The Boat and Train Edition — pat morss

This posting is for people who need a break from wildlife. It is representative of the marine traffic that passes our house (except for the train).

It has been a windy spring for getting boats in the water
And for the fishing (“Capt. Dominic”) and lobstering fleets as well
But the US Coast Guard is always out there training
Tug and work barge from Prock Marine in Rockland, ME
Ryan Marine’s research vessel “R/V Kraken”
“Onnered,” docked in East Gloucester, is classified as fishing vessel
Filming with “Finestkind,” for new movie of the same name
Surrounded by schools of pogies breaking the surface
Don’t allow “Evergreen” near the Annisquam or Cape Cod Canals
First track of the rebuilt Annisquam drawbridge carrying trains
Years in the making

Pond and Ocean — pat morss

Our two local water habitats are Niles Pond and the Eastern Point shoreline, and we all share both.

Black-crowned Night Heron at Niles Pond.
Female Red-winged Blackbird flaps and hops between lily pads.
“You got a problem with me taking this rock”? Mr Mallard.
“I don’t take no grief from nobody.” Snapping Turtles have long necks.
Flowering bush between pond and ocean.
Deer in the ocean-front Audubon sanctuary at low tide.
How do they avoid injury running through the rocks?
A stop for a drink of fresh water.
“I think it’s a little brackish. How ’bout you”?
Careful Eddy (Egret)! It’s calmer back on the pond.

Audubon(s) East and West — pat morss

We have our Audubon Sanctuary on Eastern Point, and we visited the Evergreen Lake Audubon Sanctuary west of Denver last week. FIRST THE EAST.

Look! I’m growing antlers
Eiders conducting diving school in the shallows off Raymond Beach
A Killdeer faking a broken wing on the Brace Cove causeway
‘Follow me away from the nest’ (wing looks fine)
A quiet moment before sunset for Mallards on Niles Pond
Buttercup-leaf snack before bed
NOW THE WEST – the Rocky Mountains, headed toward Evergreen
A clever clean water reminder, with a cut-out in the sign
Colorado has its gaggles of geese too
Elk contemplating ‘fake news’ signage
Who gets to cross the bridge first? (We backed down)
End of a nice day on the water

Memorial Day Week(end) — pat morss

Weather improved during the week.

Early on, a windy start for the beginning of the sailing season
But the USCG enjoys serious practice
Normal activity at the suet feeder
After years, an unwelcome discovery by the crows
A loud quack from Mom draws the kids together on Niles Pond
Most of the family action was over at Lighthouse Cove
Late in the week, a calmer morning commute
And an evening view of the Cape Cod Mountains, across Mass Bay
More traps out for Memorial Day lobsters
Which prompted a trip to see Joey at Capt. Joe’s

The Week in Review — pat morss

We’re slowly edging into summer, and everyone is doing their own thing.

The Blood Moon approaching full lunar eclipse
Setting lobster traps in the fog after the Right Whale migration moratorium
Eddy Egret flies over to our rocks at low tide for appetizers
The Black-crowned Night Heron prefers to stick around Niles Pond
Many meowing Catbirds, flying low to the ground
A colorful visiting Baltimore Oriole
A male turkey is upstaged by a female, in our driveway
“Maybe I’ll have better luck with a pair”
“Maybe I’ll fall back on admiring my reflection in the car”
Flags poised for the summer raising ceremony at the Eastern Point Yacht Club

A week of waves, and the Egrets are Everywhere — pat morss

Arriving home from Norway we were greeted by a week of wind and waves, and the Egrets (and Herons) had taken over Niles Pond.

Waves were not large, but persistent for days with continuous wind
A trawler bucking the swells, outbound
A visiting square-rigged schooner coasting in
Finding a calm anchorage inside Dogbar breakwater
The Flying Wallendas, Jet-ski style
In quiet waters, a Snowy Egret on Niles Pond
A larger cousin, one of 4 Great Egrets, executes a one-footed feather fluff
Then down to business with some serious fishing
No success, so I’ll try another part of the pond
Our First Family of Mallards in the early evening light

Island Similarities — pat morss

Visiting Anne-Lise’s sister and husband in Norway always points out similarities to Cape Ann. They live on the island of Tjome, an hour and a half drve southwest of Oslo, close to Tonsberg, Norway’s oldest city.

Cross onto Tjome over a highway bridge (like 128 over Annisquam River)
Impressive residences were enabled by the shipping heritage
There is an art community, inspired by the sea
Late spring brings new wildlife
Owners are getting their boats ready and into the water
Outdoor dining is on the way (Historic Land’s End reconstructed lighthouse)
The public and residents disagree over access to a waterfront path
A granite quarry was repurposed as a concert and performance venue
Short and stocky takes advantage of fishing quota calculations
Rigged for catching North Atlantic shrimp like ours, then cooked onboard
Free samples before buying (Anne-LIse’s sister), immediately after docking
Couldn’t be fresher as an appetizer, or a whole dinner!

Crayfish for Dinner — pat morss

Anne-Lise and I are finally back in Norway with Berit (her sister) and Jan (our brother-in-law) after 2-1/2 years of the pandemic. They were eager to share Jan’s recent catch of saltwater crayfish, from the fjord outside their house. Crayfish are found in 100-200 feet of water with a muddy bottom for burrowing, and the non-commercial fishing public is allowed a generous number of traps year-round without paying for a permit. A succulent dinner. The rest this evening.

