2017 GMG post about Salt Island for sale, again, includes a historic timeline and links to prior ‘for sale’ stories
Save Our Shores – Salt Island coalition including Essex County Greenbelt commenced October 2017 here
2019 sorted deeds
SAVE THE DATE! Essex County Greenbelt submits press release and photo
30th Anniversary of Greenbelt’s Art in the Barn, June 7 – 9, 2019
Essex County’s Land Trust celebrates its 30th Anniversary of Art in the Barn on June 7 – 9, 2019 at the Cox Reservation, 82 Eastern Avenue, Essex. One of the North Shore’s premier, juried art shows, Art in the Barn hosts more than 150 local artists. Throughout the Cox Reservation, the barns are filled with paintings, ceramics, jewelry and more. The artists generously donate 50% of their proceeds to Greenbelt to support their land conservation work.
Back by popular demand, the fabulous public opening party from 5 – 8:30 pm on Friday night June 7th will feature live music by EJ Ouellette & Crazy Maggy. Melt Truck will sell chipotle BBQ and Cubano sandwiches, and Ipswich Ale and Mill River Winery will sell beer and wine.
In celebration of Art in the Barn’s 30th Anniversary, there will be exciting new features on Saturday including: a landscape painters’ program with instructions provided by artist Carol Benally (pre-registration required); local author Bill Sargent will read from his children’s book Lilly & Minot Go to the Beach; and Saturday morning music will be provided Paul Harty.
Friday, June 7th 2019:
10:00 am – 3:00 pm – Art Exhibit Open to the Public
5:00 pm – 8:30 pm – Public Opening Night Reception
EJ Ouellette & Crazy Maggy, food truck, beer & wine
Saturday, June 8th 2019:
10:00 am – 5:00 pm – Art Exhibit Open to the Public
9:00 am – Carol Benally instruction (pre-registration required)
10:00 am – 1:00 pm – live music with Paul Harty
11:00 am – 11:30 am – children’s read aloud with Bill Sargent
Sunday, June 9th 2019:
10:00 am – 5:00 pm – Art Exhibit Open to the Public
Greenbelt – Essex County’s Land Trust works with local individuals, families, farmers and communities to protect the farmland, wildlife habitat and scenic vistas of Essex County, and to create an environment more resilient to climate change. Since 1961, Greenbelt has protected more than 17,500 acres of local land. For more information, visit ecga.org or call 978-768-7241.
Deborah Cramer wrote an outstanding feature for Audubon published May 2019. This feel good – feel proud story is a great read inspiring efforts near and far. It takes a city.
“…(Kim) Smith, a photographer and filmmaker, had inspired much of the effort. While not everyone can be on the beach every day, her images, videos, and blog offered the entire city an up-close portrait of the birds’ daily lives.”– Deborah Cramer
Read the article here
“How Plover Chicks Born in a Parking Lot Spurred a City to Make its Beach Safer: The dramatic ups and downs of a piping plover family in Gloucester, Massachusetts, show what it takes to protect a threatened species” By Deborah Cramer published by Audubon May 23, 2019.
In 2017, donations of $650,000 were secured to preserve four acres of Lobster Cove acquired by Essex County Greenbelt Ed Becker and Dave Rimmer working with the city staff (DPW Mike Hale, Ken Whittaker, Community Development) and many in the community. The property is co-owned by Mt. Adnah Cemetery.
Recently DPW teamed up with Greenbelt to scrub out trees, rocks, earth and stone to grade a pedestrian path along its Leonard Street stretch at the landing past Annisquam Church. Widening Leonard Street because of its variable and intermittent scale would be a very expensive and perhaps unwelcome project. This quick jaunt seems like a thoughtful solution to support safe access and property exploration in a tricky spot.
No longer hidden by overgrowth, beautifully balanced granite outcroppings were exposed. If you look just so you might see the lines of a baby shorebird under wing or is that just me? Hmmm… Mother Ann, Squam Rock and baby Bird Rock.
A photo journal after the storm documenting and comparing a few iconic and sweeping Gloucester vistas on January 7, 2018, when all was white ice frozen, and again after the Great Thaw on January 13 2018.
