Hello Friends,

I hope you are all doing well, or as well as can be expected during this heartbreaking pandemic event. The following kind words were spoken by Pope Francis today and I think they could not be truer.

“We are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed,” he said.

“All of us called to row together, each of us in need of each other.”

In the world of wildlife spring migration is well underway and gratefully, nothing has changed for creatures small and large. That may change though in the coming days as resources for threatened and endangered species may become scarce.

A friend posted on Facebook that “we are all going to become birders, whether we like it or not.” I love seeing so many people out walking in the fresh air and think it is really the best medicine for our souls.

Several times I was at Good Harbor Beach over the weekend and people were being awesome practicing physical distancing. Both Salt Island Road and Nautilus Road were filled with cars, but none dangerously so, no more than we would see at a grocery store parking lot. I’m just getting over pneumonia and think I will get my old bike out, which sad to say hasn’t been ridden in several years. Cycling is a great thing to do with a friend while still practicing distancing and I am excited to get back on my bike.

An early spring wildlife scene update

The Niles Pond juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron made it through the winter!! He was seen this past week in his usual reedy location. Isn’t it amazing that he/she survived so much further north than what is typical winter range for BCHN.

Many of the winter resident ducks are departing. There are fewer and fewer Buffleheads, Scaups, and Ring-necked Ducks seen at our local waterways and ponds.

Male and Female Scaups

No sign lately of the American Pipits. For several days there were three! Snow Buntings at the berm at Brace Cove.

I haven’t seen the Northern Pintail in a over a week. Sometimes the Mallards play nice and on other days, not so much.

Male Northern Pintail and Mallards

As some of the beautiful creatures that have been residing on our shores depart new arrivals are seen daily. Our morning walks are made sweeter with the songs of passerines courting and mating.

Black-capped Chickadee collecting nesting fibers and foraging

Song Sparrows, Mockingbirds, Robins, Cardinals, Chicadees, Nuthatches, Tufted Titmice, and Carolina Wrens are just a few of the love songs filling backyard, fields, dunes, and woodland.

Newly arrived Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets have been spotted at local ponds and marshes.

Cape Ann’s Kildeers appeared about a week or so ago, and wonderful of wonderful news, a Piping Plover pair has been courting at Good Harbor Beach since they arrived on March 22, a full three days earlier than last year.



Why do I think it is our PiPls returned? Because Piping Plovers show great fidelity to nesting sites and this pair is no exception. They are building nest scrapes in almost exactly the same location as was last year’s nest.

Piping Plover Nest Scrape Good Harbor Beach 2020

I’m not sure if the Red Fox photographed here is molting or is the early stages of mange. It does seem a bit early to be molting, but he was catching prey.

We should be seeing Fox kits and Coyote pups any day now, along with baby Beavers, Otters, and Muskrats 🙂

It’s been an off year for Snowy Owls in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic with relatively many fewer owls than that wonderful irruptive winter of 2017-2018 when Hedwig was living on the back shore. 2019 was a poor summer for nesting however, reports of high numbers of Lemmings at their eastern breeding grounds are coming in, which could mean a good nesting season for Snowies in 2020, which could lead to many more Snowies migrating south in the winter of 2020-2021.

Take care Friends and be well

Mini-nature lover ❤


Drive-Thru “Pop-Up” Event-Tuesday 3/31/20

We at Fisherman’s Wharf Gloucester were so overwhelmed with the unexpected turnout from Saturday’s event. We want to continue to provide seafood to the public. We’re stocking up on Fresh Haddock right off F/V Miss Trish II and Scallops from our local day boats. Thank you for your support of our local business, and we look forward to seeing you at Tuesday’s event.

Scallop and Haddock Drive-Thru “Pop-Up” Event
Tuesday March 31st
Starting at 12:00 pm-5pm
37 Rogers Street, Gloucester, MA

Haddock Fillets Vacuum sealed in 2 lb. Bags
$15.00 / Bag (Only $7.50 / lb.)
Scallops Vacuum sealed in 1 lb. Bags
$15.00 / Bag (limited supply)

Cash Only
Please try and bring exact change to cut down on the transfer of money.
This will be set up as a “drive-thru” style pick up only. No need to get out of your vehicles. Please follow the signs and stay inside your vehicles to ensure social distancing.

