How to tell the difference between a Piping Plover and a Killdeer

This past week, we have received a half dozen reports of “plovers” nesting in local parking lots. Folks are correct, they are a type of plover, but they are not Piping Plovers. The bird is a more common sort, a Killdeer, and Killdeers, like Piping Plovers (and other species of plovers), share many similar courting, nest scraping, mating, and defensive behaviors.

Killdeer courting in the parking lot at Stage Fort Park

Killdeers have been nesting in the dunes and in the Good Harbor Beach parking lot for a number of years, and some years they even have two broods. Last year, the first brood of the season hatched from a nest in the dunes, the second brood, from a nest at the perimeter of the parking lot. For the second nest, Gloucester’s amazing DPW crew  put up a large rock adjacent to the nest, to prevent cars from driving over the nest.

We don’t hear as much about Killdeer Plovers because they are not an endangered species. Killdeers are found in every state of the continental US, Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America. They are the least shorebird-like of shorebirds because they breed and dwell in many types of habitats including grasslands, fields, urban areas, gravel pits, airports, parking lots, athletic fields, and golf courses. Despite their super ability to adapt to human habitats, it is a species in decline.

Killdeers are nearly twice as large as Piping Plovers, but you wouldn’t know that unless you see them side-by-side. The easiest way to tell the difference is Killdeers have two black collar bands whereas PiPls only have one.

Killdeers have a red eye ring, two collar bands, and a black, longer bill.

Piping Plovers have one collar band, no red eye ring, and an orange bill tipped black.

The back and wing feathers of the Killdeers are a mid-shade of brown, with rust and orange under wings. This coloration more easily blends with gravel pits, grasslands, and scrubby dune habitats. The Piping Plover’s wing and back feathers are a soft pale gray, in shades of driftwood and sand; the birds are much better camouflaged for beach life.  The Killdeer has a red eye ring, the Piping Plover’s eyes are jet black. Killdeer’s bills are more elongated and are a solid black, the PiPls’s is shorter and orange, tipped in black. Piping Plovers have orangish legs; Killdeer’s legs are light buff and light gray.

The feathers of the Killdeers at Stage Fort park blend beautifully with gravel, scrubby grass, and dirt found there in the parking lot. Notice in the third photo in the above gallery how the Killdeer blends with its grassy surroundings.

Piping Plovers are camouflaged in coastal hues of sand and driftwood

The same advice that applies to observing Piping Plover chicks as does to Killdeer chicks. Watch from a safe distance that does not cause the birds to flush and never pick up or touch the eggs or chick.

Killdeer and Piping Plover chicks are precocial. That is a word biologists use to describe a baby bird’s stage of development at birth. Precocial means that shortly after hatching, the bird is fully mobile. Plover chicks are not completely mature, they still need parents to help regulate their body temperature, but they have downy feathers and can run and feed themselves within moments after emerging.  Both Killdeer and Piping plover chicks are well camouflaged in their natural habitats.

The opposite of precocial is altricial. Birds that hatch helpless, naked, usually blind, and are incapable of departing the nest are altricial. Robins and Cardinals are examples of altricial birds.

Killdeer chicks are well hidden in their habitats, as are Piping Plovers chicks in theirs.

Follow this link for more photos of Killdeers and chicks

Even though they are not Piping Plovers, we still love to hear about Killdeers and to learn more about where they are nesting in our area. Please email me at if you have any information you would like to share about Killdeers. Thank you.

Jazz Dinner Featuring Alex Olsen – Thursday at Feather and Wedge in Rockport


Stop in at Feather & Wedge Thursday for an evening of music by jazz keyboardist, Alex Olsen! Alex has performed in world-renowned venues including Rose Hall, Symphony Hall, and Lincoln Center alongside genre-defining artists such as Wynton Marsalis, John Oates of Hall and Oates, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He is known for his inventive compositions and improvisation drawing inspiration from his studies in jazz, classic orchestral, and hip-hop. Recipient of several awards from international jazz competitions including Essentially Ellington, Alex graduated from the Berklee College of Music with honors and is now frequently playing in the Boston music scene.