Gloucester Motif- the house boat in view just before the turn off at Nichols
The Little House boat in the great frozen salt marsh reminded me of a mash up of two of Virginia Lee Burton’s children’s picture books inspired by Gloucester — Little House and Katy and the Big Snow. Here’s the little floating houseboat after the thaw at low tide January 13, 2018.
At high tide earlier in the day, January 13
Good Harbor Beach drive by three days after the storm
Good Harbor Beach salt marsh drive by one week after the storm and great thaw
Below the read more break: additional winter comparison photos (icebergs on the marsh by Lobster Land, Good Harbor Beach parking lot, Good Harbor Beach salt marsh, Stoney Cove pier at Little River & Annisquam River)
There’s still time to register today or walk in tomorrow for the Great Marsh Coalition 5th annual special conference on rising water issues and natural systems. Register thru Essex County Greenbelt $20 fee WHEN: November 9, 2017, 8:30AM- 3:15PM. WHERE: Woodman’s in Essex.
From the Great Marsh Coaltion:
Generous Great Marsh coalition symposium supporters (many are coalition members)- local municipalities, Essex County Greenbelt, Essex National Heritage Area, Mass Audubon, Ipswich River Watershed Assoc., League of Women Voters Cape Ann, Merrimack Valley Planning Commission, Metropolitan Area Planning Commission (MAPC), National Wildlife Federation, and The Trustees
What is the Great Marsh Coalition?
The Great Marsh Coalition is a group of organizations and agencies that began meeting in spring 2000 to discuss ways of building a regional consciousness and identity for the Great Marsh. The Coalition supports a coordinated approach to education, research, protection, and management to promote preservation, restoration, and stewardship of the Great Marsh. Current Coalition members include (but are not limited to): City of Gloucester is one of Eight Towns and the Great Marsh, Essex County Greenbelt Association, Essex National Heritage Area, Ipswich River Watershed Association, Massachusetts Audubon Society, Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management’s ACEC Program, Parker River Clean Water Association, Cultural Alliance of the Lower Merrimack Valley, and The Trustees of Reservations.
Boston Globe article and Continue reading “Boston Globe lists the Great Marsh symposium NOV 9th- public invited”
Dogtown is eligible for the National Register! Will Gloucester earn another major district designation?
Come to a special public presentation November 29th in Kyrouz Auditorium in Gloucester City Hall, 9 Dale Avenue, at 7pm.
Read excerpts from the press release shared by Bill Remsen, local project coordinator, and Mary Ellen Lepionka, co-chair Gloucester Historical Commission, and some Dogtown maps and memorabilia 1633-1961:
Salt Island, Good Harbor Beach, Gloucester, MA, is for sale. Unimproved and undeveloped, Salt Island is a natural monument, a beacon. For generations,the Island seemed as free as the air and sea, the beaches and shore. All were welcome at the right tide– daily the beach and island are connected. There’s an innate understanding that visitors need to respect the natural property much as they would when visiting a national park. Yet Salt Island is owned privately; it’s simply left wild and public.
Yearly taxes were paid by the family. The City provided yearly services; for instance lifeguards to help stranded visitors, unaware of the tides.
Is it possible to compensate the owner in the most advantageous way (some combination of sale, waiving estate taxes, credit for donation) to clear up any future ownership confusion and protect the means of public access, minus vague qualifiers (“left open as resources allow”) or increasing any necessary costs? Land steward organizations sometimes sell property or limit access, laws and environment change, funds for care deplete. Is there a common sense path that considers Salt Island as Good Harbor Beach– it’s attached daily– and accorded the same balance of care that the beach has legally maintained since the 1920s?