Social distancing cocktail party in our driveway

With responsible social distance our neighbors decided to have a cocktail party early on Friday evening.  We all brought our own beverages and snacks.  No touching but lots of laughs.  Remember to social distance but try to have contact with your friends and family.

“Here We Go Round the Mulberry [euonymus] Bush” — pat morss

Staying home doesn’t mean there isn’t entertainment out the window. We have lots of bunnies eating grass, and numerous crows collecting nesting materials. Here is one of their encounters. In Act II (the last photo), this crow took the short cut over the bush to intercept a different bunny on the other side. We found a video online indicating the crows are eating bunny pellets.

Urgent Message to Business Community from Beverly & Addison Gilbert Hospitals (Lahey Health)

Cape Ann Wellness

Dear Business Community,

Thank you for your interest in supporting Beverly and Addison Gilbert hospitals as we work to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and keep our communities safe. Every day, our providers are putting their health on the line to care for patients. With the nationwide shortage of key medical supplies, we appreciate your desire to help.

We’re asking business leaders in our community to consider how they may be able to contribute. We have established an Emergency Response Fund to provide immediate resources to be deployed for this and future emergencies. Gifts may be made by choosing “Emergency Response Fund” from the dropdown menu on our online giving pages at and We are also seeking donations of lab, testing, and diagnostic supplies, and new, unused personal protection equipment (PPE) needed to combat COVID-19.

We have a specific need for the following supplies:

– Hand sanitizer (containing at…

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Home buying and Mortgage Update

Cape Ann Home

Well it’s been quite a few weeks, and I hope everyone remains safe and well.  Please keep to social distancing and do you part for our community.  With that being said, I wanted to update you all on the real estate financing industry.

We at CrossCountry Mortgage, and many other mortgage lenders, we are open for business.  We are accepting online and phone loan applications and we are in constant communication with our clients, real estate agents, attorneys, title insurance agents and local and state officials.  It’s been a constantly changing environment and communication has been and will be paramount during this time.

New home purchases believe it or not are continuing.  However it’s with a lot of changes.  There is now social distancing and no more open houses (for the most part).  There are virtual open houses and tours.  Buyers can go into empty homes as well.  With these…

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By Jude Seminara

In May 1735, the coastal settlement of Kingston, NH, suffered an epidemic of throat distemper, now known to be diphtheria, which, over the course of the next five years, would claim the lives of approximately 2000 colonists (a thousand in New Hampshire and between 950 and 1600 in Massachusetts Bay), the vast majority of which were under the age of 20 years old. 

The first victim was a child in Kingston who died in three days from the “throat ail,” which then rapidly spread among the towns of coastal New Hampshire, Maine, and northern Essex County. The following year, amid what was probably a diphtheria epidemic, another distemper (possibly diphtheria scarlet fever is a likely culprit as well) outbreak occurred in Boston.  The two illnesses made their way south and north respectively along the routes of travel and commerce, converging on eastern Essex County where they lingered. The New Hampshire outbreak, over the course of the next three years, afflicted most if not all of the coastal settlements along the Bay Path to Boston.  At the time, the rapid onset and quick death that accompanied the disease despite efforts to quarantine, led people to believe that the illness was a result of “some occult quality in the air,” or God’s vengeance for mankind’s sins. Ministers’ sermons, and broadsides of verse exhorted humanity to repent doe their sins lest God send his angel “to visit you with sickness/which you cannot withstand.” Speculation went so far as to blame the distemper on an invasion of caterpillars, which ate the trees bare and whose remains littered the countryside decomposing in the sun and poisoning the air. Historians are fairly certain that the affliction was diphtheria. 

Diphtheria is a bacterial infection. It was spread by both contact and in the air, and the life of an early-18th century child was ideally suited to contract this disease, as children sat together in church, at school, and were even attendees of their schoolmates’ funerals. The dominant characteristic of diphtheria are swollen glands in the throat, a croup-like barking cough, and a windpipe-blocking mass of infectious matter near the tonsils, which lent it the name “putrid sore throat.” Children were most often affected, and would frequently and quickly die in suffocating agony.  The highly contagious infection often killed all of the children of a household in short order.

