Southwest Interlude — pat morss

We are just back from a week in the Southwest, with family in the small town of Ridgway, Colorado, and a side trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico. My sister and family moved west in the 1970s and became successful ranchers, as well as advocates for local culture and preservation. I post these photographs here, because I see connections with our values on Cape Ann.

Gloucester has “Zeke’s Place” for breakfast (today), in the historic Bulfinch Bldg.
Ridgway has “Kate’s Place” for breakfast, behind a western storefront
My sister’s Double-D ranch with mountains and cattle rather than ocean and fishing boats
My 1974 photo of Ridgway, used as a movie set for “True Grit” with John Wayne, before our “The Perfect Storm”
My sister built new in 1985, including The True Grit Cafe at the right
It’s great to see “The Grit” is still enjoyed by locals
The bartender showed us photos on her cell phone of mountain lions she saw the previous evening
We have deer. Telluride (ski town near Ridgway) has elk
Like Cape Ann, artists cherish the quality of light and early fall foliage, here on Red Mtn Pass, toward Santa Fe
Santa Fe is full of galleries, here Rebecca Tobey’s mountain lion at Ventana
I got the better of this elk (tenderloin) at the elegant Geronimo Restaurant on Canyon Road

An Unfortunate Gannet–pat morss

We had a stressful weekend following a Gannet that landed on the Audubon Sanctuary next to our house. Seabirds come ashore just to rookeries to nest, so it must have had a health issue. Professional help was delayed due to multiple emergencies, and it wasn’t confirmed until this morning that it died, apparently without a predator encounter.

First spotted Thursday afternoon in the rain
Little movement, and sleeping by nightfall
Up and alert Friday morning, and preening (still molting)
Tried flying, but inadequate flat space to aid takeoff
Many unsuccessful attempts
Followed by some rest
Then, as we’ve seen before, the crows came in and harassed the larger bird
They drove him toward the bushes
Another attempt to fly
Last time visible. Body recovered on Sunday. Lost a beautiful bird

The Schooners are Back

It was wonderful to have the Schooner Festival back in Gloucester this Labor Day weekend, after last year’s cancellation due to COVID.

Unfortunately, Saturday was Captain Carlo’s last dinner before permanently closing
American Eagle, Columbia, and Fritha docked on the waterfront
Columbia and her dories, with the Paint Manufactory and Cape Pond Ice beyond
Enjoying a peaceful sunset aboard American Eagle, down from Rockland, ME
The foredeck of reproduction fishing schooner Columbia, hailing from Panama City, FL
The Paint Manufactory (now Ocean Alliance), seen through the rigging
The schooners Saturday night, prepared for race day
Sunday’s Parade of Sail with schooners and spectators headed toward the starting line
Columbia and Roseway about to round Dogbar Breakwater
The fleet approaching the starting line; a Rhodes-19 bucking the tide
Gloucester’s restored Adventure, and Columbia, maneuvering before the start
Heavy traffic at the start
When and If (General Patton’s schooner) beats out Columbia for overall honors

Respite from the Heat Wave — pat morss

Other parts of the country have it hotter, but we have the humidity too.

Hopeless heat on the deck last week
But there were ways to cool off
A nice repurposing of a tugboat
An impressive visiting yacht, escorted by schooner Adventure
Thomas E Lannon and Adventure on their third cruises of the day
It’s always nice to cross tacks with Lannon in the harbor; cool and windy yesterday
We retained power during two hurricane warnings, but may lose to the Tree Swallows
One Mourning Dove stood his ground (wire) – “I got here first”
Mass Audubon said the swallows were gathering to migrate south. Haven’t left yet.
A hint of fall. A beautiful leaf Anne-Lise picked up.

Donna’s Cute Little Bird — pat morss

Donna posted a picure and question Tuesday evening as to who her “cute little bird” is. I questioned our ornithologist daughter and son-in-law, and Derek wrote back:

“That’s a juvenile House Finch that is suffering from (and probably blinded by) a disease that is most likely conjunctivitis. 

So not cute.


Between Hurricane Alerts — pat morss

We’ve been dodging hurricanes, so outdoor activities continue.

