FINAL EPISODE- SNOWY OWL RETURNS TO THE ARCTIC

Hello Friends,

Thank you to everyone for your very kind comments for this series. It has been a joy creating for such an enthusiastic audience ❤

Thank you to Jennifer Davis and her adorable daughters Ellie and Isla. They stopped by one morning to see if they could find Snowy Owl. The girls and Mom were being so good at watching her from a safe distance. I asked Jenny if she minded if I took a photo and some footage, too. Jenny very graciously said yes!

Some good news-

In the two years that have passed since our Snowy visited Cape Ann’s Back Shore, all of Boston’s North Shore has not seen the same tremendous numbers of that winter of 2018. I read though on ProjectSNOWstorm’s website of the possibility of an exciting upcoming winter of 2020-2021 because there has been a good population of lemmings in the eastern portions of the Snowies breeding grounds. Let’s hope for more visits by beautiful Snowies ❤

A Snowy Owl Comes to Cape Ann was created for the kids in the Cape Ann community during this at-home school time. Please share with young people you know who may be interested.

Thank you again for watching!

To see all five episodes together, please go to the Snowy Owl Film Project page on my website.

Again, thank you to Scott Weidensaul from ProjectSNOWstorm for script advice.

 

A Snowy Owl Comes to Cape Ann
Part Five: Snowy Owl Returns to the Arctic

Friends of Snowy Owl wondered how long she would stay before heading north on her return migration to the Arctic. Typically, Snowies leave New England by March or April, but some have stayed as late as July.

Why do people find Snowy Owls so captivating?

Owls symbolize wisdom and intelligence, and the characters they are given in popular culture and literature strengthen our associations.

We are provided a wonderful window into the world of owls through Snowies because they are crepuscular creatures, which means they are most active at dawn and at dusk.

There are only about 30,000 Snowy Owls in the wild. No one knows if their numbers are stable or decreasing.

Snowies face many threats, especially when they come south to us, including vehicles, planes, and toxic chemicals.

Research analysis shows that most carry some degree of rat poison, pesticides, and/or mercury in their bodies.

We can all be conscientious stewards of Snowies by not using poisonous chemicals and by keeping a safe distance when observing.

In early March, Snowy Owl began to appear restless. Migration is the most dangerous period in an owl’s life, but hormonal changes triggered by longer days were urging her northward.

Snowy Owl survived the fierce winds and waves of powerful nor’easters along with constant heckling by gulls and crows.

She ate well during her winter stay on Cape Ann.

Snowy Owl was strong and healthy when she departed, increasing the likelihood of a safe journey and return to her breeding habitat of Arctic tundra and grasslands.

Safe travels beautiful Snowy!

WONDERFULLY RARE FOOTAGE – SNOWY OWL TAKES A BATH

Hello Friends on this rainy, windy day. People’s holiday weekend ran the gamut from joyful to tragic and I so hope yours was not too difficult and you were able to find some light. It was such a beautiful day weather-wise yesterday and if there is one thing about the coronavirus is how wonderful it is to see so many families enjoying each other’s company while out in the fresh air.

Part four, Snowy Owl Takes a Bath, was filmed early one morning. I stopped by to check on Snowy Owl (her nickname at the time was Hedwig) and noticed her face was stained red from breakfast. I only planned to take a few snapshots when she hopped over to a rocky tide pool and began to wash her face. I ran back to the car to grab my movie camera and am so glad I did! For the next 40 – 45 minutes she bathed, preened, and fluffed.I am calling this rare footage because I can’t find anything else like it. Unlike most owls, which are nocturnal (active at night) Snowy Owls are active during the day (diurnal), providing a rare glimpse into the world of owls in the wild.

To see all four episodes together, please go to the Snowy Owl Film Project page on my website. These shorts were created for the kids in the Cape Ann community during this at-home schooling time. The last segment, part five, Snowy Owl Returns to the Arctic, is almost completed and will be posted later this week.

Thank you for watching!

Again, thank you to Scott Weidensaul from ProjectSNOWstorm for script advice.

A Snowy Owl Comes to Cape Ann
Part Four: Snowy Owl Takes a Bath

After a snow squall and as the sun was beginning to appear, a Snowy Owl came out to take a bath. She found a watery icy pool tucked out of sight from dive bombing crows and gulls.

Snowy Owls, like most non-aquatic birds, take baths to clean their feathers.

First washing her face, she tip-dipped and then dunked. After bathing, Snowy fluff dried her feathers, pooped, and preened. During preening, oil from the preen gland, which is located at the base of the tail, is distributed through the feathers to help maintain waterproofing.

Washing, fluffing, and preening took about forty-five minutes from head to talon.

BE PREPARED TO BE GROSSED OUT- SNOWY OWL PUKING A GINORMOUS PELLET – PART THREE: A SNOWY OWL COMES TO CAPE ANN

Casting a pellet is a totally normal thing that Snowy Owls, and all owls do. You may even have dissected a pellet in biology class. I  just had no idea until seeing Snowy do this that they could be so enormous!

You can view the first three episodes here: Snowy Owl Film Project. All five will eventually be found on this page. Almost finished with Part Four: Snowy Owl Takes a Bath 🙂

A Snowy Owl Comes to Cape Ann

Part Three: Snowy Owl Casts a Pellet

Once or twice a day an owl casts, or regurgitates, a pellet, which is a mass of undigested parts of the bird’s food. Pellets form after an owl has fed. The owl often casts a pellet, and goes poop, shortly before heading out to hunt.

Pellets contain sharp-edged bones and teeth that could damage the bird’s lower digestive tract. Its presence prevents the owl from swallowing fresh prey.

