Go here to read Part One: Winter

Go here to read Part Two: Spring


The most joyous story about Cape Ann wildlife during the summer months of 2018 is the story of the high number of Monarch butterflies and caterpillars in gardens and meadows, seen not only in strong numbers along the Massachusetts coastline, but throughout the butterfly’s breeding range–all around New England, the Great Lakes region, Midwest, and Southern Canada.

Three days after celebrating the two week milestone of our one remaining Piping Plover chick, Little Pip, he disappeared from Good Harbor Beach. It was clear there had been a bonfire in the Plover’s nesting area, and the area was overrun with dog and human tracks. The chick’s death was heartbreaking to all who had cared so tenderly, and so vigilantly, for all those many weeks.

Our Mama and Papa were driven off the beach and forced to build a nest in the parking lot because of dogs running through the nesting area. Despite these terrible odds, the Good Harbor Beach Piping Plover pair hatched four adorable, healthy chicks, in the parking lot. Without the help of Gloucester’s DPW, the Piping Plover volunteer monitors, Ken Whittaker, Greenbelt’s Dave Rimmer, and the AAC, the parking lot nest would have been destroyed.

These brave little birds are incredibly resilient, but as we have learned over the past three years, they need our help to survive. It has been shown time and time again throughout the Commonwealth (and wherever chicks are fledging), that when communities come together to monitor the Piping Plovers, educate beach goers, put in place common sense pet ordinances, and reduce trash, the PiPl have at least a fighting chance to survive.

Little Pip at twelve- through seventeen-days-old

All four chicks were killed either by crows, gulls, dogs, or uneducated beach goers, and in each instance, these human-created issues can be remedied. Ignoring, disregarding, dismissing, or diminishing the following Piping Plover volunteer monitor recommendations for the upcoming 2019 shorebird season at Good Harbor Beach will most assuredly result in the deaths of more Piping Plover chicks.



Piping Plover chick testing its wings.

Not one, but at least two, healthy and very hungry North American River Otters families are dwelling at local ponds, with a total of seven kits spotted. We can thank the fact that our waterways are much cleaner, which has led to the re-establishment of Beavers, and they in turn have created ideal habitat in which these beautiful, social mammals can thrive.

Several species of herons are breeding on our fresh water ponds and the smaller islands off the Cape Ann coastline. By midsummer, the adults and juveniles are seen wading and feeding heartily at nearly every body of water of the main island.

In order to better understand and learn how and why other Massachusetts coastal communities are so much more successful at fledging chicks than is Gloucester, I spent many hours studying and following Piping Plover families with chicks at several north of Boston beaches.

In my travels, I watched Least Terns (also a threatened species) mating and courting, then a week later, discovered a singular nest with two Least Tern eggs and began following this little family, too.

Least Tern Family Life Cycle

Maine had a banner year fledging chicks, as did Cranes Beach, locally. Most exciting of all, we learned at the Massachusetts Coastal Waterbird meeting that Massachusetts is at the fore of Piping Plover recovery, and our state has had the greatest success of all in fledging chicks! This is a wonderful testament to Massachusetts Piping Plover conservation programs and the partnerships between volunteers, DCR, Mass Wildlife, the Trustees, Greenbelt, Audubon, and US Fish and Wildlife.

Fledged chick

Cape Ann Museum

Monarch Madness

Friends Jan Crandall and Patti Papows allowed me to raid their gardens for caterpillars for our Cape Ann Museum Kids Saturday. The Museum staff was tremendously helpful and we had a wonderfully interested audience of both kids and adults!

In August I was contacted by the BBC and asked to help write the story about Monarchs in New England for the TV show “Autumnwatch: New England,. Through the course of writing, the producers asked if I would like to be interviewed and if footage from my forthcoming film, Beauty on the Wing, could be borrowed for the show. We filmed the episode at my friend Patti’s beautiful habitat garden in East Gloucester on the drizzliest of days, which was also the last  day of summer.



Happy Two-week Birthday to Our Little Pip

Common Eider Ducklings at Captain Joes

Little Pip Zing Zanging Around the Beach

Our Little Pip is Missing

Piping Plover Update – Where Are They Now?


What’s For Breakfast Mama?

42 Pairs of Piping Plovers Nesting at Cranes Beach!

Fishing for Sex

Welcome to Good Harbor Beach Mama Hummingbird!

Least Tern One Day Old Chicks!

Welcome to the Mary Prentiss Inn Pollinator Paradise

Piping Plover Symbolic Fencing Recomendations

Good Morning! Brought to You By Great Blue Herons Strolling on the Beach

Two-day Old Least Tern Chicks


Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Grow Native Buttonbush for the Pollinators

A Fine Froggy Lunch for a Little Blue Heron

Snowy Owls in Massachusetts in August!?!

Monarch Butterfly Eggs and Caterpillars Alert

Learning to Fly!

Snapshots from Patti Papows Magical Butterfly Garden

Keep Those Monarch Babies Coming!

A Chittering, Chattering, Chetamnon Chipmunk Good Morning to You, Too!

Butterflies and Bird Pooh, Say What?