The turkeys now have the reflections covered, front and back
Bees are still on the flowering bushes
Hundreds of swallows swooping around the lighthouse
Mass Audubon reports they are assembling on Cape Ann for migration south
No place to hide on the road, so I’ll freeze
Look like apples but taste like pears
A delicate thistle flower head
A relaxing sail in the harbor; Stacy Boulevard; boat waiting for the Cut Bridge
A contrast in marine vessel modes of power; schooner Thomas E Lannon
Trawler ‘Tradition’ headed to her berth

More Feathers than Fur — pat morss

Seems like mostly birds around this week, and the animals are out of sight.

Redwing on the lookout
Molting Little Blue Heron preening on the Niles Pond lily pads
We feared injury, but our family experts assured us not
It takes effort slogging through this year’s water lily crop
Easier going for this Canada Goose at the shoreline, but dining with head underwater is messy
This turkey’s nemesis (reflection) never goes away
I call this guy a Rhino-Turk
A Downy Woodpecker enjoying a decadent dessert
A Nuthatch has an advantage feeding upside down when there’s little seed left

Catching Up — pat morss

Activity over the weekend, and a few earlier encounters.

Several weeks ago, this deer appeared to be dominant on the Audubon rocks
Interesting interactions with others
Filming of the National Geographic series ‘Wicked Tuna’ fleet outside the breakwater
In close on ‘Hard Merchandise’ as she goes out at full throttle
Catbird considering a second brood this season?
Swallows swarming the mosquitoes, late afternoon
No wind. Are swimming crew reverting to a ‘boat-tow’ race?
Free ticket to the Blues Festival at Stage Fort Park
‘Thomas E Lannon’ on her morning sail
Young skipper

Blackburn Challenge Cup — pat morss

Last Saturday was the annual 20-mile “around Cape Ann” Howard Blackburn race for anything you can row or paddle. Also, more water and wildlife this week.

A little too close. Adventure in the background, spectating
A traditional 2-person dory
I was sailing when welcoming a paddleboarder, rounding the breakwater for home
This dog was learning how to cast, from the breakwater
A surprise proposal or engagement party on Ardelle; guests were hiding
Canada Geese navigating the lily pad maze on Niles Pond
There appears to be an abundance of Monarchs on Eastern Point this year
Another mother turkey, also short-handed (winged) with only two fast-growing young
Many bees are pollinating our hydrangeas
Show-off. But, a colorful spinnaker

Water and Wildlife — pat morss

Similar weekly routine, but variations on themes.

Schooners Roseway (I believe) and Adventure heading into the harbor
Lobstering and fishing around the Audubon Sanctuary rocks
J20s racing past Eastern Point, coming from Marblehead
Mom turkey had 9 chicks last summer, but we’ve seen only 1 this year
Eddy the Great Egret is still walking on the lily pads on Niles Pond
Hank, the Great Blue Heron, took note and found it works
Finally had a good view of a Gray Fox on the path to the rocks

Surprisingly inquisitive. We have been hearing them yapping often in the bushes

And, of course, these young deer are everywhere!

Weekend on the Water — pat morss

It started out as a Beautiful weekend, but deteriorated on Sunday. Is this training going on for the ‘Around Cape Ann’ Blackburn Cup? I sure commend the fortitude.

While sailing off Niles Beach, I encountered a horse out of its corral
Perfectly executed rescue at sea
I got assistance returning the horse to its owner’s boat
Training the end of last week was in excellent conditions, off Eastern Point
More challenging today
Not actually a submersible
Holes in the water are inconvenient
There’s less oar traction in the air than in the water

Webs, Water and Wildlife — pat morss

More see-saw weather over the last week, and noteworthy for record July rainfall – already.

A “standard” spider web accentuated in the fog
We were wondering if these webs, that appear with fog or dew, are also by spiders
Our son-in-law promised yes – they are there all the time, but with very fine threads
I confirmed this web was there the next day, when almost invisible
Watching lobstering from our sailboat, outside Dogbar Breakwater
Living up to the name “jet-ski”
Unlike a recent night occurrence, this boat is not on the rocks
The deer are feeding in the Audubon sanctuary, and their antlers are growing
Just two, with more in the bushes

Dreary Weather Still Has Photo-ops — pat morss

After being appropriately preoccupied with visiting family, there were a few photo-ops the last couple of days.

