What a Difference a Day Makes — pat morss

A windy night, then woke up in the midst of our first major Northeast storm of 2022.

Wind gusts up to 55 mph
The Audubon land flooded well above average at high tide
We had a seal basking on our rocks last week, but not today
Five deer asking what happened to their path to the rocks
They bounded off on an alternate route, one at a time
Waves kept building much of the day
Looks like a head in the middle (George Washington?) with arms up, over the breakwater
We were looking up at the waves next to Mother Ann Cottage
Instant duck pond, appropriately on the Audubon land
Headed toward an unusual sunset

Snow, Sun, Rain, Gone — pat morss

Nice snow over the weekend, but then warmer with rain and it was gone.

Comfy snow cushions
Restaurant stayed open
Pristine and quiet next morning
Snowshoes beat me out to enjoy it
Shaft of sunlight on a Station of the Cross
Challenging skiing approaching the rocks
Frozen tidal pond
Afternoon walk around Niles Pond
My chair basking in the late afternoon sun

Pretty quiet until there’s food — pat morss

It was cold on Tuesday, so we took along a small amount of bread for the Mallards on our walk by Niles Pond. I have just read this is not nourishing for them, so it may be cabbage, kale, cracked corn next time.

There were only several ducks, and they were entertaining slipping on the ice
Shortly, the Navy’s Blue Angels flew in, in formation, quacking pond-wide
This attracted dozens from the shoreline bushes on either side
One gull snuck a bite off to the side
Soon we had the whole Niles Pond duck population; maybe 10% got a bite
They dispersed just when the geese thought this might be worth investigating
Our juvenile Black-crowned Heron looked on with amusement
But not amusing enough
A parent (?) stayed alert close by
Just another winter sunset

Year’s End at World’s End — pat morss

Some encounters with Nature during the final days of 2021, on a Cape Ann “World’s End.”

Flock of Winter Robbins looking like leaves left on a tree
Fisher (Cat) relaxing in a tree in front of the house
Bufflehead accelerating down a Niles Pond runway
Reaching lift-off speed
Wheels up
Juvenile Black-crowned Heron crossing the pond for a new vantage point
Its adult cousin studies the pond and us
Bottoms up at the Mallard underwater cafe
Lobster boat ‘Jeanne’ bringing in the traps New Year’s Eve

HAPPY NEW YEAR

Steller’s Sea-Eagle now in Maine — pat morss

The rare Steller’s Sea Eagle from Asia that was hanging out mid to late December in the Taunton River, MA area, and covered in the local and national press as well as by Kim Smith, is now in Maine. Our daughter Jeannette took these photos of it in Georgetown, south of Bath, on New Year’s Eve day. She and her husband Derek own the Freeport Wild Bird Supply store and provide all our supplies with endless patience reviewing what I want to post with confidence on GMG. There is a lot to learn on their website, freeportwildbirdsupply.com

Steller’s Sea-Eagle, Georgetown, ME
Steller’s Sea-Eagle, Georgetown, ME

Christmas Wildlife — pat morss

A Holiday is just another workday for feathers and fur.

Humans – They may have food. An ice shelf to contend with at Niles Pond
Well, where is it?
A patient female Mallard
Out on the pond, an uninvited male Merganser gets between a couple
Thanks Dear
Red-tailed Hawk (center) harrassed by dive-bombing crows at the Audubon Sanctuary
Score one for the crows
Not the venison we had for Christmas dinner
This White-tail was too quick, during a regular sunset visit
And the sun, setting farthest to the south of Eastern Point light

Rocky Squabbles — pat morss

There are rock ownership issuse out here. But wildlife generally gets along (unless you’re dinner). Happy Solstice tomorrow.

Loud barking when a second seal hauled out on the same Brace Cove rock
Mallards generally claim this Niles Pond rock
And share it with the turtles during lily pad season
But lately Hank Heron has moved in
One lady was clearly expressing her displeasure
Large Hank had no concern and raised a leg to rest
Until two noisy tree surgeon trucks passed by
Meanwhile, diving Mergansers were having a bad hair day
And a Black-crowned Night Heron hid in the reeds at water’s-edge

More of the Same, but That’s OK — pat morss

Another week of walks checking in with our friends.

