Sunday, January 30, 2011

Black Guillemot


On the weekend of the 4th of February, will be the Cape Ann Winter Birding Weekend which was good time last year. This year will not disappoint.

Yesterday, off of Fort Square, I saw a Thick-billed Murre. Today, I ran into a couple of birders who their own sighting in the morning. At noon, I spied a female Ruddy Duck off of Fort Square swimming about the park. This was my first Massachusetts Ruddy Duck, but an old buddy from my days out west.

DSC_0007-1Today, I though I’d go out to Eastern Point to shot some Purple Sandpipers. Why? Well, it was overcast and the light is very diffuse. My favorite location is on the south side of Dogbar Breakwater, so if the sun is out it makes shooting tough because the birds are backlit.  But wouldn’t you know it? Today, they were on the north, steep side. Alas.

I’ve seen many birding parties around Gloucester the last couple of weeks. We have some really good birds in our area this time of year and after the New Year, the twitchers are starting their year lists and Gloucester is an excellent place with good infrastructure to see some cool things. Some of the “gimmies” are Purple Sandpipers, Common Eiders, Surf Scoter, Black Scoter, White-winged Scoter, Great Cormorant, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Loon and Mute Swan. If you keep your eyes open, you will see Razorbills, Thick-billed Murre, Iceland gulls and Glaucous Gulls. Last year we saw a Bald Eagle fly over Rocky Neck. All of these and more I have seen from the piers and shores of Gloucester.

Today, there were two Black Guillemots on the south side of Dogbar Brakwater, 50 to 75 yards off. These are photos are greatly enlarged, but they will give you enough detail to see what they look like in their winter plumage. Rarely, you will see one in their black breading plumage on Cape Ann.

©2011 ShootingMyUniverse©2011 ShootingMyUniverse

If you’re coming here and you have the intestinal fortitude for it, you can brush up on the local gulls right here on Shooting My Universe.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Every winter I get out to shoot some ducks which for me is a bit of a fools errand. I’m never quite pleased with the results, mostly because of the limitations of the lens. The next step up is quite the investment hence I have to push the envelope of the lens that I have.

One of my favorites is the Gadwall. My copy of The Dictionary of American Bird Names states, “The name Gadwall was formerly Gadel, Gadwall, Gadwale, Gadwell; origin obscure and etymology unknown. Perhaps it is connected with the AS [Anglo Saxon] gad, a point with reference to the fine tooth-like projections on the edges of the bird’s mandible.”  With respect to gad, I think that they were looking at the wrong end of the bird.

©2011 ShootingMyUniverse©2011 ShootingMyUniverse©2011 ShootingMyUniverse

This morning I saw a Thick-billed Murre in “the front yard”. He was swimming from Ten Pound Island towards Stage Fort Park and the Boulevard.

Visit Camera Critters for more from the animal kingdom.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Forgotten Photo Friday, Wine Photography

Did you know that we used to run a wine blog? Yup, I used to shoot the majority of the photos. Was the wine any good? I forgot! You can still read the post.RavinesDryRiesling

I do miss the wine blog. Hmmm, that Prosciutto looks good!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sea Smoke

It was nasty cold Monday morning with temperatures at –5F. This is the coldest that it has been since I returned back to the Atlantic North East. When the temperature drops into the single digits, the sea smoke rises from the surface as a bitter wind from the west wafts the mist easterly.

©2011 ShootingMyUniverse

I had a couple of extra minutes during breakfast to play. Below is a ten second exposure of Ten Pound Island with Dogbar Breakwater in the background.

©2011 ShootingMyUniverse

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lanes Cove

This is Lanes Cove located on the west side of Cape Ann in Gloucester. This  view is due north. You can see that the cove is protected by a sea wall on the left.©2011 ShootingMyUniverse

The sea wall is made from blocks of granite from a nearby quarry. There is a entrance for the boats to enter and leave. As you can see, it does a fairly good job of keeping the Motion of the ocean out, providing safe harbor for the boats moored there. On Sunday, the wind was blowing out of the west, directly towards the storm wall, so a bit of the waves were coming in. No big deal. ©2011 ShootingMyUniverse

However while we were in San Jose Christmas week, there was a bit of a blow. It toppled over part of the sea wall.

©2011 ShootingMyUniverse

Visit Watery Wednesday

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Friday Morning Dory

We got hammered again by 8-10 inches of snow again yesterday. When I was having my breakfast, I heard the familiar “clunk-chunk, clunk-chunk, clunk-chunk” of oars striking the pins of a dory. We shouldn’t forget that the dory was built for working in all kinds of weather. In Gloucester, a common piece of dory gear was a conch shell that could be blown as a signal horn should a dory get lost from the mother ship in heavy weather.

©2011 ShootingMyUniverse

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Forgotten Photo Friday, Cape Elizabeth

This Least Sandpiper was shot on Cape Elizabeth up near Portland, Maine.