 

A SNOWY OWL COMES TO CAPE ANN PART TWO: SNOWY OWL MIGHTY HUNTER with graphic warning for very young children

Snowy Owl MightY Hunter is part two of the series A Snowy Owl Comes to Cape Ann. The segment where Snowy is eating prey may be too graphic for very young children, so parents please preview.

Please share with friends and your young naturalists. Thank you for watching and take care ❤

A Snowy Owl Comes to Cape Ann
Part One

Dear Friends,

Not last winter but the winter before, an exquisite Snowy Owl arrived on Cape Ann. I think it was sometime in December we first began seeing her perched on Bass Rocks. Many of us followed her escapades daily and we took lots of photos. I was also filming her. Like many Snowies, she was tolerant of people, but I think she was especially unperturbed by humans. I also filmed other Snowies that irruptive winter, a stunning nearly all white male nicknamed Diablo at Salisbury Beach, a pretty female at Plum Island, and several males that were located at a beach just north of Logan Airport. And while filming one morning in the dunes at Crane Beach, two were having an epic battle. I was sitting super still and one of the combatants landed within several feet of where I was perched, startling us both!

About two months ago my computer crashed and I lost my film editing program and also became sick with what I thought was a cold. I had been mostly self-quarantining for a month prior to the mandated quarantine because I didn’t want any elderly friends to catch my cold. It turns out it is pneumonia. So between quarantining and learning my brand new film editing program I have made a series of short 3-5 minute films, mostly for the parents and kids in our neighborhood, and also for all our owl lovers. Hopefully, these shorts will help a bit to pass the time.

A Snowy Owl Comes to Cape Ann is part one in the first of five episodes. Next to come is Snowy Owl Mighty Hunter.

Please share with your neighbors and Moms and Dads home with the kids. I think you will love seeing the Snowy and how beautiful, too, Cape Ann looks in wintertime. And we’ll also learn some fun facts about Snowies!

Thank you for watching and please be well ❤

NEW SHORT FILM: DO YOU REMEMBER CAPE ANN’S SNOWY OWL HEDWIG?

Dear Friends and Snowy Owl Lovers,

Not last winter but the winter before, an exquisite Snowy Owl arrived on Cape Ann. I think it was sometime in December we first began seeing her perched on Bass Rocks. Many of us followed her escapades daily and we took lots of photos. I was also filming her. Like many Snowies, she was tolerant of people, but I think she was especially unperturbed by humans. I also filmed other Snowies that irruptive winter, a stunning nearly all white male nicknamed Diablo at Salisbury Beach, a pretty female at Plum Island, and a pair of males that were located at a beach just north of Logan Airport. And while filming one morning in the dunes at Crane Beach, two were having an epic battle. I was sitting super still and one of the combatants landed within several feet of where I was perched, startling us both!

About two months ago my computer crashed and I lost my film editing program and also became sick with what I thought was a cold. I had been mostly self-quarantining for a month prior to the mandated quarantine because I didn’t want any elderly friends to catch my cold. It turns out it is pneumonia. So between quarantining and learning my brand new film editing program I have made a series of short 3-5 minute films, mostly for the parents and kids in our neighborhood, and also for all our owl lovers. Hopefully, these shorts will help a bit to pass the time.

A Snowy Owl Comes to Cape Ann is part one in the first of five episodes. Next to come is Snowy Owl Hunting. Stay tuned 🙂

Please share with your neighbors and Moms and Dads home with the kids. I think you will love seeing the Snowy and how beautiful, too, Cape Ann looks in wintertime. And we’ll also learn some fun facts about Snowies!

Thank you for watching and please be well ❤

 

WHY THE SAND IS PURPLE AND PINK ON CRANE BEACH, PLUM ISLAND, AND OTHER NORTH SHORE BEACHES

Hard to miss in the wintertime both at Crane Beach and at Plum Island are the layers and swirls of pink and purple sand. On a recent visit to Revere Beach I noticed there were also rivulets of pink and purple sands.

The pink and purple are mineral deposits of rose quart and garnet and come to north of Boston beaches via the White Mountains. Water and wind worn rock is carried in river waters until it meets the ocean and becomes deposited on barrier beaches. We mostly see the garnet and quartz deposits in winter as storms erode the dunes, leaving the heavier minerals exposed. During the spring and summer, the lighter white quartz sand blows back over the dunes and covers the heavier sand.

JEOL is a supplier of electron microscopes, ion beam instruments, mass spectrometers and NMR spectrometers. On a visit to Plum Island looking for Snowy Owls, several JEOL employees found purple sand. They analyzed it using an optical microscope, a scanning electron microscopes (SEM) and an energy dispersive X-Ray spectrometer (EDS).

From JEOL USA –

At first look under the optical microscope, the granules of sand appeared like scattered jewels of many colors; predominantly glassy pink angular grains, with smaller quantities of milky white rounded grains, clear angular grains, black grains (some magnetic and some not), and even the occasional green.

 

What could be the cause of the purple color? The answer was one that came as no surprise to the scientist, but was exciting for the beach walkers because they had an exact answer to a question that no doubt is one that many people have when they visit Plum Island – which was actually named for its beach plum bushes, not the plum-colored sand.

When large amounts of fine grained pink is intermixed with a smaller number of darker grains and dampened by rain or sea water the human eye will “see” the sand as a much darker pink to almost purple. The two most common pink minerals are rose quartz (while quartz is one of the two most common minerals on earth, the pink rose quartz variety is not so common ,especially in the New England geology, and is found only in a few isolated pegmatite deposits in NH & southern Maine which are where most gemstones originate) and the solid solution series of almandine and pyrope garnet which is also a very common mineral (and is quite common in the Seacoast area from the abundance of metamorphic rocks called mica schist and from contact metamorphism. This is also why many commercial sandpaper products have a pink color as the angular hard gains of almandine / pyrope garnet are the perfect abrasive. The most likely candidates for the white and clear are any of the feldspars and or quartz. The green is most likely epidote. Just based on the optical examination these are no more than educated logical guesses (but still guesses).

