopped at only those Tuesday mornings. Everytime we see Lucille walking on the boulevard or to the library or Alicia walking to the train we are embraced in their love and treated like the most important people in their lives.

Even two years ago when I was laid up in bed for a year with sickness Alicia read and responded to every heart wrenching blog I wrote sorting out the trauma and gift life had given me. Encouraging me to keep telling my story and helping me understand truly that life is about stories, songs, and more.

When I heard Lucille and Alicia were moving on from Tuesday mornings at Stage Fort Park sadness crept in that my youngest never got to meet the puppet Pierre and hear the story about Aunt Tia and be gifted a shell; a good thought at the end of July. Something in my summer shifted knowing Tuesday mornings at Stage Fort Park right on that little piece of grass has finally ended.

But  I realize it never really ends. My girlfriends and I  and their kids and my kids still will gather at Stage Fort, or the Boulevard, or in a backyard, and keep telling our stories and keep listening to each other. And we will keep sending good thoughts in the shape of acorns and sea shells.  Lucille and Alicia have taught me so much over these years and are some of my heros.

On Tuesday at 10:00 in that grassy same spot we would like to celebrate their 28 years of service to us. Come  and help us send them off with gratefulness, well wishes, good thoughts, and miniature teddy bears for Pierre.

Summer Eclipse Acupuncture Restorative Yoga ~

Cape Ann Wellness

Finding Summer Balance on the Summer Eclipse with
Ayurveda, Restorative Yoga and Acupuncture

Thursday, July 26 at Ayurveda Wellness Healing, 25C Lexington Ave, Magnolia, MA from 6:30-8:30pm

Summer is the season of joy, expansion and abundance.

Please join us for an opportunity to apply the teachings of Ayurveda, Yoga and Chinese Medicine to connect to the expansive energy of the summer season and optimize your physical and energetic health.

This sessional gathering will include a discussion on “How to stay cool and keep your cool in this Summer Season “ using Ayurveda, yoga and Acupuncture. Each participant will be positioned in a very comfortable restorative pose while acupuncture is applied on meridian points below the elbows and knees to treat the entire body. (and yes, this will relieve your aching back etc.) While the treatment is going on, you will be lead through a gentle sound meditation with essential oils…

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Jeff Weaver “Works on Paper” at North Shore Arts Association July 27 – August 18.

Cape Ann Community

Jeff Weaver “Works on Paper” at North Shore Arts Association July 27 – August 18. Open free to the public! Gloucester artist Jeff Weaver was born in 1953 in Framingham, Massachusetts. He began drawing and painting at an early age, and by the age of fourteen he began accepting portrait commissions. In high school he was an award winning young artist, winning competitions in state-wide competitions. During this time his teacher and mentor was Eleanor Marvin, accomplished sculptor and graphic artist, who nourished his draftsmanship skills. After graduating from high school, he studied at the Boston Museum School. In 1972 he moved to Gloucester, sketching and painting the waterfront on an almost daily basis. In his early years in the city, he supported himself at various waterfront jobs, as well as from commissions for boat portraits from fishing vessel captains, and murals for commercial establishments and private homes. His commercial…

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