Caterpillar Condo

Monarch Madness!

Thank You To Courtney Richardson and the Cape Ann Museum Kids

A Banner Year for Maine’s Piping Plovers

Snowy Egret Synchronized Bathing

Good Harbor Beach Super High Tide

Otter Kit Steals Frog From Mom

Monarch Butterfly Ovipositing Egg on Marsh Milkweed: NINETEEN SIBLINGS READYING TO EMERGE

Monarch Butterfly Rescue


Talking a walk on Magnolia Beach from Coolidge Reservation

Another beauty of a late afternoon walk.  After sitting too long working I decided to go to Coolidge Reservation.  What a treat it is up there and then took a walk toward Magnolia Beach.  The waves were loud and soothing and the sun again amazing.  So grateful.

Ellen Ford joins Fly Amero this evening 7pm @ The Rhumb Line 1.16.2019

Dinner Specials Each Week!
Wednesday, January 16 – 7pm
My Musical Guest: ELLEN FORD!

courtesy photo

One of my favorite things about watching Ellen Ford perform
is the way adoring listeners seem to wrap her in a warm, fuzzy
blanket with their cheers and applause. It just so obviously
makes her feel loved, which she most certainly is… by us all.
Last time in, Ellen turned the entire evening into an utter joyfest.
Accompanied once again by the great Chick Marston, she’ll be
doing it all over again come Wednesday. Don’t miss this! ~ Fly
Dinner with great music!
*Each week features a special, invited musical guest
The Rhumb Line Kitchen……features Morgan Forsythe! Dishes are better than ever before!
Plus a fine, affordable wine menu!
Next week…
1/23 – Allen Estes

1/30 – Lynne Taylor

Looking forward……to seeing you there 🙂

Implications of government shutdown on members/families of the U.S. Coast Guard

January 15, 2019

Re: Implications of government shutdown on members/families of the U.S. Coast Guard
Dear Citizens of Cape Ann,
As you know, the now 24-day government shutdown is taking its toll on U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) members and their families. The Coast Guard, operating under the Department of Homeland Security, is the only branch of the military not being paid for their ongoing operations.
This morning, I met with Adam Curcuru, Director of Veterans’ Services; Chad Johnson, Assistant Harbormaster; Brian O’Connor, Commander, VFW Post 1624; Mark Nestor, Commander, American Legion Post 3; Julie LaFontaine, Executive Director, The Open Door, USGC Commander Sector Gloucester Kevin Morgan; State Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante; State Senator Bruce Tarr; and a representative from Congressman Seth Moulton’s Office to discuss the issue and how we as a community can best help our local USCG members and their families.
Together we have identified several donation options for those wishing to help. Please be sure to reference USCG when donating. That reference is needed to ensure donations be allocated to USCG members and their families.
Food Donations: At this time, we kindly ask that you do not bring any food donations to the Gloucester Coast Guard Station. All food donations should be directed to Open Door, located at 28 Emerson Avenue, Gloucester, MA.
Gift Card Donations: Gift cards to specific stores such as grocery stores, gas stations, general merchandise (Target or Walmart) and monetary gift cards (Visa, American Express or Mastercard) in any denomination are needed. These can be dropped off in Gloucester or sent to American Legion Post 3, P.O. Box 122. Gloucester, MA 01931-0122, VFW Post 1624 or The Open Door, 28 Emerson Avenue, Gloucester, MA 01930..
Monetary Donations: Monetary donations (check or cash) will be collected at the VFW, American Legion Post 3, P.O. Box 122, Gloucester, MA 01931-0122, Cape Ann Veterans’ Services, The Open Door, 28 Emerson Avenue, Gloucester, MA 01930 or at the Gloucester Fund (45 Middle Street, Gloucester MA). As a reminder, any monetary donations must include a reference USCG.

Clothing Donations: Clothes donations are not requested at this time. Once needs are determined we will provide additional guidance. Please use the other sources of giving recommended.
Thank you for all the outreach regarding this situation. The community’s desire to help is overwhelming. Together let’s help our local USCG community families during this difficult time.

Sefatia Romeo Theken

Headlands is Back at Feather & Wedge! Thursday, Jan 17


Headlands, featuring John Rockwell, Amy Rich and Eric Wilson, all of Rockport, return to Feather & Wedge this Thursday for an evening of entertainment and great food. Their set list includes selections from Roots and Americana to a little bit of Country. Reservations highly suggested! 978.999.5917

Thursday, January 17, 2019
7:30 PM 10:00 PM

headlands at feather and wedge

View original post

Lots of Talk About this Gillette Ad

On January 13th Gillette asked, “Is this the best a man can get?” as a spin on their long standing slogan “The best a man can get.”

Lots of talk last night and this morning about this Gillette Ad.  As is typical……it seems people are divided.  Some are applauding and some are boycotting.  Some are feeling vindicated some are feeling insulted.   Your thoughts?

Bullying. Harassment. Is this the best a man can get? It’s only by challenging ourselves to do more, that we can get closer to our best. To say the right thing, to act the right way. We are taking action at Join us.