30 minute underwater video of Gloucester sea-life: Dolphin, Stripers, Menhaden, Mackerel, Mako Shark, Basking Shark, Halibut, Summer Flounder, Winter Flounder, Sea Robin, Red Fish, Dog Fish, Skates, Silver Hake, Red Hake, Herring, Pollock, Haddock, Cod, Cunner, Squid, American Eel, Sand Eels, Ocean Sunfish, Silversides, Starfish, Giant Poisonous Jellyfish, Seals, Lobster, Spider Crab, Horseshoe Crab, Sand Dollars, Sea Urchins, Sea Scallops, Quahogs, Mussels, Surf Clams, Whelks, Moon Snails, Sea Anemone, Coral, Sponges, and more.
Three years ago (!) almost to the day, Deborah Cramer’s NY Times op ed , “Silent Seashores” was published and her horseshoe crab and Red Knot poetic missive “The Narrow Edge: A Tiny Bird, an Ancient Crab, and an Epic Journey” advanced a global ecological message to the masses. “I hope I never walk beaches empty of sandpipers and plovers. But it is possible that may happen. In the case of some shorebirds, it is increasingly likely. This is why we must commit the money and muscle needed to give these birds safe harbor. If we do, we just might keep our shores teeming with shorebirds.” Deborah Cramer is a visiting scholar at M.I.T., and resides in Gloucester.
April 28, 2018
The New York Times, published another mighty call to arms making use of today’s improved visual storytelling tools. “Shorebirds the world’s greatest travelers, face extinction” is breathtaking and devasting digitial photojournalism about shorebird extinction by John W. Fitzpatrick (Director Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology) and Nathan R. Senner (scientist University of Montana). Stuart A Thompson designed the superb interactive graphic element. The indeliable header pulses with a bird on a wire, a “common snipe” it’s captioned, peering, chest beating, and then a sickening struggle. The bird’s caught, and we’re its snipers. Do. Not. Look. Away.
While you’re checking out this NY Times must read on line, think about Gloucester, Deborah Cramer, and Kim Smith. How one person can and continues to make a difference. Among many other projects, Smith is leading the effort to protect piping plovers at Good Harbor Beach. Let’s support the laws in place to safeguard the natural world. No dogs year round may be easier to remember. Honor system, volunteers, and enforcement (without “teeth” and more funding) are not working. If compassion, art, rules, and legacy aren’t persuasive, there’s always the bottom line. Natural culture all about us is a strategic resource.
and a frost weathered shell-cracked horseshoe crab. Sequential views and hues in response to requests for Wingaersheek Beach photographs.
I needed a flashlight at first, mostly for the ice, long stretches in the parking lot then frozen ice scoops in the dry sand. I waited for sunrise, returing to spots I’ve favored since I was a little girl, adding glances back in the direction of Wheeler’s Point, where my parents lived, and over picnic boulders and slide pools out to Annisquam Lighthouse. The light was simultaneously a ring of orange mauve fire and rosy pale violet gray. More photos:
Fans, friends, colleagues, and teachers enjoyed a free public program at Sawyer Free Library to hear more about the making of the Narrow Edge by Deborah Cramer. The talk was sponsored by the library, Kestrel, The Gloucester Writers Center, and Eastern Point Lit House (Deborah will be leading one of the upcoming book discussions at Duckworth’s). It was a treat to hear more about the long friendship and collaboration of Deborah Cramer and Susan Quateman (learn more about Susan’s art here) Patty Hanlon’s Cedar Tree Gallery at Walker Creek Furniture in Essex held the inaugural exhibit for this series.
Cramer read quotes from her book that also inspired Janet Essley’s art; Quateman, Essley and works by Michael DiGiorgio and George Textor were exhibited at the Matz Gallery in the Library. Martin Ray’s sculpture seen to the right and behind Deborah during her talk is part of the library’s art collection.
“Unbeknownst to most people horseshoe crab blood safeguards human health.”
Avery from The Bookstore of Gloucester helped with the crush at book signing time.