©2011 ShootingMyUniverse

Yup, turn around and then you get to shoot a light house.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

Old Friend, Black Phoebe

This is a Black Phoebe, one of my old friends from when I lived in California. This little guy is fairly common in urban areas.  They are found along the very western part of the United States and all through Mexico. This one was shot in San Jose.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Birding Cape Ann

I bump into a lot of birding parties in Gloucester. I’ve bumped into parties from Jesey, Texas, Up-state New York, Down-State New York, and I’m sure there are many, many more. Why?

Because we have the best Herring Gulls on the planet. (Just kidding.)

Herring Gulls are widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere. Gloucester does have a high concentration of gulls. Face it, with the fishing industry here, there are many food sources available year round increasing the survival of not only the adults, but chicks.

This may be interesting, but not the reason why so many people bird Cape Ann, especially in the winter. We have easy access to many nice species that prefer to hang out in the northern coastal regions. Many come for Glaucous and Iceland Gulls, Razor Bills, Thick-billed Murre, Great Cormorants, Dovekies and Purple Sandpipers just to name a few. Just click on Birding Cape Ann to get shots of all the gulls we get around here as well as the other birds I’ve posted.

©2011 ShootingMyUniverse

On the weekend of the 4th of February, will be the Cape Ann Winter Birding Weekend, which was good time last year. This year will not disappoint.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

State Fish Pier

State Fish Pier in Gloucester, Massachusetts as the sun sets. We are looking south-south west. Do you recognize Plan B?

©2011 ShootingMyUniverse

Scenic Sunday

Friday, January 14, 2011

Forgotten Photo Friday, Western Scrub-jay

I shot this Western Scrub Jay a couple of years ago. I remember exactly when I shot it, where I shot it but I’ll be darned that I cannot remember if I ever posted it or not!

©2011 ShootingMyUniverse

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cape Ann Birding Weekend

Cape Ann Winter Birding Weekend is going to be Friday through Sunday, February 4-6, 2011. Dress warm.

©2011 ShootingMyUniverse

Winter Herring Gull. Click the Birding Cape Ann link to get a taste.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Eine Kleine Nachtpost: Thanks!

A little bonus posting tonight just to say, Thanks! I know I have a few folks out there that check in daily, post comments, and actually walk up to me and say, “Are you Steve?” Yes, I bump into followers from time to time out in the field.

I know a lot of you are just stopping by without leaving a trace and that is fine. Many express reactions to the photos. I do read each and every comment that is left. Which ever it is, Thanks! 

©2011 ShootingMyUniverse

Glaucous Gull

Heavy pink bill with black tip, sloping forehead, pink legs, white wings, what else could it be? Shot on State Fish Pier on January 8th, this Glaucous Gull was very cooperative.

Glaucous Gull 1-8-2011 11-08-07 AM

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Phyllis A

Reported to be the oldest fishing boat in Gloucester, I caught up with the gill netter Phyllis A at the Marine Railways on Rocky Neck Saturday. This is a piece of Gloucester history. ©2010 ShootingMyUniverse

©2010 ShootingMyUniverse
Visit Watery Wednesday

Monday, January 10, 2011

#1000. I gotta do more of this.

Can you believe it? This is post number 1000. Now it would be pretty cool to do something like a “best of” post or a “my favorites”, but let’s face it. My best stuff is yet to come. With that in mind, I’ve got to do more of this kind of stuff.

The other night, I watched a documentary about the Presidential Photographers and how much fun it must be to chase the President around and shoot all those important events and people. I actually like shooting candids. Formal portraits, though, are not my bag. But alas, I’ve chosen a different career and quite frankly, I’m happy to shoot what ever is in front of me when the shutter is tripped.

But living in Gloucester, it is easy-peasy. We are lucky to be living in such an interesting area. We have boats, the fishing industry, schooners, all kinds of cool birds, lighthouses and dragons. Who needs politicians? ©2010 ShootingMyUniverse

So how long have you been tagging along?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Half Moon Bay

On our recent trip to California, Becky, Bob and I took a drive over to the coast on the 24th of December. Along the way, we stopped in Half Moon Bay for a bite and a brew. Of course, I had to check out the marina. Hey, where are the working boats?

©2011 ShootingMyUniverse

There they are and it is crab season!

©2011 ShootingMyUniverse

There, that’s better. Now I feel right at home.©2011 ShootingMyUniverse

Now I bust the region’s chops every now and then because I once went to a restaurant and asked what the local catch was, to which I was told, “Alaskan Halibut”. Now Halibut is a darn tasty fish but not exactly from the neighborhood. Looking below is a different story. These bad-boys are as local as it gets just south of San Francisco and they made someone’s Christmas meal a true delight.

©2011 ShootingMyUniverse

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Work’s not done yet.

Just because the boat is tied up and the herring is off-loaded, it doesn’t mean that the work is done.©2010 ShootingMyUniverse©2010 ShootingMyUniverse©2010 ShootingMyUniverse©2010 ShootingMyUniverse©2010 ShootingMyUniverse©2010 ShootingMyUniverse

The crew of the Voyager tends the nets Saturday morning. This work is done bare-handed…year round.

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