No matter how many times you visit Rockport, the Motif never disappoints.
No matter how many times you visit Rockport, the Motif never disappoints.
SUE BONIOR SUMMER PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBIT
Open Sundays July 18-August 30th or by appointment
The Unitarian Universalist Society of Rockport (UUSR) is hosting its 4th annual photography exhibit by Rockport native Sue Bonior, July 18 through August 30.
The gallery features many new works with a lens focused on Cape Ann vistas and nature portraits from shoreline to hillsides, fields, gardens, quarries and woods.
Thirty full color images are mounted on stretched canvas by Cape Ann Giclee of Gloucester. Reprints of previously exhibited images may also be ordered at this time.
View the exhibit with the artist on Sunday afternoons in August, 3-5 pm at UUSR, 4 Cleaves Street, Rockport, or by appointment via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. A portion of sales will benefit UUSR’s work in the community.
Mr. Swan heading to Rockport Harbor for the winter.
Cape Ann Swan Update: Our little rescue swan, which Lyn has been valiantly and lovingly taking care of in her new winter quarters fit for a princess swan, is doing beautifully. Mr. Swan’s winter headquarters when the freshwater ponds are in a deep freeze is mostly Rockport Harbor to Front Beach and Lois reports he is doing fabulously as well, too!
Mute Swans in our region need our help to survive the winter. There simply isn’t enough wild food available, especially in a brutally cold winter such as the one we are currently experiencing, with freshwater ponds frozen solid. The very best thing to feed swans is whole corn and cracked corn. You can try greens such as washed and undressed romaine lettuce, spinach, and kale, but they will mostly go for the carbohydrate rich corn. What is the worse and most deadly food to feed swans, causing long term health problems? You guessed it–junk food and white bread. Please don’t give our local birds and wildlife human junk food, it’s a killer! This includes but not limited to chips, cheetos, crackers, and stale bread.
Be safe when feeding swans and don’t get too close.
We purchase our corn in bulk from the Essex Bird and Pet Shop, located at 121 Essex Avenue. In a pinch, Stop and Shop also carries small bags of cracked corn.
Two tips from Mr. Swan’s caretakers: 1) When feeding swans, feed at the water’s edge. Swans like to swallow water while they are eating. 2) Mr. Swan usually has a bevy of quwackers in tow and they so vigorously try to eat the corn, and there are so many of them, there oftentimes isn’t enough food for Mr. Swan. Mr. Swan’s caretakers will throw a scoop of food in one direction to distract the ducks and at the same time toss some down directly in front of Mr. Swan. This distraction technique works for a bit of time before needing to be repeated.
Mr. Swan and the Young Swan were just beginning to warm to each other when the pond froze up.
Living in a coastal community as do we here on Cape Ann, the weather plays a formidable role in our everyday lives. I consider each day to be uniquely beautiful, although with a storm approaching that has been given the name “Bomb Cyclone,” the word beauty may not be the first word that comes to mind tomorrow morning.
Yesterday morning as the full Wolf Moon was setting, the sun rose clear and brilliantly on the icy rafts forming at Smiths Cove, sea smoke swirled around Ten Pound Island Lighthouse, and the Harbor was rough with whitecaps.
Today the sun rose over the backshore through a bank of low lying clouds shading the light in hues of violet, red, orange, and yellow and this thought was on my mind, ‘red in the morning, sailor heed warning.’ Fishermen were shoring up their boats, house builders furiously hammering, and the grocery stores were as mobbed as the day before Thanksgiving.
See you on the other side of the storm. Please stay safe and warm ❤
Is the young Mute Swan at Niles Pond a male or female? Based on outward appearances, the simple answer is we don’t know yet. Notice that there is no pronounced black knob, or protuberance, at the base of the young swan’s bill. Our young swan only hatched in the spring of this year. The knob becomes prominent at about three years of age.
After swans reach maturity, it is easier to distinguish between the two sexes when they are side by side. The male’s knob, also called a blackberry, is larger than the female’s blackberry, and too, his neck is thicker.
In case you were wondering, the swan’s bill will begin to change color at eight to ten months and it will not turn completely orange until the swan is at least one year old.