Winterberry Holly is adjusting to rain and frost
Starlings are passing through
Turkeys not far from their reflections at their favorite red car
A Mallard and a Cormorant know where the rocks are close to the surface
Hank Heron is still hunting at Niles Pond
We’re on the road just 6 feet away
Merganser greeting us, close to the reeds
Flying in to check out the male with two women
A gaggle of Canada Geese on the pond
Then moving on
Chinese yacht ‘Zhai Mo-1’ out for sea trials, following repairs due to Greenland ice encounter
Smoother return to Gloucester Marine Railways, before provisioning for China

Niles Pond Never Disappoints — pat morss

The winter birds are back.

Something has the Cormorants’ attention
A Great Blue Heron, motionless like a statue
Watching me, ten feet away, as well as the pond
A female Mallard beauty with every feather in place
The boys (with one interloper) huddle to discuss the next play
We gather this is a cross between a Mallard and an American Black Duck
OK, so this was a month or so ago – last flight out to Mexico for the Monarchs
A Bald Eagle flew in over our heads this morning
Some kind of interest in the harbor
Here it is – some tender loving care for ‘One Love’
And concluding with this evening’s sunset. We’re spoiled.

Catching Up After Thanksgiving — pat morss

The holiday had no impact on life around us (except the first photo).

A selfie with a sign of the season
Not certain whether this ball is normal
That’s better; lots of Mallard couples on Niles Pond
What did this Merganser find on the bottom? Yucky!
Red-breasted Merganser (left) showing proper fishing form to a juvenile
Seal waiting line at Brace Cove as tidal rocks get exposed
I claim this one
Last Fresh flowers of the season
Northern Harrier hunts low over the Audubon sanctuary
It’s getting dark early
And the sun is setting well south of the lighthouse

Seals of Approval — pat morss

The seals approve of Brace Cove. We had a record (for us) of 24 this last weekend.

Here are 10 of the 24
Another grouping in the panorama
This little guy found the last rock to appear at low tide
On the other side of the causeway, it was ladies evening out on Niles Pond
This is the reddest tree ever
The USCG is always training
And with some unseasonably warm weather, evening fishing remains popular
Once again the sun will start setting to the left (south) of the lighthouse

If you have wings, you’re doing fine — pat morss

This seems to be the bird edition. More Feathers than Fur around recently.

White-breasted Nuthatch enjoying dinner at our rustic cafe
Downy Woodpecker literally scampering up and down the patio door screen
Got room for one more? Actually, they’re hiding now through Thanksgiving
Cooper’s Hawk skimmed our heads and landed at a better observation post
Every feather has its place
Mallard couples at Niles Pond, taking over the turtle rock
This Ring-necked Duck did have 4 cousins with him
Gulls relaxing at Brace Cove
Code Red Alert!
One lap around the cove and back

Nor’easter Encore for Surfers — pat morss

Our secondary minor storm came through Saturday and was enough to keep the surf up at Brace Cove.

The venue, with Twin Lights in the background; taken from Brace Rock
Waiting for an eligible wave
Up for easy cruising (if you know what you’re doing)
Graceful style – looks applicable to downhill skiing
Second surfer catching a nice wave
Showing off for the first surfer on his way back out
Good form as well
Always good to stay clear of the rocks
The largest wave attempt while I was watching
A very quick descent
And an impressive recovery
But the ocean won this encounter

After the Storm — pat morss

The surf is still noisy, but the nor’easter has passed out to sea. Back to the daily walk (we were fortunate not to lose power or have damage).

Tree surgeons said the challenge is removing branches without causing another outage
Instant apple harvest on our road
Crackers for the quackers
Mother Ann has witnessed many a storm
An unfortunate casualty – injured wing
After a dark week, the sun begins to poke through
The setting sun under the clouds produces a warm glow
Waning daylight
Finally a visible sunset

Hank Heron is back — pat morss

Hank, our resident Great Blue Heron, has returned for the fall, and is putting up with this week’s bad weather.