above – Lifeguards have a summer suggestion in the VIDEO link For Sale in Mass: A $750K Island Packed With History. “This small island in Gloucester, Massachusetts has hosted a major salt theft, a lobstering hermit and a Hollywood production.” by Rob Michaelson for NECN NBC Boston
above- photos of Good Harbor Beach lifeguards moving a signature chair after a morning conditioning training session that involved swimming and running the length of Good Harbor Beach, twice. Foggy drizzle, low tide connection to Salt Island
below– link to Coalition Aims to Buy Salt Island: Greenbelt Negotiating Bid for Save Our Shores, by Ray Lamont Gloucester Daily Times
infinite moods of Salt Island
GMG post about Salt Island includes a historic timeline and links to prior ‘for sale’ stories published by Cape Ann Beacon and Boston Globe
Salt Island, Good Harbor Beach and Brier Neck are naturally connected. The five acre Salt Island is about 1000 feet from Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, Massachusetts. A sandbar links the island and beach at low tide. I’ve culled a few milestones in its history. Scroll down to 2017 to find the links for the Cape Ann Beacon and today’s Boston Globe.
History of the Town of Gloucester: Cape Ann, John Jame Babson’s published history includes a shipwreck of the vessel, Industry, at Little Good Harbor Beach near Salt Island in 1796
Joseph Parsons’ family operated a lobster business from Salt Island
silent movies were filmed on location
Parts of the Fox Film Corporation movie, Bride Number 13, were shot on location at Good Harbor Beach and Salt Island. The 15 part serial silent film –“the most costly pictures ever made…would consume expenditures of at least one million dollars.” It was conceived and written by Edward Sedgwick, directed by Richard Stanton aka “Salt Island’s Mighty Emperor”, and starred Marguerite Clayton, Jack O’Brien, and Ed Rossman. The script was inspired by Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.
Here are a few fun excerpts from 1919 correspondence published in the book, “My father, a silent films pioneer,” by George E. Mcavoy:
“Again the picturesque Gloucester shores have been sought by a motion picture corporation for scenery and the noted Fox Film Company of New York, with its prominent director, Richard Stanton, has arrived at Hotel Harbor View, East Gloucester, to start immediately on the work of filming “Bride Number 13” at Salt Island off Brier Neck.
“It was decided that Salt Island in Gloucester, Mass., would be the setting of the silent film thriller, “Bride Number 13.” This island was an island at high tide and part of the mainland at low tide. Fox film Co. was building a wooden castle on the island, which was about one hundred feet high and hosted the actions of this silent film…”
“(This was five days before the real tornado blew the wooden castle out to sea.)”
Oct 24, 1919“Dear Mother: I left Mary and the babies in Gloucester. I am on my way through New Hampshire and Maine for a lumber camp location. I expect to be back in Gloucester Monday night…
the time for the blowing up of the castle on Salt Island and the rescue of the brides from the pirate band is rapidly approaching…
Billy Carr of Gloucester, Chief Gunner’s Mate on the Navy submarine R-1 that was assigned to the picture, was to play the hero who rescues one of the brides, slashes through the nest of cutthroats, leaps into the basket with her and off. It was now November 10th. A throng of 3,000 was at Good Harbor and all over Brier Neck to watch…On the fourth day Bill Carr was called away on duty and his place was taken by Tom Corbiey…”
“Mr. Sedgwick has achieved something heretofore unknown in moving picture production. He conceived the idea of the story, witnessed and helped direct the scenes, acted in them, had a hand in the grinding of the film, and in fact had a part in every process of the film production…”
“While all bid good-bye to Gloucester last night, there was a general expression of a desire to return and several of the company said that they intended to return here next summer for the vacation period if not in picture work.”
“The explosion was a heavy one and its shock was felt in all parts of the city. It shook the windows of houses on Mt. Vernon Street and vicinity, also at East Gloucester and as far as Rockport. It occurred at 4:20 o’clock and people who felt the shock readily attributed it to the blow-up of Salt Island.”
Then and now: filmmakers love Gloucester.
Fox Film Corporation returned to film the patriotic silent era Navy spy film, THE SILENT COMMAND on Good Harbor Beach, again on the Briar/Brier neck side.