Vern Robertson, JEOL’s SEM Technical Sales Manager, originally examined the grains under a low power optical stereo microscope with the above conclusions. In addition to providing technical and scientific support to JEOL SEM customers for a multitude of applications, Vern holds a degree in Geology. After a cursory look optically, it was time to get down to some spectroscopic analysis to determine the actual mineral species present in the sand.

Individual grains of various colors were selected and mounted for examination with the JSM-6010LA+ InTouchScope SEM and for analysis using EDS. The SEM allows much higher magnification imaging with greater depth of field than a traditional OM and the low vacuum capability allows examination of the sample without the traditional conductive coating that needs to be applied for SEM imaging. However, it generates images in only black & white (electrons have no color!). One specialized detector in the SEM, the Backscatter Electron Detector, yields images with the gray level intensity directly proportional to the average atomic number (or density). This means that minerals containing only lighter elements like O, Si are darker in appearance to minerals that contain heavier elements like Fe or any of the metallic or rare earth elements.

Once located, each grain can be analyzed with the EDS. When an electron beam hits a sample it creates not only an image from the emitted electrons but creates X-rays, which when collected in a spectrum, indicate what elements are present and at what concentrations. This allows not only the elemental composition of the individual grains to be determined but the concentrations can be compared to known stoichiometry of the suspected mineral grains. The combination of color and magnetic properties from OM examination and the chemical makeup of the individual grains yield the answer.

The purple color (or more appropriately, pink color) comes from the abundance of almandine-pyrope garnet with a nominal solid solution composition of Fe3+2Al2Si3O12 to Mg3+2Al2Si3O12. As expected, the white grains are a mix of feldspars but mostly K-feldspar (potassium alumino-silicates) and quartz SiO2. The black nonmagnetic grains were a mix of a pyroxene called augite which showed its characteristic strong cleavage, (Ca,Na)(Mg,Fe,Al)(Si,Al)2O6 , and a mix of ilmenite FeTiO3 and hematite Fe2O3 which are the magnetic components. The green was confirmed to be epidote Ca2(Al,Fe)3(SiO4) 3(OH). With the exception of the high concentration of garnets the rest are common minerals one would expect to find in sands.

 

READ MORE HERE

 

WELCOMING BACK GLOUCESTER’S PIPING PLOVERS AND WHY BANDING OUR GOOD HARBOR BEACH NESTING PAIR IS NOT A GOOD IDEA

Hello dear Piping Plover Friends and Partners,

As are you, I am looking forward to the return of our Gloucester Plovers. With the relatively mild winter we are experiencing, and the fact they have been arriving earlier and earlier each spring, we could be seeing our tiny shorebird friends in little over a month.

About this time of year I imagine well wishers and monitors are becoming anxious, wondering if our PiPls survived all the challenges winter brings to migrating birds.

Gloucester’s Mated Piping Plover Pair, Mama in the background, Dad in the fore.

Last August at the Coastal Waterbird Conservation Cooperators meeting, I met Professor Paton. He is involved with a program that bands and nanotags birds at Southern New England beaches, mostly Rhode Island beaches. He provided some terrific maps based on the data collected from the banding program.

After departing Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the majority of the program’s tagged PiPls are soon found foraging on the shores of Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Cape Lookout National Seashore, and Cumberland Island National Seashore, GA. Data suggests that the Outer Banks are a priority stopover site for Piping Plovers well into the late summer. After leaving our shores, southern New England Piping Plovers spend on average 45 days at NC barrier beaches before then heading to the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos.

Although our Good Harbor Beach Piping plovers are not tagged, there is no reason to believe that they too are not traveling this route.

As you can see in the map above, it’s easy to understand why the majority of Southern New England PiPls stage in North Carolina.

Why wouldn’t we want to tag out GHB family? Not often publicized is the down side of tagging. Some species of birds adapt well to tagging and some, like Piping Plovers, develop life threatening problems like leg movement disorder. But most troubling of all is that small sticks and other debris can become lodged between the skin and the tag, which causes the area to become infected, which has lead to loss of leg. Tiny shorebirds like Piping Plovers use their legs to propel them all over the beach, to both forage and escape danger. Left crippled by the loss of a leg, the birds will barely survive another year. At one point several years back there was even a moratorium placed on banding plovers.

Perhaps if we had dozens of pairs of Piping Plovers nesting all over around Cape Ann it would be worth the risk of banding a bird or two. But with only one nesting pair, coupled with the typical survival rate of Piping Plovers at less than five years, why not let our one pair nest in peace? Plovers at popular city beaches need all the help they can get from their human stewards. I for one am happy to simply imagine where our GHB PiPls spend the winter.

If you have ever been to a New Jersey beach, you might be sickened as was I to see birds with no less than eight tags, four on each leg. It doesn’t make sense to me in this day and age why one band wouldn’t suffice. Each time the bird was spotted the one set of data  provided by one tag could be recorded in a national database.

According to coastal ecologist with The Trustees of Reservations, Jeff Denoncour, this past year (2019), 49 pairs of plovers raised 96 chicks at Crane Beach. They do not band birds at Crane Beach, nor are birds banded at other beaches where the PiPl has been successfully increasing in population, including Winthrop Shore Reservations and Revere Beach.

The species existence is precarious. In 2000 at Crane Beach just 12 fledglings survived 49 pairs and that was because of a major storm. Considering all that a Piping Plover pair has to face at the city’s most popular beach, we don’t need to decrease their chances of survival.

It’s wonderful and reassuring to see updated reports of banded birds we have observed at Good Harbor Beach however, because of data collected in the past, we can fairly accurately imagine where our little family resides during the winter. Banding a single pair will only serve to satisfy our own curiosity, and will do nothing to increase the bird’s chance of survival.

