A Ruby-throated Hummingbird’s diet is comprised of nectar and insects. In early spring there isn’t much to offer in the way of flowering sustenance or insects. Around the first of April, we take our feeders out of storage, give them a good wash with vinegar, soap, and water, fill with a sugar/water mixture, and hang them throughout the garden.

Sugar water recipe: 4 parts water to 1 part sugar. Stir to dissolve thoroughly. Never add red dye or replace the sugar with honey. Provide fresh sugar/water every 4 – 5 days. The water will need to be changed more frequently in hot humid weather. Discard water that has black mold and clean feeders throughly.

You can keep hummingbirds coming to your garden throughout the growing season by providing nectar-rich tubular-shaped flora in shades of primarily red, orange, and yellow (although I see them drinking nectar from a rainbow of hues), along with flowers comprised of small florets that attract small insects (the florets at the center of a zinnia plant, for example).

If I could only grow one plant to attract the Ruby-throats, it would be honeysuckle. Not the wonderfully fragrant, but highly invasive Japanese honeysuckle, but our beautiful native Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) that flowers in an array of warm-hued shades of Spanish orange (‘John Clayton’), deep ruby red (‘Major Wheeler’), and my very favorite, the two-toned orange and red ‘Dropmore Scarlet.’

Lonicera sempervirens ‘Dropmore Scarlet’

Trumpet Honeysuckle has myriad uses in the landscape. Cultivate to create vertical layers, in a small garden especially. Plant Lonicera sempervirens to cover an arbor, alongside a porch pillar or to weave through trelliage. Allow it to clamber over an eyesore or down an embankment. Plant at least one near the primary paths of the garden so that you can enjoy the hummingbirds that are drawn to the nectar-rich blossoms. We practically bump into our hummingbirds as they are making their daily rounds through the garden flora.

Did you know Ruby-throated Hummingbirds make a funny squeaky sound? I began to take notice of their presence in our garden, when at my office desk one afternoon in late summer, with windows open wide, I heard very faint, mouse-like squeaks. Glancing up from my work, fully expecting to see a mouse, and was instead delighted to discover a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird outside my office window, nectaring at the vines. Trumpet Honeysuckle not only provides nectar for the hummingbirds, it also offers shelter and succulent berries for a host of birds.

The following are several posts written over the years to help readers attract Ruby-throated Hummingbirds to their homes and gardens.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

A Hummingbird’s Perspective

Where to Place Your Hummingbird Feeders

A question written awhile back from my friend Kate:

Where do you place the feeders? Are they okay out in the open and, if so, do the hummingbirds become too nervous to feed if they can be seen by birds of prey?

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds prefer feeding at a station where they perch and observe the landscape, and then zoom in. Hang feeders on the lower limbs of trees and on shepherd’s hooks close to shrubs and above perennial wildflowers, about five to six feet off the ground. I haven’t read or heard too much about birds of prey in regard to hummingbirds; they move too fast, however, bluejays are said to attack nestlings. House cats and praying mantis pose a more serious threat to hummingbirds.

Eye-catching Red Riding Hood tulips, although not a good source of nectar, will attract by the sheer brilliance of their color, are a wonderful species tulip that reliably returns year after year, and multiplies. We plant Red Riding Hood tulips beneath the boughs of flowering and fruiting trees and shrubs, in hopes, that they too will lure the hummingbirds to our garden during their northward migration. And then, again with high hopes, that the hummingbirds will nest in our garden. For the past nine years, it has been our great good fortune to host throughout the nesting season female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and then later in the summer, their fledglings!

Mallows provide nectar in later summer and Red Riding Hood tulips attracts by their color. Both are perennial.

The later blooming annual vine, Cardinal Climber, provides nectar for southward migrating RT Hummingbirds.


A chance encounter with the brilliant emerald green feathered female Ruby-throated Hummingbird, drinking nectar from the Wild Sweet William growing in the sand at the base of the Welcome Good Harbor Beach sign.

She is drinking nectar from the wildflower Saponaria officinalis. The plant’s many common names include Soapwort, Bouncing-bet, and Wild Sweet William. The name Soapwort stems from its old fashioned use in soap making. The leaves contain saponin, which was used to make a mild liquid soap, gentle enough for washing fine textiles.

Saponaria blooms during the summertime. Although introduced from Eurasia, you can find this wildflower growing in every state of the continental US.

The hummingbird in the clip is a female. She lacks the brilliant red-feathered throat patch, or gorget, of the male. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are all around us, you just have to know what to plant to bring them to your garden. Mostly they eat tiny insects but if you plant their favorite nectar-providing plants, they will come!

No Show for #2 Egg

If you are Osprey watching here and wondering if it is the future mom or dad, here is my cheat sheet. There are a ton of differences none of which I can pick up except for the splotchy necklace on her while the dude is clean white down the neck.

If the dude is on the nest then there is a zero chance of egg laying. She is on the nest right now getting all scrunchy. It will be hard to make out the two eggs since they have squished #1 out of sight.


Cape Ann Museum’s beloved director Rhonda Faloon’s retirement celebration was held Saturday afternoon at the Cape Ann Museum. The Museum’s auditorium was filled to overflowing with friends and well wishers. Commendations and heartfelt speeches were given by Mayor Sefatia, Councilors Paul Lundberg and Scott Memhard (on behalf of all the City Councilors), Representative Ann Margaret Ferrante, and State Senator Bruce Tarr. Everyone spoke of the community’s deep appreciation for the outstanding work achieved by Rhonda during her tenure. 