1923 was a busy year for Gloucester, MA. In addition to the municipality managing the bustling tercentenary, Gloucester welcomed another major Fox movie production to shoot on location at Good Harbor Beach. The film was made in cooperation with the Navy. It was directed by J Gordon Edwards, and starred Edmund Lowe and Bela Lugosi in his first American film. It’s essentially a spy thriller with a honeypot formula: foreign power attempts to secure plans to the Panama Canal and blow it up. The villains are thwarted by the US Navy. The production required assistance from the city’s fire department and city electrician. The film crew stayed in Gloucester at the Harbor View Hotel and the Savoy. Local people were cast and spectators lined the beach to watch the thrilling production.
I love this excerpt from the Gloucester Daily Times describing the staged wreck and tremendous waves washing the crew (stuntmen and Gloucester locals) overboard:
“A crowd of several hundred thronged the (Good Harbor) beach for the picture taking and enjoyed the proceedings, which were interesting, and at times thrilling…The Good Harbor beach setting is a clever contrivance, and constructed to produce a natural rocking motion of a steamer in a heavy sea. The rocking is produced by four winches operated by a crew of 10 men…Storm scenes were filmed yesterday afternoon with local actors, Stuart Cooney, son of Marion J. Cooney, taking the part of the hero and making a thrilling climb into the rigging to the crow’s nest during the height of the storm. Fred Kolstee, a rigger, commanded the crew of the steamer. The crew were (locals) Alfred Marshall, Tony Amero, Tom Bess, Peter Rice, James Francis, James Whittle and William Byers. Rain was produced from lines of hose, and a most realistic effect was produced by two aeroplanes, the wind from the speeding propellors driving the water about, and rushing through the rattlings and rigging with all the vengeance of a real gale at sea. Three times the big tank of water was released and the thousands of gallons broke over the deck in a most thrilling manner. There was some concern among the movie men before the water was released that some of the men might get buffeted about and get hurt, and they were cautioned to hold on tight.
It was best expressed by Alfred Marshall when he stepped toward the ladder to leave the craft after the picture taking was done. Alfred was quite vexed. “Blankety, blankety, blank___, is this the best you can do? Blank, I’ve bailed bigger seas than that out of a dory. And he sung it right out so all could hear, too.”
Stuart Cooney ensured that the movie was a success from a technical perspective and “purchased the outfit and (took) it over” after the filming finished. He was a Gloucester pioneer in the film industry that’s still going strong. Film Cape Ann facilitates bringing local productions here, like the award winning Manchester by the Sea. The Wikipedia page doesn’t have any mention of Gloucester, but it helped me with an illustration for The Silent Command lobby poster.
See for yourself; here’s a link to the complete movie. A few of the Gloucester scenes (not all) 1:03:44, 1:08:54, 1:09:54 (some coast), 1:10:21, 1:10:52 (dory lowered from navy ship), 1:11:12 (beach island)
AFI for TCM brief synopsis: “This is one of those ‘Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean’ pictures. Full of the ‘Star-Spangled Banner,’ patriotic to the nth degree with the navy floating all over the screen. A real hero, a vamp, and a flock of thrills.” (from Var review.) Foreign agents, determined to destroy the United States Navy’s Atlantic Fleet and the Panama Canal, after an unsuccessful attempt to obtain from Capt. Richard Decatur information regarding mine positions in the Canal Zone, hire adventuress Peg Williams to vamp Captain Decatur, thereby putting him at their mercy. Decatur, advised by the Chief of Naval Intelligence, plays along with the spies to gain their confidence. He leaves his wife and is dismissed from the Navy as a result of his association with Miss Williams. Finally, he goes to Panama, thwarts the saboteurs, saves the fleet and the canal, and gains honorable reinstatement and the gratitude of his country for his heroism.”
Guy Parsons used one of the old family fishing shacks as a summer place
By now the fishing shacks were no longer visible
Parson family sold Salt Island
James Kimball purchased Salt Island for $2000
Yankee Magazine article about Bride Number 13 Lights! Camera! Disaster! by Joseph E. Garland
Gloucester Daily Times article mentions that James Kimball “has no plans for the island, although in the past he has thought of building a summer home on the island. When I was young my family spent their summers on Brier Neck…So when the island became available I jumped at the chance.”