ETM, spotted last year by PiPl monitor Heather Hall at Good Harbor Beach, is currently spending the winter on Cumberland Island, Georgia.

Seven too many bands on this bird!!! Bands are placed both above and below the tibiotarsal joint on plovers (terns are given bands below the tibiotarsal joint only). There are eight possible band locations on a bird’s leg according to banding schemes: The Upper Left Upper, Upper Left Lower (left leg, above the tibiotarsal joint), Lower Left Upper, Lower Left Lower (left leg, below the tibiotarsal joint), Upper Right Upper, Upper Right Lower (right leg, above the tibiotarsal joint), Lower Right Upper, and Lower Right Lower (right leg below the tibiotarsal joint).


Looking forward to the upcoming Piping Plover season!

Grant helps plovers have record year on Crane Beach, featuring Jeff Denoncour

Rotary Club paid for three solar-powered electric fences

IPSWICH — Those little birds you see running around the beach don’t have it easy.

Although they have wings, they won’t fly to trees to build their nests. Instead, they scoop holes, or “scrapes,” in the sand and lay their eggs there.

And that’s an invitation for all kinds of trouble: predators, rogue waves, dogs, or clumsy or malicious humans.

Combined with widespread loss of habitat, piping plovers are now on the federal government’s threatened species list. One estimate says there are just 8,400 left worldwide.

But along with lease terns, which are protected in Massachusetts, the plovers are well taken care of on Crane Beach.

In fact, they were so well taken care of in 2019 that a record number of chicks fledged and are now ready for the next perilous phase of their lives — a migration to the Bahamas.

This year, 49 pairs of plovers raised 96 chicks, said Jeff Denoncour, coastal ecologist with The Trustees of Reservations.

The last year that good for the birds was in 1999, when 44 pairs produced 89 fledglings, he added.

To show how precarious the species’ existence can be, Denoncour said the year 2000 was disastrous. Just 12 fledglings survived despite the efforts of 49 pairs. “That was due to a major storm,” he explained.

READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE HERE
Jeff Denoncour and Courtney Richardson last year at Jeff’s program on coastal ecology held at the Cape Ann Museum

FANTASTIC PIPING PLOVER NEWS FROM COASTAL ECOLOGIST JEFF DENONCOUR AT CRANE BEACH

Jeff Denoncour, Trustees of Reservations Coastal Ecologist, shares some record breaking Piping Plover news from Crane Beach. Jeff writes that “at Crane 49 pairs nested and 87 chicks have fledged, with 8 chicks remaining, a great year and breaking records for Crane!”

Piping Plover lift off, times two!

CRANE BEACH PIPING PLOVER UPDATE FROM TRUSTEES OF RESERVATIONS JEFF DENONCOURT

 

Trustees of Reservations ecologist Jeff Denoncour kindly shares information about the Piping Plovers at Crane Beach and he wrote two days ago with an update for us on their Piping Plover population. “Unfortunately the weather has been pretty inclement this year making it tough to monitor and really nail down the number of pairs. That mixed with an abundance of birds and a lot of loss due to storms and high tides and a bit of predation its really hard for me to get an accurate pair count right now. I am estimating that we have more than 33 plover pairs.

So far we have discovered 36 plover nests, but right now we only have 19 active nests. 3 of the 36 nests are renests, which is why I’m saying we have 33 or more pairs. Some pairs have been scraping consistently in areas but have not laid eggs.

Our first nest is due to hatch tomorrow.”

I sent him an email this morning and hopefully we’ll have news of hatchlings!

If you would like to learn more about the outstanding work of the Trustees of Reservations Shorebird Protection Program go here.

Least Tern (left) and Common Tern Crane Beach

FANTASTIC PRESENTATION BY CRANE BEACH ECOLOGIST JEFF DENONCOUR AT THE CAPE ANN MUSEUM

Jeff Denoncour, the Trustees of Reservations Eastern Region Ecologist, gave an outstanding and informative presentation to a packed audience Saturday afternoon. Subjects included the formation and history of Crane Beach, marsh, and dunes; the seven uniquely different ecological zones; the many species of flora and fauna that comprise the rich biodiversity at Castle Island; and the Trustees protective measures managing rare and endangered species.

Since 2010, Jeff has managed the Trustees Shorebird Protection Program at Crane Beach. Because of the very excellent shorebird management at Crane Beach, 2018 was a banner year, with 42 pairs of nesting Piping Plovers and approximately one hundred PiPl chicks fledged. Our community can learn a great deal from the success at Crane Beach in how to better manage shorebirds migrating and nesting at Cape Ann beaches.

We learned from Jeff that Crane Beach is part of a string of barrier beaches formed from sediment deposited by the outflow of the Merricmack River. Salisbury Beach is at the northern end, then Plum Island, then Crane, with Coffins and Wingaersheek at the southern end. The sand that was deposited at Salisbury Beach is the coarsest; the sand at Wingaersheek the lightest and finest as it would have more easily flowed furthest away from the mouth of the river.

Excerpt from a previous post OUTSTANDING COASTAL WATERBIRD CONSERVATION COOPERATORS MEETING! talking about Jeff and the success of the Crane Beach Trustees Piping Plover

“Readers will be interested to know that our region’s Crane Beach continues to have one of their best year’s ever. Trustees of Reservations Jeff Denoncour shared information on the latest census data from 2018 and Crane Beach has a whopping 76 fledglings, with 25 more chicks still yet to fledge. Because of the huge success at Crane Beach, the northeast region, of which we are a part, has fledged a total 136 of chicks in 2018, compared to 108 in 2017, and as I said, with more fledglings still to come! The northeast region encompasses Salisbury Beach to the Boston Harbor Islands.