Reservations highly suggested! 978.999.5917

Thursday, April 25
7:30 – 10:00 PM

Feather & Wedge, 5 Main Street, Rockport, MA 01966

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State House Display Features Cape Ann Artists

Public reception Wednesday, May 8 from 10:00 to 11:00 AM

Visitors to the Massachusetts State House’s newly renovated Senate Lobby will be presented with the opportunity to view a selection of artworks from a host of Cape Ann artists.  The exhibit, curated by Karen Tibbetts, will include the works of artists from Rockport, Essex, Gloucester, and Manchester. The artists include Gordon Goeteman, John Nesta, Jeff Weaver, Eileen Oliver, Phil Cusumano, Jill Armstrong, TM Nicholas, Judith Goeteman, Jason Burroughs, Marty Swanson, Gayle Macklem, Ken Knowles, Barbara Duggan, and Kathleen Gerdon Archer.
Karen Tibbets looks through the door with two of the paintings on either side of the door
Rocky Neck has active organizations striving to promote the Rocky Neck Cultural District which is situated on a peninsula along Gloucester’s harbor.  Permission to exhibit works in the entryway to the Senate’s Chamber came through a request facilitated by Senator Bruce Tarr.
Cape Ann has a long history of attracting talented artists including; Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Frank Duveneck, and Childe Hassam, each of whom lived and worked on Rocky Neck in the 19th and early 20th Centuries.
Gordon Goetemann painting on left, Judith Goetemann silk painting in the center and Phil Cusumano painting on right.
“I am honored to share the unique character and talent presented in “The Cape Ann Art Exhibit” which represents hundreds of artists who are dedicated to preserving, promoting and carrying on the legacy of our Cultural Heritage; all the while showing generations the importance of “Art” in our lives,” said Karen Tibbetts, exhibit organizer.
The exhibit of new works, which is now on display, will officially be opened during a public reception Wednesday, May 8 from 10:00 to 11:00 AM and remain on display until mid-June.  For more information about the exhibit or the featured artists contact the Rocky Neck Art Colony at 978-515-7004 or visit

I Am More Project

Rockport “I Am More” Reception

 The Rockport Police Department will be opening their doors to the public this Thursday evening (April 25th) from 7-9 pm for a reception featuring eight of the I Am More portraits by Gloucester artist Amy Kerr with accompanying essays on display in the Community Room at 168 Main Street in Rockport. The pastel and colored pencil portraits of mostly Cape Ann residents are displayed with essays by the subjects that describe all the ways they are more than their depression, alcoholism, bi-polar disorder, grief, suicidal thoughts, eating disorder, anxiety and panic attacks. There will be information available about free health and wellness resources available in Cape Ann, along with light refreshments.

 A big thank you to Chief John Horvath and retired Rockport Police Officer Roger Lesch for making this event possible.




Wednesdays with Fly Amero ~ Tonight’s Special Guest: Bill Gleason w/ Ken Steiner 7pm @ The Rhumb Line4.23 2019

Dinner Specials Each Week!
Wednesday, April 24 – 7pm

My Musical Guest: BILL GLEASON!

ken s

Accompanied by Ken Steiner on the upright bass, the amazing Bill Gleason and his gorgeous Tippen 12-string bring blues to a whole ‘nother level wherever he goes.  This week, we’re lucky enough to have him at the Rhumb Line.  Love this guy.  See

you there – 7pm! ~ 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!


Honkytonk Women

Jon Butcher


Looking forward…
…to seeing you there 🙂

“Prevailing Wind & Whales” special MIT concert Saturday is all Gloucester Ocean Alliance, Parley, MIT Wind Ensemble 20th Anniversary & Humpback Whales

Parley X MIT: Prevailing Wind and Whales Saturday April 27, 2019

Reserve tickets here

From the press release:

7:00pm Parley SnotBot, EarBot & Drones for Whale Research
Parley Pre-Concert Talk Featuring Drs. Iain Kerr & Roger Payne, Ocean Alliance
Cyrill Gutsch, Founder, Parley for the Oceans

Join Dr. Roger Payne, Dr. Iain Kerr, and Parley founder Cyrill Gutsch as we dive into the world of whales and the new technologies that are changing the way that we study them.

