Clearing and surveying 41 & 43 Cliff Road | view from Thatcher Road #GloucesterMA #newconstruction

Just past the corner of Witham and Thatcher before Long Beach Dairy Maid, clearing and surveying underway on two lots across from the former Amelia’s/Olivia’s space.

photos below – BEFORE (2019 and earlier) Water run off used to ice over before DPW work along this stretch

Massachusetts wildflowers & weeds | sweet beach pea vs. bittersweet nightshade, Good Harbor Beach dune plants

Beach pea (also known as sand pea) is a sweet native wildflower (Lathyrus japonicus) that’s easy to spot in the dunes– from any of the walkways.

The flowers with the purple petals and yellow stamen daggers in the mix are “bittersweet nightshade” also known as climbing nightshade and woody nightshade. Solanum dulcamara is poisonous and invasive and thus weed.

Your corona empties might give someone corona- carry in, out and home will help #GloucesterMA beaches, city staff, friends and family

It’s likely low risk (I think?), especially on sunny days, but why make battling Covid-19 any harder?

At this point I realized I didn’t bring enough bags and was rescued by a friend with two commercial grade big bags. If the environment, oceans and wildlife aren’t motivating enough to take care of litter, how about caring for the people left to pick up and sort?

THANK YOU GOVERNOR BAKER AND THE MASSACHUSETTS DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION FOR PROTECTING PIPING PLOVERS AT DCR BEACHES!

So proud to live in Massachusetts, a state where the lives of threatened and endangered shorebirds that nest along our coastline, birds such as Least Terns, Piping Plovers, and American Oyster Catchers, are considered worth protecting.

Despite all that the state government is trying to manage with the pandemic at its very peak, a huge shout out to Governor Baker and his administration for continuing the fight to help protect Piping Plovers. The Governor’s list of essential workers includes natural resource workers and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation has placed symbolic roping and threatened species signs on DCR beaches. For over forty years, people have been working to rebuild the Piping Plover population and it will only add to the coronavirus tragedy if we cease protecting threatened and endangered wildlife.

The PiPls are having a tough time of it this spring, largely because so much of their overwintering habitat was ravished during last year’s Hurricane Dorian. Let’s all work together to share the shore with wildlife and to protect our own Good Harbor Beach Piping Plover family!

Males and females are pairing up at local beaches

Male PiPl building a nest scrape and tossing bits of shells and sand into the scrape

Female PiPl keeping out of the path of gusty winds

Winthrop Shores Reservation ‘Five Sisters’

 

#gloucesterma STORM PHOTOS – GOOD HARBOR BEACH, EASTERN POINT LIGHTHOUSE, DOGBAR BREAKWATER, BACK SHORE, TEN POUND ISLAND, BRACE COVE, MOTHER ANN

Scenes from around the eastern end of Gloucester – churning seas, leaden clouds, and great puffs of wind – the waves weren’t super, super huge at 4pm but there was still great crashing action over the Dogbar.

Herring Gull and Brant Geese taking shelter (and fighting) at the little cove at Easter Point Light

PARKING BAN AT NILES BEACH AND NEIGHBORHOOD STREETS SURROUNDING GOOD HARBOR BEACH AND WINGAERSHEEK BEACH

New beach parking restrictions are being implemented by the Mayor’s office. These restrictions include Witham Street, Nautilus Road, Eastern Point Road (the road that runs along Niles Beach) and the neighborhood roads around Wingaersheek Beach.

Barricades were placed today in several locations and we imagine more will be forthcoming.

Niles Beach Eastern Point Road is clearly barricaded and marked

No barriers yet on Nautilis Road (we expect they are coming)

No barriers yet on Witham Street

New barriers at the corner of Witham and 127A

Walk-ons allowed and bike stand still in place at Good Harbor Beach

Good Harbor Beach this afternoon, in and out of storms

COYOTES IN THE BLUE HOUR

Prior to dawn Monday morning, two Eastern Coyotes were spotted perusing Saratoga Creek and Good Harbor Beach. They appeared to be a pair; the huskier of the two was definitely the ‘alpha’ Coyote, with the smaller trotting after the larger. Before crossing the Creek, they both stopped to go pooh and pee in a pile of seaweed.

The larger (am assuming a male, but not entirely sure) has a more mottled snout with a black tail tip, while the smaller of the two has a very black snout and no black on its tail tip.

WE HAVE A PIPING PLOVER NEST SCRAPE!

As you may recall from Sunday’s post, our sweet Piping Plover pair arrived on March 22nd. This is three days earlier than last year. The two are concentrating their courtship in exactly the same area they have been courting, nesting, and raising their chicks for the previous four years (with the exception of the parking lot nest). Today PapaPl made a serious nest scrape about five feet away from last year’s nest.

Each year, as they become better at migrating and better parents, they are arriving earlier, and earlier, and are wasting no time in getting down to the business of reproducing. Piping Plovers famously show great fidelity to their nesting sites and our PiPls are no exception.

Piping Plover nest scrape today at 8:30am

You can see in the photos, the male is in the nest scraping, and the sand is flying in the middle photo as he digs out the nest.

We are very much hoping the symbolic Piping Plover fencing can be installed as quickly as possible. Yesterday, protective dune fencing was installed the length of Good Harbor Beach. What was installed yesterday only needs to be widened in a relatively small area  to accommodate the Piping Plover’s nest scrape.

With all the terrible consequences of Covid-19 taking place all around us, some people may think it not important during the pandemic to help the Good Harbor Beach Piping Plovers. I don’t think I am in the minority when I write nothing could be further from the truth. It’s critical to post the threatened/endangered signs and symbolic fencing and let the community know the birds are here. Helping endangered and threatened species is a meaningful way for us all to better understand our natural environment. The fact that the PiPls successfully fledged three chicks last summer gives us hope for a brighter future for all living creatures on our Planet.

Pops Plover getting down to business this morning!

#GLOUCESTERPLOVER ! JOYFUL NEWS TO SHARE – OUR GOOD HARBOR BEACH PIPING PLOVERS HAVE RETURNED

Daily I have been checking and this afternoon we were overjoyed to see two foraging at low tide at Good Harbor Beach. They were super hungry, looking for food non-stop at the sand bar and in the water.

The PiPls are three days ahead of last year. Each spring they have been arriving earlier and earlier.

The Piping Plovers annual return is an event that I and many others have come to look forward to. Especially this year, not only because they are a sign of hope and renewal during the extremely challenging times we are experiencing but because of the hurricane that destroyed much of their Bahamian habitat last autumn.

Thanks to our amazing crew of volunteers, Essex Greenbelt’s Dave Rimmer, Gloucester’s DPW, Gloucester City Council, and to all our Piping Plover friends, three chicks successfully fledged at Good Harbor Beach last summer. Let’s stay positive for another fantastic year with our PiPl family!