He was escorted in by a squadron of gulls
One evening he waited to hunt down on the rocks
Two days ago he brought along some friends (5 herons in this photo)
Hank standing tall, although wet, on his favorite branch
You can’t help but be grouchy during a downpour
Hunting should improve after the Northeast storm lets up
Maybe the crows will then leave him alone

Chinese Visitor — pat morss

I read in the Gloucester Times this morning that there was a Chinese yacht hauled out for repairs at Gloucester Marine Railways on Rocky Neck. She hit an iceberg north of Greenland on her attempted cicumnavigation of the Arctic Ocean. She apparently was denied passage through Canadian waters due to the COVID close-down, and was headed toward the Panama Canal on her return to China. She pulled into Gloucester for repairs.

Chinese ketch Zhai Mo 1 (also name of owner)
Up on the ways
Taking advantage of other repairs
Cracked keel welded, and “doubling-up” plate added
Much more to see at the Railways
Joe repairing fishnets
Badfish, in the Wicked Tuna TV series, was docked at the former MadFish Grill
Hot Tuna, another competitor, was also there
Had a good conversation with Jarred (may have name wrong)
Stickers on Hot Tuna’s wheelhouse

CAPA Quick Draw — pat morss

After a year off for COVID, it was great to have the Cape Ann Plein Air Festival back this past week. It is now sought after by artists nation-wide. This year 200 applicants were judged for their work and the limit of 35 were accepted. The final event today, after the Gala, is fun because it gets all the artists together in one area to produce a painting in just 2 hours for the “Quick Draw.”

It took place this year on the waterfront at Harbor Loop, and Maritime Gloucester
Familiar sights were visible, like The Paint Factory
Russell and his wife, from South Carolina, stayed with us this year
Our neighbor’s brother was up from Maryland
I’m told the ages of the artists spanned from their 20s to their 80s
Painters painting together with the statue of Fitz Henry (Hugh) Lane
A painter painting the painters painting with Fitz
After the 2 hours, the artists framed their paintings and set them up for viewing
With hope for a sale, which is more frequent with ever increasing CAPA popularity
At the Gala, which capped off the the week of competition, Johnathan McPhillips took top honors

Woolly Bear Forecast (Reprise) — pat morss

I posted this on GMG Saturday afternoon. It was followed by a very large posting that slid it and others down the page, and shortly off the recent postings on the live website. Joey approved a re-posting, but apologies if this is a repeat.

Woolly Bear Folklore:

“The longer the woolly bear’s black bands, the longer, colder, snowier, and more severe the winter will be. … If the head end of the caterpillar is dark, the beginning of winter will be severe. If the tail end is dark, the end of winter will be cold.”

You be the judge.  Also, I always wondered if they turned into beautiful moths or butterflies (see first two photos).

This Woolly Bear was out for a walk with us – head at upper left
He’ll turn into an Isabella Tiger moth (thank you Internet)
A Red-tailed Hawk hovering over its dinner on the Audubon land
Speaking of dinner – is this a keeper?
Another walking companion
Can you still see me?
And speaking of deer – the elegant visitor ‘Deer Dancer’
A Turkey Vulture scouting for road kill, or something fresher
This month is apple-picking season
The Turtles’ favorite rock is finally visible, but tight for a three-some (see 3 heads)
Looks like a good year for Monarchs assembling for their flight to Mexico
Gulls lit by the setting sun
And another impressive sunset over Lighthouse Cove mooring field

Woolly Bear forecast and more — pat morss

Woolly Bear Folklore:

“The longer the woolly bear’s black bands, the longer, colder, snowier, and more severe the winter will be. … If the head end of the caterpillar is dark, the beginning of winter will be severe. If the tail end is dark, the end of winter will be cold.” You be the judge.  I always wondered if they turned into moths or butterflies.  See first two photos.

This Woolly Bear was also out for a walk – head at upper left
He’ll turn into an Isabella Tiger moth (thank you Internet)
A Red-tailed Hawk hovering over its dinner on the Audubon land
Another walking companion
Can you see me now?
Speaking of dinner – is this a keeper?
And speaking of deer – elegant visitor ‘Deer Dancer’
Looks like a good year for Monarchs assembling for their flight to Mexico
A Turkey Vulture scouting for road kill, or something fresher
This month is apple-picking season
The turtles’ favorite rock is finally visible, but tight for a three-some (3 heads)
Gulls lit by the setting sun
And another impressive sunset over Lighthouse Cove mooring field