8:00pm MIT Wind Ensemble 20th Anniversary Concert

Dr. Frederick Harris, Jr., Music Director
Kenneth Amis, Assistant Conductor
Stephen C. Massey, Guest Conductor
MITWE Alumni
Kathryn Salfelder and Michael Weinstein, Guest Composers
Drs. Roger Payne and Iain Keer, Guest Speakers, Ocean Alliance
Cyrill Gutsch, Guest Speaker, Parley for the Oceans

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, MITWE brings together traditional and new music, works commissioned by the ensemble, special guests, and alumni.  In tribute to its recent tour to the Dominican Republic and collaboration with Parley for the Oceans, the concert features “In Praise Of The Humpback,” prefaced by remarks by legendary biologist-environmentalist and whale song expert, Dr. Roger Payne.

Renowned music educator Stephen C. Massey leads Persichetti Symphony no. 6, and legendary wind ensemble conductor-historian Frank L. Battisti will be honored by performances of three works composed for his 85th birthday in 2016, by Kenneth Amis, Kathryn Salfelder, and Michael Weinstein. MITWE’s percussion ensemble performs a new work in honor of MITWE’s 20th anniversary and “Course Sax” performs Piazzolla’s famed “Cafe, 1930” from Histoire du Tango. MITWE alumni join current MITWE members to close out the program with Gustav Holst’s amiable Second Suite in F. 

MIT Wind Ensemble

Parley For The Oceans

Ocean Alliance

Center for Coastal Studies (informational materials available at the concert)

Gloucester’s Meg Colby at game 7 Bruins game

Meg Colby won gold, silver and bronze at last summer’s special Olympics and on April 23, 2019 she was the Fan Banner Captain at game 7 of the Bruins.  Meg is such a great kid.

From Bruins! We are excited to have you in for Game 7 on Tuesday, April 23, as our Fan Banner Captain. The giant Bruins flag has been traditionally passed by fans before all Bruins playoff games since 2009. In past seasons, inspirational figures including Bruins legends, first responders, individuals affected by the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, and others have served as honorary captains to start the banner’s trip around TD Garden’s Loge section. This season the honor will go to various local heroes and champions who are deeply connected to the city and the greater New England community, including athletes from Special Olympics of Massachusetts.


Fog Bank

Fog in the distance over Wingaersheek and Ipswich Bay, but signs of spring and green grass in the Annisquam.  Thanks to “our eyes in the Annisquam”, Paul Horovitz, for sharing a look at this morning’s daybreak.


Magnitude 1.7 #earthquake near Gloucester, MA at 6:09 PM on Mon 4/22/19 No damage reported


Magnitude 1.7 #earthquake near Gloucester, MA at 6:09 PM on Mon 4/22/19 No damage reported. …

Do you know what to do in an earthquake? Drop, Cover, Hold On! …

Gloucester Biotechnology Academy: Spaces are filling up – APPLY TODAY!

Cape Ann Community

Gloucester Biotechnology Academy provides hands-on training to high school graduates, giving them the skills needed to become entry-level lab technicians, in turn helping them get their career started in the booming field of biotech.  Don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity!

Spaces are filling up for the upcoming Class of 2020, but there are a few remaining – APPLY TODAY! Visit to learn more and download the application.

Please reach out to Liz Brannon, Lead Teacher at with any questions.

To learn more, click here to watch a short video on The Academy, produced by our friends at The Bridge Cape Ann:

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Maritime Gloucester Lecture Series THIS Thursday at 7pm

Cape Ann Community

The lecture series continues with Viking Gustafson entitled “Hauling the Commercial Fleet: A harborside chat with Gloucester Marine Railway

Since 1859 the Rocky Neck Marine Railways, now known as the Gloucester Marine Railways Corp., has maintained and repaired thousands of fishing, commercial and pleasure boats from the wooden schooners of the last century to the present day steel and fiberglass vessels. With an impressive list of services and many hauling options, this essential yard has been operated for the past 21 years by Viking Gustafson. Join us as Viking gives us a look inside the workings of a centuries-old marine railway in America’s oldest port and tells some stories of projects past and future. If we are lucky, we might even hear about the time she hauled 25,000 honeybees!

Viking Gustafson was born in Jamestown, New York. She has her BA from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, and her MDiv…

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