A Great Egret taking a stroll on the Niles Pond “Sargasso Sea”
The call went out for crows to close ranks and protect a nest from a raptor
Gloucester Gig Rowing crew off Eastern Point
Black-crowned Night Heron at Niles Pond
Deteriorating oak leaf on an aging muchroom
Leftover rain from Hurricane Elsa
Schooner Adventure in the late afternoon
Accompanied by Clipper Pride of Baltimore
The pair passing the “groaner” buoy, known as Mother Anne’s Cow

A Walk on the Fourth — pat morss

We walk every day, but this was specifically on the Fourth of July.

Oak leaf on new paving after the rain
Lobster buoy on the Audubon rocks waiting to be retrieved
No Mallard families swimming Niles Pond, but 50 adults here behind the causeway
Good balance, particularly when napping
Our daughter notes they are in “eclipse” plumage when molting, and stay near shore while temporarily flightless
A female staying out of the water for less exposure
Brace Cove has a new cover of red seaweed
Gloucester’s weather delayed the fireworks until this evening, the 5th
But we had a preview before the weekend

What’s going on out there? — pat morss

It started today at 3:30 AM when we were woken up by a loud crunching sound, followed shortly by someone yelling “Call the Coast Guard,” which we did.

At 7:00 AM American Cruise Line’s American Constitution came into Gloucester for at least the fourth time this season, went back out around 10 AM, and appeared to have some problem while doing 360’s, before returning to the harbor. She just headed out again toward Provincetown at 5:00 PM.

Trawler on the rocks outside our house
She eventually was able to back off, before the Coast Guard had to render assistance
American Constitution arrived early morning
She had some kind of trouble when going back out, later in the morning
She made two full revolutions after I first saw her
It appeared the crew was trying to pull something up in a net
Enlargement of that operation, through the heat distortion
USCG Station Gloucester was standing by, and then returned to the harbor
Followed by American Constitution

Commercial Fishing Up Close — pat morss

There has been a lot of sport fishing in close to the Eastern Point rocks recently, and this morning a spotter plane and two commercial fishing boats out of Gloucester got our attention. The photo captions below may just be my imagination, but this is what it looked like.

Fish spotter plane scanning the East Gloucester shore
Amanda & Andy II with a circular net
Starting to pull the net in
Gannet II coming alongside for the fish transfer
Wide angle shows how close the fishing is to shore
Gannet II ready for transfer, as Ripple passes by
Multiple fish transfers from Amanda & Andy II to Gannet II
Amanda & Andy II shipshape with net stored – Life is Good passing by
Spotter remained overhead discovering new opportunities
Amanda & Andy II heads off to next location

First Day of Summer — pat morss

Last week I posted photos of young Eider ducklings practicing diving in shallow water at Raymond Beach, during Diving Elementary School. This weekend when I returned to my mooring, the parents and their nine kids were in deeper water for Diving Middle School. Here also, are other signs of summer.

Eider family ready for dive school
Kids down with one adult teacher, while the other remains on alert
All the kids pop up, while the other adult stays down
End of diving class
Two of the many deer on the Eastern Point Audubon land
Evening charter cruises are back
Interesting sunset cloud formation
Julia Nicole is back for evening fishing near the rocks
Our East Gloucester 3-legged coyote is doing fine; the “rear left leg” is actually his tail
Looking a bit scruffy while shedding his winter coat

Around Eastern Point — pat morss

  • “Swan and cygnet” candle drippings, on dining room table
  • Returning home in golden sunset light
  • Deer with new antlers on Audubon land
  • Eider diving school at Raymond Beach (starting dive, center)
  • Eider diving school (under)
  • Reproduction of “shallop” that came over on Mayflower’s deck 400 years ago
  • House finch parents keeping watch on their nest in our front door hanging plant
  • Last fuzzy photo of the House Finch fledglings
  • Fishing season is on with the boats in close to the rocks
  • Turkeys seeking shade during last week’s heat wave
  • White Rhododendron bud 10 days ago
  • Now in full bloom