Heidi Wakeman, a Gloucester O’Maley teacher, was excited to visit with her first grade teacher, and Barbara Kelley who we learned accompanied Cramer on a research trip for The Narrow Edge.
More scenes from this wonderful evening
Audubon Exclusive through May 7th: Watch ‘Birds of May,’ a New Documentary About Red Knots
The film explores the growing debate over the environmental impact of oyster farms in Delaware Bay, an important stopover site for the threatened shorebirds.
Documentary filmmaker Jared Flesher, “The Red Knot has been on my list since the very beginning,” he says. “As a species, it has all the elements of a dramatic story.” The bird is charismatic and attractive, particularly in its red-breasted summer plumage, and it makes one of the longest annual migrations on Earth, flying up to 9,000 miles each way from the southern tip of South America to the northernmost reaches of the Arctic where the species nests. Every May, as Red Knots make their long trek north, they pause at Delaware Bay in southern New Jersey to refuel, gobbling down the fat-rich horseshoe crab eggs that coat the shore.
At least, that’s what’s supposed to happen. Red Knots already have to overcome numerous challenges on such a long migration, but today they also face new threats. Climate change puts the species’ Arctic nesting sites at risk, and there’s trouble with their main food source at Delaware Bay, where in the early 2000s horseshoe crab over harvesting led to a Red Knot population crash. Since then, the subspecies that migrates through Delaware Bay has been listed under the Endangered Species Act, and the crab harvest has been limited. Red Knots seem to be slowly rebounding, but conservationists are worried that the population is still fragile.
As a storyteller, a species disappearing from earth forever—that’s just about the most dramatic hook there is,” Flesher says. And as he explores in Birds of May, which was partly funded by the Washington Crossing Audubon Society, a new threat may be lurking for the far-flying birds at their New Jersey stopover site.”
See the trailer below and watch the film exclusively at Audubon here only through May 7th.
Don’t miss Deborah Cramer speaking about the making of her book about the Red Knots “The Narrow Edge,” at the Sawyer Free Library on Thursday evening at 7pm.
On the sandy beaches of the Delaware Bay, in New Jersey, a visitor arrives each May from the southernmost tip of South America. Name: Calidris canutus rufa. The rufa red knot.
What makes the red knot remarkable is its epic journey: 19,000 miles per year, from Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic Circle and back again, one of the longest migrations in the animal kingdom.
The Delaware Bay serves as the most important stepping stone during the red knot’s long spring migration. Famished knots, having flown without rest for as many as seven days straight, arrive on the bay having lost half their body weight. For two crucial weeks, the birds gorge on the eggs of horseshoe crabs. Red knots that gain enough weight will survive the final leg of their journey to the Arctic. Others perish.
In 2015, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service listed the rufa red knot as a federally threatened species—it faces threats throughout the Western Hemisphere, from habitat loss in South America to the impacts of climate change in the Arctic. The calamitous overharvest of horseshoe crabs on the Delaware Bay last decade was another major driver of the red knot’s decline—when the starving birds arrived, there weren’t enough eggs waiting for them.
Most recently, in 2016, state and federal regulators approved a plan to permit a 1,400 percent increase in oyster farming on the Delaware Bay. The oyster farms operate on the same tidal flats used by hungry red knots at low tide.
Birds of May, filmed in May 2016 on the beaches of the Delaware Bay, is filmmaker Jared Flesher’s ode to the natural spectacle of the red knot’s annual visit. It’s also an investigation of potential new threats to red knot survival. Not everyone is sure that expanded oyster farming and red knots can happily coexist. Against the scenic backdrop of the bay, Flesher interviews both oyster farmers and the shorebird biologists who fear that an oyster farming boom here could push the rufa red knot closer to extinction.
Read more about filmmaker Jared Flesher here:
Congratulations Deborah Cramer!
Remember her request to share horseshoe crab reports and memories
National Academies of Science Best Book Award 2016
National Academies of Sciences press release: “The winning entries represent science communication at its finest and exemplify the ability of science writers to engage, inform, and inspire the public.”
