Throughout the day, a threesome has been actively feeding, battling for territory, and two of the three, displaying courtship behavior.

Often times I have read that Piping Plovers in Massachusetts do not begin to actively court until mid-April. That has simply not been the case with our Good Harbor Beach pair. As soon as they arrive to their northern breeding grounds, they don’t waste any time and get right down to the business of reproducing! Last year, the PiPls were courting within a week of arriving, and this year, on the first day.

I only had brief periods of time to visit the beach this morning, but within that window, FOUR separate times the male built a little scrape, called Mama over to come investigate, while adding bits of dried seaweed and sticks, and fanning his tail feathers.

Papa scraping a nest in the sand.

Fanning his tail and inviting Mama to come inspect the nest scrape.

Tossing sticks and beach debris into the scrape.

Papa high-stepping for Mama.

It was VERY cold and windy both times I stopped by GHB and the PiPls were equally as interested in snuggling down behind a clump of dried beach grass as they were in courting.

Mama and Papa finding shelter from the cold and wind in the wrack line.

Good Harbor Beach was blessedly quiet all day. Our awesome dog officer Teagan Dolan was at the beach bright and early and there wasn’t a single dog in sight, I think greatly due to his vigilance and presence educating beach goers this past week.

Heather Hall, Katharine Parsons, Alicia Pensarosa, Laurie Sawin

Saturday we had the pleasure of meeting Katharine Parsons, Director of the Mass Audubon Coastal Waterbird Program. She gave an outstanding program to a crowd of Piping Plover advocates and interested parties, which was held at the Sawyer Free Library. Katharine covered everything from life cycle, management strategies and tools, habitat conservation, and the fantastic role Massachusetts is playing in the recovery of Piping Plovers, Least Terns, Roseate Terns, and Oystercatchers. We are so appreciative of Alicia Pensarosa and Gloucester’s Animal Advisory Committee for sponsoring Katharine!

Ward One Councilor Scott Memhard and Katharine

City Council President Paul Lundberg, Katharine, and Alicia

Fun Fact we learned from Katharine’s presentation–a Piping Plover chick weighs six grams at birth. In comparison, and after consulting Google, a US nickel weighs a close 5.5 grams.


Puttering through a cut in the marsh, a moving brown shape appeared. Much too big to be a muskrat, and too small to be an otter, it was a very large and pleasantly plump Beaver!

He swam through several small pools of water then climbed out onto dry land to oil his fur. Beavers have a pair of glands located at the base of their tails that produce a fatty, waxy secretion called castoreum. The Beaver combs the castoreum through his fur to waterproof, enabling him to swim without getting his body wet.

Beavers don’t see or hear very well, but they have an amazing sense of smell. They also use the castoreum to mark their territory. The substance is surprisingly pleasantly scented, made pleasant by the Beaver’s diet of tree bark, twigs, stems, and buds.

Beaver waterproofing his fur.

The castoreum smells of vanilla and raspberry, with sweet floral notes. You could actually say, Beaver butts smell great!

After pausing briefly, the chubby fellow waddled back across the marshy land, heading for deeper water.

Where do Beavers go during the winter months and do they hibernate? Beavers are less active in the winter, but they do not hibernate. They spend the winter in a cozy cone-shaped winter lodge built of sticks and mud. When the muddy wall freezes, it is nearly as strong as cement. The Beavers leave a ventilating hole open at the top of the cone. On a cold winter day, you can see steam arising from the hole of an active beaver lodge, and also, if close enough, smell and hear the activity within. Winter dwellers of a beaver lodge might include the Mom and Dad, yearlings, kits born the previous year, and even possibly a muskrat family.

There are two tiers to the upper part of the lodge that is above the waterline, the lower for feeding and for drip-drying, and the higher tier for sleeping. The sleeping platform is cushioned with grass and shredded wood fibers. The snow pack above, the chamber’s thick walls (two to three feet thick) and heat generated by the lodge dwellers keeps the den toasty warm (by Beaver standards). One study showed that a Beaver lodge in Ontario maintained a fairly constant temperature of 32 degrees while the temperature outdoors ranged from -6 degrees to 19 degrees.