One of the designated “Special places in Gloucester”
“Special places in Gloucester” appendix list for the MA Heritage Landscape Inventory Program, MA Dept of Conservation and Recreation Essex National Heritage
GMG abou the Filming of Bride 13 on Salt Island by Fred Bodin
“Where is this film? I’d love to know. All sources indicate that Bride 13 was either lost or destroyed, as happened with many silent films. The reference used for this post was the May 1972 Yankee Magazine article, Lights! Camera! Disaster!, authored by the late Joseph E. Garland of Gloucester.”
and September 9, 2011 GMG Filming of Bride 13 on Salt Island Fred Buck Cape Ann Museum adds photos from the location filming
Salt Island listed for sale $300,000 plus beach parking passes for the family
Salt Island listed For Sale $750,000
“If somebody buys it and builds, it’s because these guys didn’t step up to the plate and protect it the way my father did when I was a little girl, ” said Maslow, who pointed out that she and her siblings are not rich people with big summer houses. “I can’t help it if someone buys it and paints it purple and puts pigs on it.” – Karen Maslow
“…this island has been available for public use informally for generations thanks to the goodwill of that family. That point should not be lost.” — Chris LaPointe, Essex County Greenbelt
Emily Levin of Essex National Heritage has directed Trails & Sails for 9 years and seen its growth. Levin told me that 2017 is “one of the largest line ups of different events coming together to showcase the region’s best places in the area. The historic road is already right there. Plus you can stop in all the wonderful restaurants and shops.” The Essex National Heritage headquarters moved to 10 Federal in downtown Salem, next to most anyplace on your visit. I’ll miss steady and affable Bill Steelman who has moved on from Essex National Heritage. Congratulations to Kate Day, Danvers former Town Manager, who has joined to lead the Scenic Byway efforts.
is Essex National Heritage’s Essex County pep rally- annual back to back weekends packed with 150+ FREE, fun, and family friendly events. Here’s the working list of the 2017 Trails & Sails events in Gloucester September 15-17th and September 22-24th. Don’t forget to sign in! The count helps your favorite organization and locale, and you might win a prize like $150 from Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Talking Walls of Gloucester Gloucester’s renowned Works Projects Administration (WPA era) murals. Hosted at City Hall by The City of Gloucester and Gloucester Committee for the Arts
September 23 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM open for self guided tour
September 23 1:00 PM guided talk and tour
September 16 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
September 23 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
September 23 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Historic Ice House Guided Tours Hosted by Cape Pond Ice Company
Sept 15 2-3PM
Sept 16 11-12 and 1-2
Sept 17 11-12
Sept 22 2-3
Sept 23 11-12 and 1-2
Sept 24 11-12
Hosted by Gloucester’s Magnolia Library & Community Center & Iris Weaver
September 23, 2017, 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM
September 16 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Step on FISH NET: Gloucester’s Award-winning 300ft Street Art temporary mural Hosted by city of Gloucester and Gloucester Committee for the Arts
September 15-17 (self guided – open all day) September 22-24 (self guided- Open all day)
Two more events September 16th:
Greenbelt’s 3rd annual bicycle ‘Tour de Greenbelt’ (begins in Essex)
Paul Cary Goldberg will be giving a short talk at 1pm on Saturday September 16th at Jane Deering Gallery, 19 Pleasant Street, about his photograph series, Here Still, fitting visit during Thoreau and #TrailsAndSails celebrations
Plus on Sunday September 17th
Fish Box Derby on Rogers Street at high noon
And talk back 4pm at Gloucester Stage following matinee “Flight of the Monarch”
Cycle 25 mile or 50 mile (not timed) circuits for land conservation on the 3rd annual Tour de Greenbelt. Pass through and by North Shore towns and sites — Essex, Rowley, Newburyport, Topsfield, plus more than 50 Greenbelt properties
Date and Time:
Saturday, September 16th, 2017 – 3rd annual ride!
9:00am start for the 50-mile ride
9:45am start for the 25-mile ride
BBQ and post-ride festivities to enjoy when you finish! Ends at 3:00 p.m.