Jan preparing the boat; their house in the background
At the helm heading out
Pulling up the “crayfish hotel” where several catches were residing
Back on the dock, a hotel open-house
Checkout time was 11:00 am
Some guests hung tight and wanted to stay longer
Next stop, the restaurant kitchen for the group tour of 40
Berit escorting them through a scalding sauna
Anne-Lise and Berit approaching the dining room table
The first of two platters for just the four of us
Skal to all, with white wine and beer. Delicious!

Quick Nor’easter — pat morss

It was a quick storm Monday night into Tuesday, with winds 63mph around us.

Colorful ‘Starbord and Port’ fishing boats returning Monday evening
Seas built up overnight but remained modest
Surfing material
Sea foam along the rocks
Hints of sun in the afternoon
More foam, with Dog Bar Breakwater doing its thing
Photographer with dog at the Audubon Sanctuary
Strange moonrise: “Red sun at night sailors delight….”?

Annie and Squam are back — pat morss

Our Ospreys on the Annisquam River, next to Lobstaland, are back on their regular nesting platform, and Essex County Greenbelt’s live camera is back in operation. Visit their website at to see the action and read the updates on what’s been going on, this year and last. Here are a few screen shots from the camera.

Squam, flying in here, has been taking the lead on the nest building
They are cooperating well on this annual routine
Here Annie is resting on the perch the at the left while Squam does some heavy lifting
Time out for mating, as Greenbelt promised this week.

Apologies and Clarification — pat morss

In my earlier posting today about the Titanic and Golden Plover, strange things happened. If you signed into the live GMG site my typed link became an image from the article – you need to click on this image to reach the whole article. If you read the daily email version, my typed link became a large grainy mug shot of me – click on it to get to the whole article. Sorry about that!

Maybe Piping Plover was not served on Titanic — pat morss

My son-in-law sent me this link to an article that suggests the menu posted yesterday (April 10) on GMG under “Did you know Piping Plover was on the menu of the Titanic as she left Southhampton” actually referred to Golden Plover, served to the crew.

Titanic Menu With Echoes Of Medieval English Food

On the Water — pat morss

Checking out the waters.

Presumably the last spring ice around Niles Pond
Aurora Borealis [reflection in pavement puddle with oil slick]
Eddy Egret looking like a real Great White should
Merganser scanning for fish
Head up periodically to take a breath
USCG rescue exercises off Eastern Point
Yankee Clipper has resumed fishing charters
Heavy fishing traffic began April 1st, including these Maine boats
Trawler entering the fog
With an Eider escort

Surfing Seals — pat morss

On this evening of the Oscars we present the Surfing Seals of Brace Cove.

Meet the cast
Cecelia takes a practice run exhibiting exquisite form
Here’s the first round of the team event
Everything was going well until Fred missed the landing and slipped off the rock
No, you can’t – there are only 3 competitors on a team
The final round was more challenging – hang on
We’re almost through it
But where’s Jackie? The team is devastated
We also heard Eddy Egret was back for the season
And he came over to say hi
Looking as healthy and confident as ever

Spring Fling — pat morss

Spring is progressing in normal fashion.

Parents (right) conferring about the kids (left).
Life in the leaves. Crocuses everywhere.
Death in the leaves. Looks as if the coyotes got the best of a deer.
Canada Geese pairing off at Niles Pond
Alert sentinel for the napping seals, Brace Cove.
Herring Gulls are ubiquitous, but fun to watch.
Head stand
Cruising in to feed with friends.
Bright in the late afternoon sun.

East Gloucester Waterfront — pat morss

A beautiful but quiet Sunday down on the waterfront. The Right Whales are migrating through, so lobstering is curtailed to reduce entanglement. It’s a bit more active with the fishing fleet, over at Gloucester Marine Railways.

99 of the estimated 350 remaining North Atlantic Right Whales are in Cape Cod Bay
The lobster boats are in and the traps are dry
Trap bridge
Buoys need some tender loving care
Waiting patiently
Still looks like winter, across at the railways on Rocky Neck
Rose Bing getting some attention
Waiting for a customer
In port on Sunday
Organized jumble
Ocean Alliance continues its work with the whales, from the former Paint Factory

Hot and Cold — pat morss

It’s been a real yo-yo of temperatures, but the animals adapt and it’s beautiful.

Beginning of a snowstorm, so better stock up on rhododendron leaves
Sitting it out
Then it was in the mid-60’s and comfy in the sun
The ice melted and it was back to snorkeling on Niles Pond
Nothing worth diving for
And another snowstorm leaving natural tinsel on the trees
Flocks of Winter Robins took it all in stride
Cross-country skiing on the main pedestrian-way
But nicer on the trail less taken
A small inukshuk on the rocks as an aid to navigation
Who needs to go South? We have turquoise waters too.

Harp Seals — pat morss

On yesterday’s Good Morning Gloucester there was a story and video from Mike Codair about rescue of a Harp Seal stranded on the ice. That is prompting me to go “off Island” and post photos from our 2002 trip to see the newborn on the Gulf of St Lawrence pack ice, near our base, Iles de la Madeleine. One hotel opened off season to accommodate those of us wanting to experience the spectacle. The mothers haul out to deliver their pups in late February, and after just two weeks they are self-sufficient and leave independently.

The fishing fleet at Cap-aux-Meules, on Iles de la Madeleine, reminded me of Gloucester
Three helicopters were chartered to take us a half hour out onto the ice
Mothers with their pups were in all directions
When a mother went under the ice to hunt, we could photograph her pup
Lying on the ice, we could be mistaken for mom (got milk?)
The world looks different when I’m on my back
After two trips, we left the seals to the National Geographic researchers
Giving up our helicopter seats to others, we enjoyed some dogsledding