In anticipation of winter, Beavers stock pile great caches of the bark and stems of aspen, maple, willow, birch, black alder, dogwood, and black cherry trees. They also eat a great deal, and the fat is stored in their bodies and tails; the size of the tail fluctuates with seasons. The Beavers huddle together on the sleeping platform, eating less during the winter, which helps keep their activity levels low and reduces their metabolic rate.

Happy Spring!

BoDeans Pre-Concert Dinner at Feather & Wedge – Wednesday, April 3


In honor of the Bo-Deans’ debut performance at the Shalin Liu Performance Center, Feather & Wedge will be open and serving a pre-concert dinner. Book your tickets and make your reservation quickly because it’s bound to be a full house! Call: 978.999.5917

Wednesday, April 3
5 – 9 PM

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This Guy…. AdventureDAD is a Man of His Word

Thatch’s team fell a little bit short of the Championship today, but this video makes me smile (for a few different reasons). This is Don. Don is also known as “AdventureDAD”…..father to Jamie McDonald… Adventureman.  Many members of this team ran the very last little bit of Jamie’s truly unbelievable 210-marathon/5,500 mile solo run from Washington State to Gloucester alongside him and were there at the finish line in their CAYH shirts this past Wednesday. When Don heard that they had a championship game three days later, he told them that he was going to be there to cheer them on….because they were there to cheer on his son.

Wouldn’t you know that this morning he reached out to coordinate how to make it happen…even though he was due to fly back to England shortly after the game.

This is a dad who supported his son through some scary younger years when Jamie was afflicted with a rare disease that stole him of his mobility. This is a dad who supported his son when, thank goodness, he fought and prevailed and decided to then dedicate himself to raising money for sick children. This is a dad who has since supported his son during some absolutely monumental adventures….. including the upcoming 7 day straight, world record breaking, treadmill run. And this is a dad who is a man of his word who also wanted to cheer on and support this team…our sons and daughter.

I’m so glad the team had a chance to hear from him (and his bloody brilliant accent)….even if they don’t fully get why it is so cool that he took the time.

You can still DONATE HERE


Pet of the Week – Dover

dover 1dover 2
Hi, my name is Dover! I made my way to Cape Ann Animal Aid through Road Trip Home Rescue! I am a lucky guy and thankful for another chance. I was rescued from my home when my owner passed away.
The folks here think I have some Beagle and terrier in my family tree but no one knows for sure. I got to spend some time in foster, and my foster mom says I am a very sweet guy, and I like people and other dogs. I am very friendly and playful. I love attention, but I am also content to play alone with my toys. Sometimes I just like to sit with my foster mom and watch TV. The staff here say I am a sweet and energetic guy I am looking for that special family who wouldn’t mind providing love and care for me.
I am considered a special needs adoption because I recently underwent heart worm treatment. I will need to continue exercise restrictions in the future.
To learn more about me or other animals waiting for homes, please come visit our shelter at 4 Paws Lane in Gloucester or check us out online at

Pat Morss’ Red Finch Couple Is Busy Building A Nest Inside A Paolo Soleri Bell

Pat Morss writes-

Our red finch couple couldn’t wait for us to put out a hanging plant for their nest this year, so they decided to use our Paolo Soleri bell on the deck.  In the photos, the male is on top of the bell, and the female is going inside building the nest on the clapper.  We’ll keep watch.
Best, Pat

Joey writes-

Our red finch couple has returned and has started builing their nest inside our springtime wreath hanging on the front door!

Community Health Needs Assessment Survey

Cape Ann Wellness

Community Health Needs Assessment Survey
Beverly and Addison Gilbert Hospitals are conducting a Community Health Needs Assessment to better understand the most pressing health-related issues for residents. The information gathered will help develop health improvement plans that address these issues, and guide decisions on investments in community programs and services. Your input is extremely important.
Please take a few minutes to complete the Community Health Needs Assessment Survey. The survey is available in 7 languages. You can select your language in the top right corner: e

Information from this assessment is vital to help guide the work of community partners and our towns and cities. Please take a moment to participate in the survey and encourage others to as well.

Thank you.
Grace Giambanco Numerosi
Regional Community Relations Manager
Business Development
Location: Beverly & Addison Gilbert Hospitals 

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