Jeff noted that this year they had less predation by Great Horned Owls. Because of owl predation, several years ago the Trustees gave up on the wire exclosures and now use electric fencing extensively. The Great Horned Owls learned that the Piping Plover adults were going in an out of the exclosures and began perching on the edge of the wire, picking off the adults as they were entering and exiting the exclosure.

Crane has an excellent crew of Trustees staff monitoring the Least Terns and Piping Plovers, as well as excellent enforcement by highly trained police officers. No dogs are allowed on Crane Beach during nesting season and dogs are prevented from entering at the guarded gate. As we saw from one of the graphics presented about nesting Double-crested Cormorants, when a dog runs through a nesting area, the adults leave the nest, temporarily leaving the eggs and chicks vulnerable to predation by crows, gulls, raptors, and owls.”

Jeff Denoncour and Courtney Richardson, Director of Education and Public Programs at the Cape Ann Museum

TODAY – Reminder Cape Ann Museum Crane beach talk 3pm

courtesy photo for cape ann museum_0448 © t. barrieau the trustees

photo credit: T. Barrieau/The Trustees

Courtney Richardson at the Cape Ann Museum shares information about an upcoming special event at the museum:

Lecture – Life on the Edge: The Ecology of Crane Beach, Saturday Jan. 19th, 3PM

The Cape Ann Museum, in collaboration with The Trustees, is pleased to present a lecture about the natural history and ecological significance of Crane Beach with ecologist Jeff Denoncour. This program is offered in conjunction with the special exhibition Sky/Horizon/Light: Perspectives on Crane Beach. This program is free for Museum members, Trustees members, Cape Ann residents or with Museum admission. Reservations required. For more information visit capeannmuseum.org or call 978-283-0455 x10. 

When one thinks of Crane Beach, the sea, sun, and sand might be the first things that come to mind. But how did the forces of nature create the stunning landscape? What’s special about this incredible barrier beach and marshlands it protects? How do The Trustees protect special places and care for our vulnerable coast? Join Jeff Denoncour, an ecologist with The Trustees, for a dive into the natural history and ecological significance of Crane Beach, how they protect our coastal resources, and examples of success stories resulting from their work.

Jeff Denoncour is the Eastern Region Ecologist with The Trustees where he manages and monitors ecological resources on its properties in Eastern Massachusetts. Jeff grew up on Cape Ann and has spent most of his life living along the coast. He has 11 years of experience managing rare and endangered shorebirds that nest on beaches. For the past eight years, he has been managing the Shorebird Protection Program on Crane Beach, as well as other natural resources that make the Crane Beach such a treasured place.

This program is offered in conjunction with Sky/Horizon/Light: Perspectives on Crane Beach a special exhibition of the paintings of Dorothy “Doffie” Arnold.  The works on view at the Cape Ann Museum offer an ever changing vista of Crane Beach as observed across Ipswich Bay from Arnold’s studio in Bay View (Gloucester). Painted in the 1980s, these acrylics on paper are part of larger series of works by Arnold that take as their subject the intersection of water, land and light viewed from a single vantage point over a period of years. With a low horizon line, a sky that is often turbulent and waters that range from placid to racing, the paintings reflect the strong influence of nature on the artist and her work.

A 1980 graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Dorothy Arnold maintained studios in Cambridge and Gloucester. While much of her work is large scale, the Crane Beach paintings measure just 11×15 inches. Her work, which includes landscapes, still lives, figure studies and abstractions, was the subject of an international retrospective in 2001–2003. It was Arnold’s wish to exhibit her art locally in an effort to strengthen the community’s appreciation of the culture and traditions of the area.

cape ann museum flyer for life on the edge the ecology of crane beach special lecture in collaboration with the trustees_during dorothy arnold exhibition jan 2019

About the Cape Ann Museum Continue reading “TODAY – Reminder Cape Ann Museum Crane beach talk 3pm”

Cape Ann Museum & The Trustees present “Life On the Edge: The Ecology of Crane Beach” Jeff Denoncour lecture

courtesy photo for cape ann museum_0448 © t. barrieau the trustees

photo credit: T. Barrieau/The Trustees

Courtney Richardson at the Cape Ann Museum shares information about an upcoming special event at the museum:

Lecture – Life on the Edge: The Ecology of Crane Beach, Saturday Jan. 19th, 3PM

The Cape Ann Museum, in collaboration with The Trustees, is pleased to present a lecture about the natural history and ecological significance of Crane Beach with ecologist Jeff Denoncour. This program is offered in conjunction with the special exhibition Sky/Horizon/Light: Perspectives on Crane Beach. This program is free for Museum members, Trustees members, Cape Ann residents or with Museum admission. Reservations required. For more information visit capeannmuseum.org or call 978-283-0455 x10. 

When one thinks of Crane Beach, the sea, sun, and sand might be the first things that come to mind. But how did the forces of nature create the stunning landscape? What’s special about this incredible barrier beach and marshlands it protects? How do The Trustees protect special places and care for our vulnerable coast? Join Jeff Denoncour, an ecologist with The Trustees, for a dive into the natural history and ecological significance of Crane Beach, how they protect our coastal resources, and examples of success stories resulting from their work.

Jeff Denoncour is the Eastern Region Ecologist with The Trustees where he manages and monitors ecological resources on its properties in Eastern Massachusetts. Jeff grew up on Cape Ann and has spent most of his life living along the coast. He has 11 years of experience managing rare and endangered shorebirds that nest on beaches. For the past eight years, he has been managing the Shorebird Protection Program on Crane Beach, as well as other natural resources that make the Crane Beach such a treasured place.

