I saw an ad from the MACC (Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions) seeking photographers to help protect and preserve Massachusetts Wetlands. May was Wetlands Month. Naturally, I wanted to help.
I did a bit of research on wetlands. In the 20th century, the world has lost 50% of its wetlands. But in the US, we've lost 80% of our wetlands since the 1980s. Wetlands act as the biological "kidneys" of the landscape by filtering out any water that would otherwise directly run into a water system. This chain reaction will affect well, everything. So I REALLY wanted to help. I grabbed my camera.
The wetlands are not pretty, to say the least, and they're flat too. White cranes are everywhere in the North Shore. They would present a nice contrast to the muddy backdrop. Perfect. Now to search for some birds.
Several times over the month, I tried. Thwarted attempts due to:
Finally, I found a group of White Cranes just over the bridge entering Plum Island. I pulled my car up quietly. Three other photographers had done the same. As we quickly, and silently, set up, another car pulled in. The moron slammed his door.
Our heads snapped around, glaring at him. "Sorry," he yelled as the birds took off in a flash. On the way home I chanted "om om om."
This is the only shot I took of birds that month. I submitted the photo, which was mediocre at best.
These were shot at Gardner Lake (Amesbury MA) on a beautiful blue, warm and partly cloudy day. They were taken moments apart. No editing was done.
The first was taken without a filter. The second with a polarizing filter.
I did knock the camera a bit when screwing on the filter. But can you see a difference? I'm puzzled. I thought skies, water and snow should be enhanced by polarizing filters?
Did you know that Dory is not only a Disney character but also a type of fishing boat? The dory fishing boat was invented at Lowell's Boat Shop in Amesbury (MA). It's the longest operating boat repair and work shop in the country. It started in 1793. Now it's a museum also.
A dory is a flat-bottomed boat with high flaring sides, sharp bow, and deep V-shaped transom. At one point the shop produced 1,000 boats of this type per year.
It's only fitting that Lowell's has been commissioned to repair John Smith's replica shallop. The replica boat was built in 1952. It will be finished by next year for the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower landing. (Mayflower II is also a replica.) They will be reunited in Plymouth.
A shallop is a light sailboat with oars. John Smith used this boat to sail into inlets and harbors, scouting a location to land the Mayflower in 1620. First they landed at the tip of Cape Cod but couldn't find fresh water. A second landing took place in Plymouth that November.
If you're a history nerd or nautical buff, this is a must stop.
Location: Lowell's Boat Shop & Museum 459 Main Street, Amesbury, Massachusetts. Open year-round.
Most people know of the Salem Witch Trials, but briefly, in Colonial Massachusetts, between February 1692 and May 1693, more than 200 people were accused of witchcraft, 19 of whom were found guilty and executed.
A Puritan minister, Samuel Parris' daughter, Betty, and her cousin, Abigail, were the two girls who set off the fear by accusing their slave, Tituba, of witchcraft.
This is the ruins of the Parris' homestead.
Location: Look for the very, very small sign on Centre Street in Danvers (MA), between Hobart Street and Prince Place. There's no parking on Centre Street. Look for a side street.
Note: Danvers split from Salem in 1752.
I'm an admitted history nerd so "America's Hidden Stories" caught my attention on the Smithsonian Channel. The pilot episode was on the Salem "witches". Most people know about the memorial of the hangings but there's a newer memorial for the location of the actual hanging. Researchers and historians have located where the witches were hung and their bodies dumped. [There's no bones because it's been so long ago.]
Location: Proctor's Ledge, 7 Pope Street, Salem, Massachusetts.
This was shot at Gloucester Harbor a few days ago but I think I've identified these ducks. The black and white one is an Eider. The brown duck is a Gadwall. Again, I think.
There were flocks of several types of ducks bobbing along just after a storm feeding and preening.
The Beverly Arts District commission was created in 2014 to bring public art to our North Shore town, including sculptures and murals. One of their first projects was to commemorate those who served -- and perished -- in Vietnam.
The sculpture represents a young man who has been drafted to serve and is leaving home. The artist, Jane DeDecker, is Colorado-based sculptor whose works include 175 public monuments across 33 states.
The bench also contains bronze plaques of the names of Beverly residents who lost their lives during Vietnam.
Location: Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza 54 Church St, Beverly, Massachusetts
Thank you Dad, Sargent (Spec 5) Richard A. Billings (1965-1966), for your service.
It’s a small playground and sports field named for a local hero, Pete. Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge that swept through the country and parts of the world in 2014? Pete Frates is a Beverly (MA) resident who attended St. John’s Preparatory School and then Boston College. He excelled in sports, from football to hockey and baseball—eventually becoming a coach.
But at the age of 27, he was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) or Lou Gehrig's disease. The cause is unknown and there is no cure.
Buckets of ice have long been poured over the heads of sports victors. Pete’s brother issued the challenge to his friends because he believed Pete was going to win. This challenge soon went viral and, in the end, $225M has been donated to fight this horrible disease. It’s become an annual event in Beverly and the North Shore (of Boston).
Pete’s Park is newly opened in Beverly.
Centered on Ward Street with several branches in Salem (MA), is the Punto Urban Art Museum. This outdoor art gallery features murals of 14 local, national, and international artists with nearly 80 works between them. It is part of an urban development program.
The remarkable thing is that some of these murals were painted in 1970 and none have been touched by graffiti.
The original neighborhood, Stage Point, was named for the fish drying “stages,” as Salem was founded because the of maritime businesses and trade. In the 18th century the economic shift was due to the mill workers that come from French-Canada. It became “La Pointe”.
In 1914 much of this area of Salem was destroyed in a vast fire. The mills moved to the south, as the city was being rebuilt. More recent immigrants came from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean. The neighborhood is known now as “El Punto” (Spanish for the point).
There are several ethnic markets, shops, and restaurants that one can check out.
For more info: Punto Urban Art Museum.
Yesterday we were walking trails through J.C. Phillips Nature Preserve in Wenham (MA). The leaves haven't changed yet. But, I find this...
... a vine or tree? Several people have suggested "twisted willow" or Asiatic Bittersweet. What do you think?