Society of Environmental Journalists Rachel Carson Book Award 2016
15th Annual awards for reporting on the environment press release excerpt:
Judges were impressed by the painful beauty and eloquence of Deborah Cramer’s writing; one saw “The Narrow Edge” as a story of loss and hopeful restoration while another said the book “represents everything about Rachel Carson’s legacy that the book award stands for.” In her book, Cramer follows the 19,000-mile migration of an endangered shorebird called the red knot, which depends on horseshoe crab eggs for survival. So do humans:
Continue reading “Just announced: Gloucester author Deborah Cramer wins major awards for The Narrow Edge! National Academies of Science Best Book Award and Society of Environmental Journalists Rachel Carson Book Award”
WONDERFUL creatures are currently migrating through our shores. How blessed are we who live along the Atlantic Flyway. Whether traveling by shore or by sea, there is this great and continual movement of life happening always in our midst.
Many thanks to my friend Jeff Denoncour, Trustees of Reservations Ecologist for the Northeast Region, for assistance with identifying the birds. I met Jeff earlier this summer when he kindly took me out to the tippy far end of Cranes to film the Piping Plovers nesting there.
Additionally we have seven tiny Monarch caterpillars in terrariums. It’s so late in the season for these teeny ones. Last year at this time we were releasing adult butterflies and I worry that they are not going to pupate in time to successfully migrate to Mexico. The caterpillars are too small to handle, but if any of the kids in our community would like to come see, please comment in the comment section or email me at email@example.com. The last of the Cecropia Moth caterpillars has not yet pupated and he is fun to watch as well.
Here are some photos to help you identify our migrating feathered friends.
Compare the larger size of the Black-bellied Plover in the foreground with the Semipalmated Plover and Semiplamated Sandpiper in the background
The above group of four photos are of either a pair of Red Knots or White-rumped Sandpipers in non breeding plumage. The White-rumped Sandpiper is thought to migrate an even greater distance than the Red Knot, from Canada’s Arctic Islands to the Southern tip of South America, and some further still to islands near the Antarctic Peninsula. These shy birds did not allow for human interest and the photos were taken at some distance.
Juvenile Laughing Gull
READ MORE HERE
I saw the BIRD SIGHTINGS call out in the Sunday Boston Globe and noted the Plum Island list. (Under ‘Miscellaneous’ there is one bird listed from Gloucester.) I have no idea if that is the MassAudubon customary geographic selection, randomly culled, or all that’s available at the time of publication. I suppose I was looking for a ‘Gloucester’, ‘North Shore’, or ‘Cape Ann’ heading. I am confident the region is represented because folks like Chris Leahy, Dave Rimmer, Essex Greenbelt, other experts, citizen scientists, and fans report from our communities.
*This just in update: Dave Rimmer reports that the piping plover fencing at Good Harbor came down today.
GMG features many bird photographs, from FOBs and contributors especially Kim Smith and Donna Ardizzoni. Here’s an unofficial appreciator’s list with a few Gloucester sightings: ‘sandpipers’ on Long Beach last week. Piping plover (heard/saw),’plovers’ and ‘sandpipers’ on Good Harbor beach on July 25. One (dead) horseshoe crab and 1 sand dollar (alive) off Wingaersheek on July 26. Piping Plover (heard/saw) on Good Harbor this morning. What have you seen?
Learn more- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horseshoe_crab
At a cottage by the sea, I had to fold something appropriate!
This is my first try at Robert Lang’s origami horseshoe crab. Folded from a single uncut sheet of foil paper. It would be better with brown paper, but I didn’t have the right kind on hand; foil was the strongest, thinnest paper I have with me right now on vacation…
It has a few challenging steps in it…
Yesterday Pablo showed up with this horseshoe crab. I’m not exactly sure if they are endangered or not so I took a couple pictures, a short video and tossed it in the ocean.
Then I came in the office and found this fascinating site dedicated to the creature- http://horseshoecrab.org/