This program is offered in conjunction with Sky/Horizon/Light: Perspectives on Crane Beach a special exhibition of the paintings of Dorothy “Doffie” Arnold.  The works on view at the Cape Ann Museum offer an ever changing vista of Crane Beach as observed across Ipswich Bay from Arnold’s studio in Bay View (Gloucester). Painted in the 1980s, these acrylics on paper are part of larger series of works by Arnold that take as their subject the intersection of water, land and light viewed from a single vantage point over a period of years. With a low horizon line, a sky that is often turbulent and waters that range from placid to racing, the paintings reflect the strong influence of nature on the artist and her work.

A 1980 graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Dorothy Arnold maintained studios in Cambridge and Gloucester. While much of her work is large scale, the Crane Beach paintings measure just 11×15 inches. Her work, which includes landscapes, still lives, figure studies and abstractions, was the subject of an international retrospective in 2001–2003. It was Arnold’s wish to exhibit her art locally in an effort to strengthen the community’s appreciation of the culture and traditions of the area.

cape ann museum flyer for life on the edge the ecology of crane beach special lecture in collaboration with the trustees_during dorothy arnold exhibition jan 2019

About the Cape Ann Museum Continue reading “Cape Ann Museum & The Trustees present “Life On the Edge: The Ecology of Crane Beach” Jeff Denoncour lecture”

Cape Ann Residents Enjoy FREE Admission January at Cape Ann Museum and you should see the line up of special art events!

CAPE ANN MUSEUM free admission to cape ann residents in january each year_©c ryan

Upcoming shows and special events planned for January- check out the news from Cape Ann Museum. Become a member!

January is Membership Month! Cape Ann Residents Enjoy Free Admission All Month

GLOUCESTER, Mass. (December 19, 2018) – The Cape Ann Museum is pleased to announce that January is Membership Month, a time when all Cape Ann residents are invited to visit the Museum and participate in programs free of charge. The goal of membership month is to show the Cape Ann community the benefits of enjoying the Museum all year!

The Cape Ann Museum tells multiple stories, all relating to a single remarkable place and during the month of January all Cape Ann residents (Rockport, Gloucester, Manchester-by-the-Sea and Essex) are welcome to enjoy its galleries for free.  From Cape Ann’s earliest days as a fishing and shipping port to its mid-19th century role in the granite industry, to its singular charms of light and sea that have attracted countless artists from the 19th century to the present, Cape Ann boasts a rich and varied culture of nationally significant historical, industrial, and artistic achievement.  If you’ve never been to the Cape Ann Museum before, now is the time. Its collections represent the history of this remarkable place, its people, its industries and especially its art and culture—we invite you to explore!

In addition to its permanent collections, the Museum offers a rotating schedule of special exhibitions throughout the year as well as related programs and events for adults and families. This is a wonderful opportunity to visit (or revisit) the current special exhibition, The Little House: Her Story which celebrates the 75th anniversary of the publication of the Little House, written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton and the newly opened exhibition Once Upon a Contest: Selections from Cape Ann Reads, award-winning children’s books by local artists and writers inspired by the 2017 Cape Ann Reads original picture book competition. Also on display are the paintings of Crane Beach by Dorothy Arnold in the special exhibition Sky, Horizon, Light: Perspectives on Crane Beach.

Whether you are looking to spend a quiet day of contemplation after the busy holiday season, wishing to share a bit of your home town with guests or have lived here for years but just never visited, the Cape Ann Museum welcomes you for a visit celebrating you and this wonderful place in which you chose to live.

In addition to free admission, the Museum has lined up a full schedule of programming for visitors to enjoy:

Wednesdays from 4:00 p.m. to 4:30 p..m.
Story Time in the Gallery

Young visitors are invited to join CAM staff and special guests for story time in the gallery. Offered in conjunction with The Little House: Her Story and Once Upon a Contest: Selections from Cape Ann Reads. Free and open to the public. Museum closes at 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, January 5 at 10:30 a.m.
Winter Shorts Gallery Tours

Join CAM docents for three 20-minute themed mini tours. Topics include: artists who captured similar subjects; provocative portraits; and Virginia Lee Burton as teacher. Free for Museum Members and Cape Ann residents or with Museum admission. Reservations recommended and can be made at camuseum.eventbrite.com.

Saturday, January 5 from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.  
Opening Reception – Once Upon a Contest: Selections from Cape Ann Reads

Join us for a celebration of the award-winning children’s book authors and illustrators inspired by the 2017 Cape Ann Reads original picture book competition. Free for Museum members and Cape Ann residents or with Museum admission.

Wednesday, January 9, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Appraisal Night with Brattle Book Shop’s Ken Gloss

Join Antiques Road Show veteran Ken Gloss for a closer look at antique books and manuscripts, with special emphasis on children’s literature. Offered in conjunction with The Little House: Her Story. Free for Museum members and Cape Ann residents; $10 nonmembers/nonresidents. Reservations required and can be made at camuseum.eventbrite.com.

Thursday, January 10 at 10:30 a.m.
Young at Art: At the Beach

Toddlers and caregivers are invited to take a closer look at Sky, Horizon, Light: Perspectives on Crane Beach

Free for CAM members, Cape Ann residents or with Museum admission. Space is limited. Reservations required. For more information or to make a reservation, please call 978-238-0455 x12 or email sarahflanagan@capeannmuseum.org.

Saturday, January 12 from 10:00 – 12:00 p.m.
CAMKids Second Saturdays: Cape Ann Reads

Explore the inventive worlds of children’s book illustrators in the Cape Ann Reads exhibition then create your own storybook in the Activity Center. This program is free and open to the public. For more information or to make a reservation, please call 978-283-0455 x16 or email sarahflanagan@capeannmuseum.org.

Saturday, January 12 from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Blockprinting Demonstration

Drop by to see blockprinting in action with artist Mary Rhinelander. Offered in conjunction with The Little House: Her Story. Free for Museum members and Cape Ann residents or with Museum admission.