*Packet Pick Up: Wednesday, Sept. 13th & Thursday, Sept. 14th @Cox Reservation 4:00-7:00 PM
Secretary John Kerry reconnected with Mayor Romeo-Theken before he took to the podium to address more than 300 guests attending the Essex National Heritage 20th Anniversary gala at the Peabody Essex Museum. They go way back. Essex National Heritage was designated in 1996 with key support from John Kerry and Ted Kennedy.
Here’s a star, Emily Levin from Essex National Heritage. Everyone who hosts programs over Essex National Heritage fabulous annual Trails & Sails enjoys working with Emily.
The temporary Essex National Heritage illumination is projected above the Halo sculpture by Anish Kapoor.
4000 votes helped select a few Trailblazer nominees for a special champagne toast representing their mission and all the wonderful cultural resources across 34 towns. Kim Smith was in good company! We toasted the following 2017 Essex National Heritage Area Trailblazers:
1)PRESERVING THIS SPECIAL REGION
1st place | Essex County Greenbelt Association
2nd place | Ipswich River Watershed Association
3rd place | The Cabot
2)CONNECTING PEOPLE TO PLACE
1st place | The Trustees of Reservations
2nd place | Mass Audubon
3rd place |Essex Agricultural Society
3)BUILDING & GROWING OUR FUTURE
1st place — Peabody Essex Museum
2nd place — YMCA of the North Shore
3rd place — Valley View Farm
4)ADVANCING OUR EDUCATIONAL MISSION
1st place (tie) | Lowell’s Boat Shop and The House of Seven Gables
2nd place | Maritime Gloucester
3rd place | Essex Shipbuilding Museum
Nice detail: the second festive beverage for the reception featured the trio of colors in the Essex National Heritage logo.
Gloucester organizations and partners were featured in the slide loop including: City Hall for Community Preservation, Discover Gloucester, Lannon, Rocky Neck, Schooner Adventure, HarborWalk, Cape Ann Museum.
from Essex National Heritage printed matter:
“This Saturday morning forum is offered in collaboration with Essex County Greenbelt, Friends of Dogtown, Lanesville Community Center and Mass Audubon and held at Cape Ann Museum. The forum will be moderated by Ed Becker, President of the Essex County Greenbelt Association.”
UPDATE: Cape Ann TV is scheduled to film the event!
Chris Leahy gave a presentation at Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Library on February 23, 2017: Dogtown- the Biography of a Landscape: 750 Million Years Ago to the Present
A photographic history through slides presented by the Gloucester Lyceum and the Friends of the Library. Mary Weissblum opened the program.
Chris broadly covered the history of the local landscape from an ecological bent with a bias to birds and blueberry picking, naturally. New England is a patchwork of forested landscapes. He stressed the evolution of bio diversity and succession phenomenon when the earth and climate change. “Nature takes a lot of courses.” He focused on Dogtown, “a very special place”, and possible merits of land stewardship geared at fostering greater biodiversity. Perhaps some of the core acres could be coaxed to grasslands as when parts of Gloucester were described as moors? Characteristic wildlife, butterflies, and birds no longer present may swing back. There were many philosophical takeaways and tips: he recommends visiting the dioramas “Changes in New England Landscape” display at Harvard Forest HQ in Petersham.
“Isolation of islands is a main driver of evolution”
“Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Worcester has the highest concentration* of native butterflies in all of Massachusetts because of secondary habitats.” *of Mass Audubon’s c.40,000 acres of wildlife sanctuaries statewide. “The fact that Brook Meadow Brook is in greater Worcester, rather than a forested wilderness, underscores the value of secondary habitats.”
“1830– roughly the time of Thoreau (1817-1862)– was the maximum period of clearing thus the heyday for grasslands…As farmsteads were abandoned, stages of forests return.”
Below are photos from February 23, 2017. I added some images of art inspired by Dogtown. I also pulled out a photograph by Frank L Cox, David Cox’s father, of Gallery on the Moors (then) compared with a photo of mine from 2011 to illustrate how the picturesque description wasn’t isolated to Dogtown.