Thank you to Rhonda for all she has given to the Cape Ann Museum and to the community. She has touched so many and will be deeply missed by everyone she has worked with. We hope so much Rhonda enjoy’s her retirement, and Emma and Maggie, enjoy a non-museum themed vacation 🙂

Emma, Rhonda, Rob, and Maggie

Lost your shirt on the Derby? Place your bets on Osprey Egg #2

Egg #1 today.

On 5/3/2019 anonymous osprey watcher informed me that Lobstaland mama opsrey squeezed an egg out at 5:28 PM. As all osprey handicappers know she will likely pinch egg #2 out 48 hours later.

So I am setting the over/under for today at 5:28 PM. Place your bets in the comment section below. Pick over or under and also the time. Winner gets a wet kiss from Rubber Duck. The Lobstaland Osprey Peep Show click here.

The camera may go offline at 6PM. Bookies will take this into account.

Expert opinion by Rubber Duck: Smart money says cold weather slows down metabolism but if you had an egg stuck up your ass sitting on a cold nest wouldn’t you want to speed things up? RD picks the under 3:15 PM

Bets left on the facebook post also valid.

City to handle tricky removal of graffiti nuisance tag below founder’s plaque at Tablet Rock #GloucesterMA

Blanched and illuminated area beneath the founder’s plaque was tagged with graffiti which will be ably removed by the city.

graffiti tag below founders plaque Tablet Rock Stage Fort Park_20190505_© c ryan





Days earlier it wasn’t. For comparison, here’s how the giant rock appeared May 1, 2019. Had it been on that day…




Though uncommon, graffiti has been removed from this same spot before. Here’s a 1974 photograph from the Gloucester Daily Times catching a family reading the founder’s plaque. Graffiti was visible and without mention. 

1974 graffiti Tablet Rock _ maybe Charles A. Lowe photo_Gloucester Daily Times


Stage Fort Park Gloucester MA Tablet Rock 1907 John Hammond SR and Natalie looking back.jpg
John Hays Hammond, Sr (1855-1936) holding hands with daughter Natalie (looking back to the camera) after the unveiling. Hammond’s involvement made this tribute happen. Natalie hays Hammond (1904-1985) had the honor of pulling back the cord for the big reveal. 1907 photograph collection Library of Congress

Gloucester’s wrap around picturesque landscape was preserved as a public park in 1898. In 1907, the monumental natural glacial outcropping was decorated with an inset of bronze plaque and stone relief commemorating the first fishermen from England laying claim in 1623. Eric Pape was commissioned for its design.



1901 branded Battery K still visible_Tablet Rock Stage Fort Park
branded Battery K still visible 1901 photo


2016 Stage Fort Park graffiti_20161228_©  c ryan.jpg
graffiti 2016 tablet rock  © c ryan



There are a few circle-A’s tagged around town of late. Also Eon

circle A graffiti tags trend_20190505_© c ryan.jpg
saw this symbol a lot in NYC many, many moons ago 

trending graffiti 2019 april_ c ryan.jpg

Boston Police Strike 1919 Affects Gloucester

We were visited by a hawk during a recent cemetery stroll, which is supposed to indicate imminent enlightenment of some sort. And, in this case, it certainly held true. I was contacted by Joanne Riley, team member of a public history project at UMass researching the Boston Police strike of 1919.They had found some evidence that james Conway, one of the people on my Ancestry tree, had been one of the striking Boston police officers in September 1919. They were seeking additional information about him.

It got me thinking about how Gloucester might have been affected by this strike and I found that Gloucester and Rockport sent troops to Boston to help; Company K, L and M of the Rockport and Gloucester State Guardsmen as noted here from the Gloucester Daily Times Sept 11 1919:

Police Riot State Guard GDT Sept 11 1919

I learned this strike helped get Calvin Coolidge elected President based partly on the manner in which he dealt with the strikers as Governor of Massachusetts. From Gloucester Daily Times Sept 25 1919:

Gov Coolidge Boston Police Strike GDT Sept 25 1919


And, more than anything, it made me look a little closer at James Conway who did indeed lose his job as a policeman but census records indicate he was able to find other employment fairly quickly. His police duty card sent along by the research team. It’s been an interesting exercise researching this historical event and its impact locally.

Conway Boston Police duty card


Advice and a free Waterfront Guide

But first, you need to find the right house or condo. So, if you’re curious about which Gloucester and Rockport properties are for sale, this is a real easy way to find out. In the Cape Ann Waterfront Guide, you’ll receive up-to-the-minute information on pricing, size, bedrooms and “the remarks”, all via email.

Click the link and tell us where to email your free report.

Kenny MacCarthy I Bob and Sue McDermott I Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty

Video: Shot in Kenny’s car with a stunt double 🙂

Cape Ann Home

But first, you need to find the right house or condo. So, if you’re curious about which Gloucester and Rockport properties are for sale, this is a real easy way to find out. In the Cape Ann Waterfront Guide, you’ll receive up-to-the-minute information on pricing, size, bedrooms and “the remarks”, all via email.

Click the link and tell us where to email your free report.

Kenny MacCarthy I Bob and Sue McDermott I Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty

Video: Shot in Kenny’s car with a stunt double 🙂

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