Friday, January 18 from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Surveying the Collections: Historic Quilts

On select Fridays through April, the public is invited to observe CAM curatorial staff as they survey the collection. Join us for one session or all four to gain a better understanding of the Museum’s holdings. Free for Museum members, Cape Ann residents or with Museum admission.

Saturday, January 19 at 10:30 a.m.
Winter Shorts Gallery Tours

Join CAM docents for three 20-minute themed mini tours. Topics include: practical art objects; cloud paintings; and artwork in the Captain Elias Davis House. Free for Museum Members and Cape Ann residents or with Museum admission. Reservations recommended and can be made at camuseum.eventbrite.com.

Saturday, January 19 at 3:00 p.m.
Perspectives on Crane Beach Ecology

Join Trustees’ coastal ecologist Jeff Denoncour for an overview of Crane Beach. Offered in conjunction with Sky, Horizon, Light: Perspectives on Crane Beach. Free for Museum members and Cape Ann residents; $10 nonmembers/nonresidents. Reservations required and can be made at camuseum.eventbrite.com.

Saturday, January 26 at 10:30 a.m.
Winter Shorts Gallery Tours

Join CAM docents for three 20-minute themed mini tours. Topics include: Cape Ann granite; the year 1804; and I spy. Free for CAM Members and Cape Ann residents or with Museum admission. Reservations recommended and can be made at camuseum.eventbrite.com.

Saturday, January 26 at 1:00 p.m.
Family Tour

Enjoy an animated family tour of the Museum to explore paintings, sculptures and maritime objects. Created for children ages 3 – 12 with a caregiver. This 30-minute tour ends in the Activity Center for art projects and play. Free for CAM members or with Museum admission. Reservations required. For more information or to make a reservation, please call 978-283-0455 x16 or email sarahflanagan@capeannmuseum.org. 

Saturday, January 26 at 1:00 p.m.
A Conversation with the Curators

Gallery A4 Chief Curator Michiyo Okabe and Atsuko Tanaka join CAM Curator Martha Oaks to discuss the cultural collaboration behind The Little House: Her Story. Free for Museum members and Cape Ann residents; $10 nonmembers/nonresidents. Reservations required and can be made at camuseum.eventbrite.com.

 

About the Cape Ann Museum

The Cape Ann Museum has been in existence since the 1870s, working to preserve and celebrate the history and culture of the area and to keep it relevant to today’s audiences. Spanning 44,000 square feet, the Museum is one of the major cultural institutions on Boston’s North Shore welcoming more than 25,000 local, national and international visitors each year to its exhibitions and programs. In addition to fine art, the Museum’s collections include decorative art, textiles, artifacts from the maritime and granite industries, two historic homes and a sculpture park in the heart of downtown Gloucester. Visit capeannmuseum.org for details.

The Museum is located at 27 Pleasant Street in Gloucester. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is $12.00 adults, $10.00 Cape Ann residents, seniors and students. Youth (under 18) and Museum members are free. For more information please call: (978)283-0455 x10. Additional information can be found online at http://www.capeannmuseum.org.

 

 

OUTSTANDING COASTAL WATERBIRD CONSERVATION COOPERATORS MEETING!

Piping Plover Chick Lift-off! – Not quite ready to fly yet, but testing his wings and airborne for a few seconds.

On Tuesday this past week my friend Deborah and I attended the Coastal Waterbird Conservation Cooperators meeting, which took place at Cape Cod Community College in Barnstable. The meeting is held annually to bring together people and organizations that are involved with population monitoring and conservation efforts on behalf of coastal waterbirds. Threatened and endangered species such as Least Terns, Piping Plovers, and American Oystercatchers are given the greatest attention, while the meeting also encompasses efforts on behalf of heron, cormorant, and egret species.

American Oystercatchers

Conservationists from all seven Massachusetts coastal regions participated, as well as conservationists from nearby states, including representatives from New Jersey, Maine, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. To name just some of the organizations presenting at the meeting-Mass Wildlife, Trustees of Reservations, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), and US Fish and Wildlife. Gloucester was well represented. In addition to Deborah and myself, two members of the Animal Advisory Committee also attended; chairperson Alicia Pensarosa and former animal control officer Diane Corliss. Many of you may remember our Mass Wildlife Piping Plover intern Jasmine. She was there to give a presentation on habitat vegetation utilized by nesting Piping Plovers. Her aunt, Gloucester’s Terry Weber, was there to support Jasmine. This was Jasmine’s first time speaking in public and she did an excellent job!

Each region gave the 2018 population census report for nesting birds as well as providing information about problems and solutions. We all share similar challenges with predation from crows and gulls, uncontrolled dogs, enforcement, and habitat loss and it was very interesting to learn about how neighboring communities are managing problems and issues.

Just one highlight of a day filled with helpful insights and useful information is that we can be very proud of our state—Massachusetts is at the leading edge of the Piping Plover recovery effort. The representative from New Jersey was there specifically to learn from Massachusetts conservationists on how they could possibly improve their recovery program as the New Jersey PiPl population is not growing, with fewer and fewer each year retuning to nest. As you can see from the graph provided at the meeting, the Canadian recovery is going very poorly as well.

Readers will be interested to know that our region’s Crane Beach continues to have one of their best year’s ever. Trustees of Reservations Jeff Denoncour shared information on the latest census data from 2018 and Crane’s has a whopping 76 fledglings, with 25 more chicks still yet to fledge. Because of the huge success at Cranes Beach, the northeast region, of which we are a part, has fledged a total 136 of chicks in 2018, compared to 108 in 2017, and as I said, with more fledglings still to come! The northeast region encompasses Salisbury Beach to the Boston Harbor Islands.