Louise Upton Brumback (1867-1929), Dogtown- Cape Ann, 1920 oil on canvas
For those interested in conservation right where people live, Essex Heritage and Peabody Essex Museum are co-hosting a daylong conference focused on the big topic of Scaling Up. Local, national and international experts interested in conservation planning and policy will have a chance to share, learn and network. Register on line. The conference will take place on Friday October 7th from 8-5PM at the Peabody Essex Museum and will finish up at the Salem Visitor Center. Who will be there from your town?
Speakers and symposium participants include: Keynote P. Lynn Scarlett, Global Director Public Policy, Nature Conservancy; Bob McIntosh, National Park Service; Brent Mitchell, Atlantic Center for the Environment; Stephanie Toothman, National Park Service; Emily Bateson, Practicioners’ Network for Large Landscape Conservation; Ed Becker, Essex County Greenbelt; Amanda Babson, Coastal Landscape Adaptation, Northeast Region, National Park Service; Robert O’Connor, Director of Land and Forest Policy, MA Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs; Janey Winchell, Sara Fraser Robbins Director, Dotty Brown Art & Nature Center, Peabody Essex Museum; Eric Hove, Metropolitan Area Planning council; Colin Novic, Greater Worcester Land Trust; Wayne Castonguay, Ipswich River Watershed Assoc; Kathy Abbott, President and CEO, Boston Harbor Now; Tim Abbott, Director Litchfield Hills Greenprint, Housatonic Valley; and Rebecca Stanfield McCown, Director, National Park Service Stewardship Institute.
Call to order, welcome, and/or moderating by: Annie Harris, CEO Essex National Heritage Commission; Mayor of Salem Kimberly Driscoll; Jay Finney of Peabody Essex Museum; and Jessica Brown, Executive Director for the New England Biolabs Foundation.
The snappy logo was created by George Courage of George Courage Creative www.georgecouragecreative.com. He also designed the scenic byway logo.
This morning I had the joy to meet Don and Eleanor. Don built the fantastic Osprey platform that you see in the photos. Several years ago, Don noticed that an Osprey pair were trying to construct a nest on a post by the train tracks; the post that houses the all important train signals. Understandably, railroad workers had to destroy the nest as it was interfering with train operations. After watching the Osprey pair attempt to build a nest two years in a row, Don decided to build and install an Osprey platform in the marsh adjacent to his home. With some advice from Greenbelt, Don installed the platform early this spring. Wonder of wonders, his plan worked! The young pair built a perfect nest and one egg hatched.
If the mated pair survives the winter migration, upon their return, they will repair and add to their existing nest. And if the young fledgling also survives it too will most likely return to the region. Thanks to citizen scientists like Don and Eleanor and the Essex County Greenbelt’s amazing Osprey program, the north of Boston region is rapidly being repopulated with Opsrey. Don is already building a second platform with hopes of installing it in the spring of 2017.
Don reports that since the Osprey have been on the scene, they are no longer bothered by pesky crows. He witnessed a pair of crows trying to rob the Osprey nest of its egg. The Osprey swooped in, snatched both crows, and beat them down into the marsh. The crows have yet to return!
Osprey nesting platform built by Don
To take some truly terrific closeups, a longer zoom lens than my own 400mm is required, but we can at least get a glimpse of the Osprey family with these photos.
So many thanks to GMG’s Paul Morrison for the excursion out to photograph the Osprey nest on the Annisquam. And thank you to Paul’s sister Kathy for the suggestion. We were there for only a short time when we began to see movement beneath the adult perched on the nest’s edge. After a few moments, the nestling’s shape became visible, but only for seconds, before it settled back deeper into the nest.
Some interesting facts about Ospreys:
Their population has rebounded following the ban on the pesticide DDT.
This hawk is easy to identify when flying over head as it has a whiter belly than other raptors.
The male gathers the nesting material while the female builds the nest. Osprey return to the same nesting sight and nest, building and rebuilding the nest up over a period of many generations. The man made nesting platforms that we see in Essex County are relatively new nests. Osprey nests that are built up over decades can reach 10 to 13 feet deep and 3-6 feet in diameter, large enough for an adult to sit in.