Medical care was archaic by modern standards.  Most physicians still ascribed to the four humors theory, and treated illness by bloodletting, blistering, or administering an emetic or laxative.  Needless to say, bleeding, vomiting, and diarrhea often killed as many patients as the illnesses the physicians were treating. 

In 1738, the “strangling angel” visited the Fifth Parish of Gloucester at the Farms near Little Good Harbor, and at Sandy Bay in present-day Rockport. Given the minimal impact on the rest of Gloucester, and the disproportionally high death toll in Sandy Bay, it is possible that the disease was transmitted by a healthy carrier. 

More than any other on the Cape, the extended Pool family of Sandy Bay was hardest hit by the distemper. Fourteen children in five Pool households were killed in the spring and early summer of the year.  Some households lost multiple children per day following a short infection.  Based on the dates of death of victims of the distemper, 1738 (March, and again in June) was the peak year for Cape Ann. Some evidence indicates that the distemper was in Gloucester as early as 1736, and it likely lingered after 1738. 

First to die, within 23 days, were the four children of Caleb and Martha Pool: Martha, age 3; Josiah, age 5; John, age 9; and Anna, age 13 months.  The homes of Jonathan and Hannah Pool (Miriam, age 8; Hannah, age 13; Jonathan, age 2; and Mary, age 10), John and Jemima Pool (Jemima, age 6 months; Sarah, age 4; John, age 8; Job, age 2), Ebenezer and Elizabeth Pool (Moses, age 2), and Joshua and Deliverance Pool (Mark, age 3) were visited by tragedy throughout the early summer of 1738.  Jonathan Pool and Mary Pool died on the same day. Also killed in the epidemic were Rachel Baker, almost 3; Daniel Barber, age 4; William Holman, age 16; Abigail Jumper, age 2 1/2; Hannah Riggs, age 4; Anna (age 4) and Moses (age 3) Witham; and Benjamin and Thomas Harris.  According to Historian John Babson, the distemper lingered in Sandy Bay for two years, “and took from the settlers…’thirty one of their pleasant children by death.’ There were then in the place twenty-seven families.”  Elsewhere in Gloucester, as a search of the Vital Records will illustrate, there was nearly no impact of the diphtheria outbreak that ravaged Sandy Bay.  Several children died in the summer of 1738, but the records do not indicate a cause of death. 

The throat distemper would visit Cape Ann again in outbreaks in 1833, 1841, 1846, 1847, 1848, and 1849, but not on the scale of or with the death toll that accompanied it in the 1738 epidemic.  


Caulfield, Ernest. The Throat Distemper of 1735-1740

Caulfield, Ernest. The Pursuit of a Pestilence

Caulfield, Ernest. History of the Terrible Epidemic

Babson, John. History of Gloucester

Gloucester Vital Records to 1849

Gravestones of Jemima Pool, John Pool, Daniel Barber, and Rachel Baker; victims of the Throat Distemper

Sugar Mags yummy soup initiative 🍲🧅🥣🧄 #GloucesterMA #Sugarmagssoupinitiative

Sugar Magnolia's 112 Main Street Gloucester MA_ storefront_street sign_ March 2020 © c ryan

Good eggs Messages from Sugar Magnolia’s 112 Main Street Gloucester, MA



We hope everyone is staying safe. I feel so fortunate to have been a part of this community my whole life and I am so grateful for the support and success of Sugar Magnolia’s. During these uncertain times I would like to be able to give back. We are starting the #Sugarmagssoupinitiative sugar Magnolias will be making three rotating soups per week in the hopes to nourish Sugar Mags fans but also those in need. So with every 4 quarts of soup sold we will donate 1 quart of soup to the The Open Door  food pantry!!!! 