Compare the difference between the male and female swan in the photo above. Mr. Swan, on the left, has a larger blackberry, thicker neck, brighter orange bill, and is overall larger. He is with is his second mate, Mrs. Swan, and the last cygnet they hatched together.
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Friends of the Monarch Butterfly: If you would like to help towards the completion of the documentary film Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly, please consider making a tax deductible donation here:
Donors contributing over $5,000. will be listed in the credits as a film producer.
For more information, visit the film’s website here: Monarch Butterfly Film
For an overview of the film’s budget, please go here: Budget
Thank you so very much for your help.
After a summer of what appeared to be a not-so-happy pairing between Mr. Swan and the new one, the two seemed to have turned some kind of corner. Whether the tolerance is temporary or not, this morning the pair were observed preening within mere feet of each other and the young swan, actually nodded off, with Mr. Swan nearby.
For the sake of this story and in case a romance blossoms, we’ll call her a she. Friends of Mr. Swan have been reporting that he was either very aggressively biting and flying at her, chasing her into the reeds on the far side of the pond, or possibly chasing her to teach her to become airborne.
Mr. Swan has spent nearly the entire summer at Niles Pond, and he may never again return to Henry’s after the terrible debacle of his attempted capture. The day before the recent southeaster wind and rain event, Mr. Swan took off to Rockport Harbor and was seen there by his friends Lois, Joel, and Paul.
Paul St. Germain, via Lois, shares the above photo of Mr. Swan drinking water from a boat at Rockport Harbor.
The young swan softly crying.
I looked for the young swan at Niles Pond on the day after the storm and much to my surprise, she seemed very lonely. She was softly crying over and over again in much the same manner as I have filmed Mr. Swan when his mate was killed by a coyote several years ago. Her cries were quieter than his, but she definitely appeared to be searching, calling, and distressed.
Yesterday, Niles Pond resident Lyn reported that Mr. Swan had returned to Niles Pond. I’ll relate exactly what I observed this morning. The young swan was at the water’s edge, busily preening. Although she does not yet know how to fly, she certainly knows how to groom and maintain her flight feathers for future flying. Mr. Swan caught sight of me and began to swim straight towards us, with his feathers all busked out. She began to swim away from him as he approached and made it about thirty feet. He then flew directly towards her, but this time not in an aggressive way, but in a manner that herded her back to the shoreline. I was honestly very happy and relieved to see this because I really did not want to witness Mr. Swan attacking her again.
The soft colors of the first hatch year feathers matched the soft colors reflected off the water in the early morning light.
Both were now at the shoreline and both began to preen, only several feet apart, as if they had been doing this their whole life and it was the most normal interaction between them imaginable. I filmed them for a bit when the young swan grew tired of preening and fell asleep, with Mr. Swan keeping an eye out towards the water. Eventually Mr. Swan took off towards his friend Skip’s dock. She then awoke, but stayed behind near the shore.
Nodding off in close proximity to Mr. Swan
Are they becoming more comfortable with each other? Is the young swan a girl or a boy (too soon to tell from outward appearances)? Will the young swan ever learn to fly, or is there something wrong with her wings? So many questions and only time will tell. I hope so much both will survive the winter without coyote attack (or some other tragedy befalls them) and we will be able to observe as this new chapter in Mr. Swan’s life unfolds.
We friends of Mr. Swan think he is practically a genius. You would have to be, to survive the oftentimes inhospitable shores of Cape Ann. And, too, he is well over twenty years old and has out lived two mates!
Mr. Swan at Brace Cove
Mr. Swan is a species of swan called a Mute Swan, which do not migrate great distances. Instead, they move around from body of water to body of water within a region. When Mr. and Mrs. Swan were raising their young, by mid summer, when food was becoming less plentiful and water levels receding at Henry’s Pond, the entire swan family–mom, dad, and all the cygnets–would travel for the remainder of the breeding season to Niles Pond, a larger pond with a more plentiful supply of aquatic vegetation. Several weeks ago, the brackish water of Henry’s Pond thawed. Mr. Swan returned to the Pond, but then with a stretch of cold weather, it quickly refroze. He headed over to Pebble Beach to forage for food in the saltwater cove. This week, sensing the coming nor’easter, Mr. Swan moved over to Rockport Harbor, which rarely freezes, is less rough than Pebble Beach, and where a supply of food is readily available. Whether a September hurricane or March blizzard, Mr. Swan rides out the storm tucked in along the edge of pond or harbor.