The osprey’s diet consists almost exclusively of fish, nearly 80 different species of fish are eaten by osprey. Sounds like a Gloucester sort of raptor!
Osprey nest made over multiple generations
David Rimmer wrote a big thank you for all the GMG attention. He explained that Mass Wildlife and the Greenbelt Association are working with the City of Gloucester and sends this update:
Greenbelt also has an Osprey Program, which focuses on managing and monitoring nesting Osprey from East Boston to Salisbury.” Greenbelt has set up webcams and platforms. Learn more http://www.ecga.org/what_we_do/osprey_program. Chris Leahy and Marion Larson from Ma Wildlife also mentioned Greenbelt’s fantastic Osprey program.
Coffins/Coffin’s Beach has a community Facebook page, Wingaersheek and Coffin’s Beach Past and Present. There are historic and contemporary photographs. Check out the incredible photo series of deer frolicking by Timmothy Burke Manlee.
Piping plovers have quite a story. In Massachusetts, the vast majority are south, Cape Cod and the islands. By the close of the 19th century, these birds were near extinction. They rebounded successfully by the 1950’s.
I spoke with Dave Rimmer of Essex County Greenbelt, Marion Larson with Ma Wildlife, Deborah Cramer and Chris Leahy. All of them have updates for GMG which I’ll add next. First,
Read on to find out.
Mass Audubon grabbed on and worked closely with many to solve the problem early. It turns out the population plummet correlated highly to a steep increase in vehicles driving on beaches. The baby fledglings could not climb out of wheel ruts and perished, or were squished by the next roaring set of wheels.
Not the only vehicles, but I do recall dune buggys everywhere,especially down the Cape. They were cool and celebrated in TV and film: Steve McQueen driving on Crane’s Beach (just past Coffins) in the Thomas Crown Affair, Elvis through waves, Adam 12, Monkees, Bionic Woman, Speed Buggy /Scooby Doo, the list goes on and on.
“That was big!” said Leahy. “Once that connection was figured out, the goal was how to restrict vehicles.” Massachusetts is far and away a leader in piping plover conservation and decades later a nesting pair on Good Harbor Beach is a major insight into just how well Massachusetts has done. Piping plovers have nested on Coffins Beach before; Good Harbor, Lynn and Revere are relatively new.
Photos Gloucester, Mass.:
Coffins Beach is a long, long stretch of wide open sandy seashore framed by dunes, sea and sky. Growing up, we called it the private side of Wingaersheek. I could hear piping plovers and saw two ‘in the zone’– the intertidal bit that is still wet at low tide and well under water at high tide. I didn’t see birds in the safe retreats by the upper part of the beach, but heard the melodious chirps that inspired their nickname.
Listen to the piping plover
news from Greenbelt: 2016: 9 piping plover chicks on coffins beach
There are more than 110 portraits of the City of Gloucester by the American artist Edward Hopper. There are a few 1923 Good Harbor Beach scenes including one with Jo Nivison seated sketching, and in the distance Bass Rocks and a ‘Hopper’ house. That vista was already a Gloucester motif.
Eleven years before the image of Jo sketching, Hopper painted the other side of Good Harbor (Brier Neck) when he first came to New England. Leon Kroll painted two pedestrian bridges on the Bass Rocks side of the beach that same year.
Leon Kroll, 1912, oil on canvas, (Good Harbor Beach, Gloucester) 26 x 32
Knoll also painted Niles and Pavilion. He kept returning to Gloucester; eventually his family purchased a home in Folly Cove in 1932. Learn more at Cape Ann Museum and see Kroll works of art on display.
The boys and I explored the Cox Reservation the other day and attended the Intro to Geocaching class that I mentioned in my “Picks” post. While the fun of hunting for geocaches isn’t really new to us, we had a great time joining a small group of other attendees and hunting for some hidden boxes with some “professionals.”
The Essex County Greenbelt boasts tons of great properties that are always offering a large variety of fun and educational activities.