If you are interested in purchasing, your orders must be placed Monday for Wednesday, and Wednesday for Friday. That would give me time to place the order for what I need delivered in time to make all of the soups. The soups will be ready to be picked up between 2 and 5 PM on Wednesdays and Fridays, at Sugar Magnolia’s, 112 Main St., Gloucester♥️♥️♥️

If you are interested please message me (via sugar mags facebook) with your phone number and your order. You will receive a phone call back and we will take payment over the phone with a credit card.  Once you get a call back and payment is received you order is confirmed.

vegetarian soup $12/quart
corn chowder $12/quart
non-vegetarian $12/quart
add corn bread for extra $3.00

soups will be posted on sugar magnolias FACEBOOK, MONDAYS AND WEDNESDAYS



UPDATE to bulletin:

The #sugarmagssoupinitiative has exploded!!!!! We have 45+ quarts already for next weeks donation!!! Best community ever! Today we are donating our first 20 quarts of soup to the open door. So excited to be helping our community xxoo

It’s Not too late to order soups for today just message Sugar Magnolias Facebook page.


The soups today are 

🌈 Corn chowder, 

🥥 Bombay chicken

🍠 Sweet potato bisque

They are going fast so get your orders in. Also let me know if you were adding cornbread.  Soups are sold by the quart they are $12 per quart if you add corn bread a quart goes up to $15 

Going on a Bear Hunt? rainbow & teddy bear sightings 🧸 #GloucesterMA

For the little ones and young at heart, more and more windows in homes and shops are kindly decorated with stuffed animal teddy bears for a welcome and safe distance distraction. There are a few rainbows. Have I missed a street or your favorite?

Here are some of the bears we found on merry drives in Gloucester, Mass., this last week in March 2020, connecting during covid-19. (Click or pinch to enlarge)



bear and rainbow hunt for the little ones_ social distancing_covid-19_20200328_Gloucester, Mass. photograph ©c ryan

Friends are sharing rainbows and heart family art projects from their windows and homes– messages of hope and gratitude for community and caregivers. Have you seen the Rainbow Connection Google Map in New York?

Rainbow connection Google map

one more shared with GMG (from Arlington)

Bears joining in _©k



Thank You to Those Who Are Taking Care of Us

While driving around the island to get out of the house for a bit yesterday, we saw these two houses.  We should all be very thankful to all of those who are still working to keep us safe, healthy, provided for, etc.  In both big ways…and little.  Have you seen any other homes giving this message?  Please share if so!  Thank you to these home owners for taking the time to share these messages.


Annisquam Village Church

Sunday Worship Service

Each Sunday

Go to, click on Join a Meeting, Copy and paste the meeting ID, click Join.

Virtual Meeting Opens at 9:30 a.m.

(for informal conversation)

Worship Service at 10:00 am

Phone (audio only): 646-876-9923

Meeting ID: 870 167 6165

All are welcome

 Annisquam Village Church.

Rev. Sue Koehler-ArsenaultPastor

Another Welcome Sign of Spring

We spotted this killdeer couple at Parker River Wildlife Sanctuary a few days ago and it was a welcome sign that spring really has begun. As of this writing, the refuge remains open, though no facilities like bathrooms are available.  The beach remains open entirely until April 1 when most of the beach will close to protect nesting birds.  Though there is an admission charge, the gate was not attended these last couple of times we have been there. There is a box for you to put your fee in and  you should note no dogs are allowed even in cars. It’s a nice little ride to take if you are feeling trapped and housebound. We see something different each time we go! These killdeer were fairly close to the roadway and easily observable.


Destinos Taking a Well Deserved Day Off

Yesterday, Destino’s announced on its Facebook page that it will be closed today Sunday March 29 to allow for a day of rest as well as to take a  “Family Deep Clean Day”. They will reopen Monday for takeout, delivery and curbside pickup 8 AM – 9 PM. I am sure I am not alone in appreciating that they have remained available to us during this time. This picture is from their website:


Check COVID-19 Symptoms Online

An alert I received from the new Mass.Gov text alerting system let me know that the state has created a new way for residents to check their symptoms online and get the right care as needed. It’s called Buoy and further information is available here.

This is what you will see after you click the link to “Check your symptoms online” I hope you find this helpful.

Screenshot_2020-03-28 Symptom Checker, Check Your Symptoms in Real Time Buoy