Jeff noted that this year they had less predation by Great Horned Owls. Because of owl predation, several years ago Crane Beach gave up on the wire exclosures and now use electric fencing extensively. The Great Horned Owls learned that the Piping Plover adults were going in an out of the exclosures and began perching on the edge of the wire, picking off the adults as they were entering and exiting the exclosure.

Crane has an excellent crew of Trustees staff monitoring the Least Terns and Piping Plovers, as well as excellent enforcement by highly trained police officers. No dogs are allowed on Crane Beach during nesting season and dogs are prevented from entering at the guarded gate. As we saw from one of the graphics presented about nesting Double-crested Cormorants, when a dog runs through a nesting area, the adults leave the nest, temporarily leaving the eggs and chicks vulnerable to predation by crows, gulls, raptors, and owls.

Crane Beach Least Tern fledgling.

Compare the Least Tern to Common Tern in the above photo. It’s easy to see why the birds are called Least Terns; they are North America’s smallest member of the tern and gull family (Crane Beach).

Another interesting bit of information shared–if you listen to our podcasts, back in April, we talked about the potential dilemma of what would happen if Snowy Owls remained on the beaches as the Piping Plovers returned from their winter grounds. Knowing that Snowy Owls (Bubo scandiacus) and Great Horned Owls (Bubo virginianus) are close cousins and that the Great Horned Owl eats Piping Plover chicks and adults, I was concerned that a Snowy might eat our PiPl. At one particular beach on Cape Cod, a Snowy stayed through mid-July. An adult Piping Plover skull was found in the owl’s pellet.

Snowy Owls remained in Massachusetts this year through July.

After attending the cooperators meeting, I am more hopeful than ever that our community can come together and solve the problems that are preventing our PiPl from successfully nesting and fledging chicks. What we have going in our favor is the sheer number of amazing super volunteers along with strong community-wide support.  

Piping Plover fully fledged and flying up and down the beach – we”ll have these next year!

2015 Crane Beach Parking Permit Stickers on Sale

Hi Joey,

It’s hard to believe we’re thinking about beach season, but it’s nice to have something to look forward to! That said, while I know Gloucester residents have Good Harbor beach to enjoy, I thought I would share the below release announcing Crane Beach Parking Stickers are now on sale for the year. Hope you are well and, as always, thanks for your consideration!

Best,

Holly Hannaway

The Trustees of Reservations Announce

2015 Crane Beach Parking Permit Stickers on Sale

Beach Sticker Program Offers Significant Savings on Year-Round Visits

to One of the Northeast’s Most Beautiful Beaches

download

The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees) announced today that Crane Beach Parking Permits are for sale online. Purchasing a 2015–2016 Crane Beach Parking Permit sticker will allow Trustees’ members to park at Crane Beach for no additional charge, offering a significant savings for frequent beach visitors. The cost of the sticker for Trustees’ members is $75.

Blair Steck, Director of Membership Acquisitions for The Trustees, encourages members to take advantage of the sticker program noting, “it’s the best beach deal to be found on the North Shore. For just $75, Trustees’ members can take enjoy the beach all day, all year – whether it’s taking long walks along the pristine shoreline in the off-seasons, spending a sun-filled Fourth of July with family and friends, or plunging in the Atlantic for a refreshing dip mid-August.”

The parking sticker program is available to Trustees’ members. Membership in The Trustees starts at just $37 for students and seniors, $47 for individuals, and $67 for families. As a Trustees’ member, not only do you enjoy significant savings at Crane Beach, but you’ll also enjoy discounts at other Trustees properties and programs locally and across the state – from the Castle Hill Summer Concert Picnic Series and the luxurious Inn at Castle Hill in Ipswich, to Appleton Cooks! workshops and farm-to-fork events.

Crane Beach is open year-round, 8am to sunset, with restroom facilities available and rangers on-site daily. Dog walking and horseback riding is permitted on the beach in the winter months, from October 1—March 31. Visit www.thetrustees.org/greendogs for permitting and information. From Memorial Day to Labor Day the beach is fully staffed with rangers, lifeguards, and EMTs. The Crane Beach store, featuring refreshments and merchandise, is open daily as well as the bathhouses, with toilets and changing areas, and outside showers and picnic area. The beach staff provides transportation to the beachfront for visitors needing extra assistance.

For nonmembers and Trustees’ members who do not purchase a sticker, 2015 beach pricing remains the same this year. Nonmembers pay $20 on weekdays and $25 on weekends and holidays during the summer beach season (Memorial Day to Labor Day) and Trustees members without a sticker pay $10 on weekdays and $15 on weekends and holidays. Beach admission price is reduced after 3pm and during the offseason.

Membership and Crane Beach sticker and admission fees help support the critical work of The Trustees of Reservations, including the ongoing management, maintenance, and care of special places like Crane Beach and other remarkable natural and cultural treasures on the North Shore and across the state.

For more information, to become a member or renew your membership, and to purchase a beach sticker, visit www.thetrustees.org/cranebeach, email cranebeach@ttor.org, or call 978.921.1944 ext. 1885. For parking updates, beach information and more, follow The Trustees on twitter @CraneBeachMass and Facebook www.facebook.com/craneestate.

Essex – A Front Rolls Through

About 3:45 on Friday, a front rolled through the area providing menacing clouds, incredible spots of sunlight and snow showers in the sky that melted before they hit the ground. Just incredible! Glad to live on Cape Ann and be able to see capture a few scenes like these.  Click the images for larger view

The Latest Striper Video From Brianmoc

After one of the slowest May in years (10 years according to my logs) warmer winds and less rain brought bigger fish up river for Thursday, Friday, Saturday but not Sunday as the fish rested that day. Bait was herring dropping back but warm on Sunday. it got so warm we will be looking for the sand eels as bait in the coming weeks. Finicky fish all three days as the bass had all the bait they could eat and there heads where down pushing bait out of the marsh