Don’t you find it very interesting that although not indigenous to this country, Mute Swans have adapted many strategies for surviving our changing seasons, and with the seasonal changes, the differing types of, and amounts of, food available.
If you see Mr. Swan at any of our local bodies of water, please be very kind to him. Dogs, no matter how well meaning, will make any swan feel threatened. And please, if you must feed him, only feed him whole corn. No junk food ever. Swan junk food includes bread, crackers, chips, and Doritos. In all the years that I have been filming Mr. Swan, never once have I fed him. Mr. Swan has friends, wonderfully kind stewards, who regularly look after his well-being, supplementing his native diet of pond greens and seaweed with cracked corn, and that is quite sufficient for his good health.
Thank you everyone for looking out for Cape Ann’s one and only Mr. Swan!
Mr. Swan at Rockport Harbor and Niles Pond, with His Ever-present Entourage of Quackers
These aquamarine-eyed beauties were very nearly made extinct from the use of the pesticide DDT and from hunting. DDT wreaked havoc on avian creatures nationwide and since its ban, the Double-crested Cormorant has made an extraordinary recovery, so much so, that some communities spend a great deal of time and expense planning how to kill, or cull, these remarkable birds. Read here for a very thoughtful article on the topic, “To Kill a Cormorant.”
Pair of Juvenile Double-crested Cormorants at Rockport Harbor
Double-crested Cormorants massing at the mouth of the Essex River in late summer
The Double-crested Cormorant get its common name from the double tufts of feathers seen on both male and females, showing only during breeding season. The crests can be white, black, or a combination of both. Photo courtesy wiki.
Photos from an early morning walk all around Rockport Harbor (sub0zero walk I should add). My technique for photographing when it’s 10 degrees out is to snap away until my fingers can’t stand it any more, run back to the car, which has been left running, warm up, and then try again. Repeat in ten to fifteen minute intervals. I have the utmost respect for the fishermen; I don’t understand how they can work on the water when the air temperature is so cold.
Rockport Congregational Church and Shalin Liu Sunrays
One of a sleeping pair of juvenile Double-crested Cormorants
Hmmm. There’s something different about Rockport Harbor these days. I can’t quite put my finger on it.
Could it possibly be the massive marine crane that is resting alongside our sleepy and iconic Motif 1?
It has taken me by surprise several days in a row upon coming to the end of Broadway to turn up South Street to head home.
The equipment, for the record, is in town to work on the Rockport Breakwater.
Last night’s fireworks over Rockport Harbor were fantastic.
“Just another two feet Alice and we can eat off the kitchen table!”
In 24 hours, Saturday at 3:45PM the Freemantle Doctor will round up and head into Rockport Harbor. You can open this post (click the header) then refresh the photo to get the most up to date view of the goings on.
Sandy Bay Yacht Club has two Net Cams click here. But better to get down there in person to meet Santa, enjoy some hot chocolate complete with mini-marshmallows, enjoy the caroling in Dock Square and the lighting of the most awesome tree to ever grace Dock Square.
While you’re at the Sandy Bay Yacht Club web site go ahead and sign your kids up for sailing lessons next summer. Sailing season will be here before you know it.
Beth Roenker writes-
Joey, attached are some pictures Chris Roenker of Rockport took on Thursday from a helicopter piloted by Dan Zimmermann also of Rockport. They flew around Cape Ann and got some really great shots. Thought you might want to share them. Love the blog! Beth
15 – Pigeon Cove Harbor
16 Rockport Harbor
15 – Pigeon Cove Harbor
21 Thatcher Island
22 Loblolly Cove
23 Cape Hedge and Long Beaches
24 Good Harbor Beach
25 Gloucester Harbor
27 Hammond Castle
29 is just pretty