Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Winter Visitors to the Beach

I was walking towards to the spur jetty on Sunday February 4 when I spotted some movement on the sand near the rocks. It took a  moment to realize a seal had come ashore to rest. Its sandy colored fur made it blend in exceptionally well. I kept a respectful distance took a few photos with a long zoom lens. About an hour later the seal was disturbed by an off leash dog the owner couldn't control, the seal made an escape to the ocean.

Can you spot the seal?

The seal was very alert and on the lookout for danger

These small wading birds (Sanderlings) can be spotted feeding along Salisbury Beach with some frequency. With patience you can slowly work your way close enough for photographs.  Although they move very quickly, so, using your camera's "sports" setting is recommended.

There was a heavy overcast that day so the photos are on the grayish side.

Of course the Snowy Owls have been making an appearance at Salisbury Beach State Reservation this winter.

With any wildlife photography, it is important to make sure you don't disturb the bird or animal by keeping your distance. If the bird looks upset, bothered, or uncomfortable with your presence than you are too close.


Friday, November 3, 2017

Coast Guard Training at the Mouth of the Merrimac River in High Seas

September 21, 2017 - I had gone out to see the rough seas kicked up by one this fall's hurricanes moved offshore. I was near the jetty and spotted one of the Coast Guard boats heading towards the mouth of the Merrimac on what turned out to a training exercise.Here are a couple of still shots taken from the video I did. Video is at the bottom.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Plum Island Lighthouse

The Friends of Newburyport Lighthouse open the lighthouse up for tours on a number of Sunday afternoons during the summer. (Check the local newspaper for open house announcements). The tours are free. There is free parking. Donations are welcomed. It offers some nice views of the mouth of the Merrimack River, Plum Island, and Newburyport Harbor.

The current 45 foot tall round lighthouse was built in 1898. The first pair of lighthouses on northern end of Island were built 1787. A detailed history can be found at Newburyport Harbor (Plum Island) Lighthouse.

Looking down the circular staircase inside the lighthouse

Detailed look at the lighthouse's wall construction. note how the boards are set an angle. It provides additional strength to the structure to withstand the ocean's gales.

North Jetty and Salisbury Beach State Reservation with many beach goers on this warm day.

Some fishermen on the North Jetty

Busy boat traffic in the river

View of the South Jetty

Ominous storm clouds gather along the river


 Storm clouds reflected in glass windows of the lighthouse

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Gray Seal Pup on Beach

The stormy weather the first week of June forced a fourth month old gray seal pup to come ashore on the beach to wait out the rough seas. The day after the storm the seal was still on the beach. Strong rip currents made it too difficult to return to the open ocean waters. A wildlife monitor was on hand to answer questions and keep people a safe distance from the seal. While I was there the seal spent most of its time sleeping.


Track left by the seal crawling up the beach

Waiting out the rough seas

Taking a snooze

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Schooners Alabama & Adventure

The Custom House Maritime Museum arranged to have two New England based schooners dock at Newburyport for the Memorial Day weekend.They were scheduled to arrive the Wednesday before the weekend on the morning hightide which was around 11am. I arrived around 10:20am at the north end of Plum Island to find the Alabama passing between the jetties. I got a few a few photos before it headed into the harbor. I wasn't the only one confused over the schedule. A number of other spectator arrived at the mouth of the Merrimack River anticipating a 11am arrival. (In the future, event organizers might want to distinguish between arrival time at the mouth and arrival at the dock). The Alabama was followed about 10 minutes later by the Adventure.

Video showing the two schooners traveling up the Merrimack River past local landmarks like Butler's Toothpick, the jetties, Salisbury Beach State Reservation, to downtown Newburyport.

The Alabama hails from Vineyard Haven (Martha's vineyard). She was original built 1926 as a pilot boat to be used in mobile, Alabama. today she is used for day sail programs and a sailing school. For more information: theblackdogtallships.com

The Alabama passing by Salisbury Beach State Reservation.

Alabama heading up the Merrimack River towards Newburyport

The Adventure is a 122 foot long schooner built in Essex, MA in 1926. She was originally built for the New England fishing industry. Currently based out of Gloucester, MA she is used for education purposes. For further information schooner-adventure.org/ 

The Adventure on the ocean side of the south jetty on Plum Island.

Entering the channel between the jetties.

Passing by the North Jetty.

 Arriving at the docks in downtown Newburyport.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Winter Storm Damage

Low tide afforded us the opportunity to inspect the damage the winter storms did to the jetty. The damage was most evident on the small spur jetty. Quite a few blocks of stone were tumbled off the top towards the beach side. It gives you an idea of the power of the ocean. These photos were taken April 9, 2017

The red lines indicated the damaged top section of spur jetty.

The stone knocked off the top tumbled down to the beach side.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Plum Island Shipwreck

We were walking the beach on the Parker River Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island on Sunday March 26. About 2/3 of mile south of parking lot #3 beach access, at low tide, we saw the remnants of a shipwreck poking up through the sand. [Note: The refuge beach closes April 1st for the Piping Plovers]

Victor Mastrone, Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources,
 identified it as likely the wreck of  the Schooner Ingomar. The schooner built in 1904 went aground in 1936. (Shipwrecks are protected archaeological sites. Please do not dig or remove any artifacts).

According to an article in the Boston Herald (February 19, 1936):

“The Ingomar crashed ashore on Plum Island during the night. Her hull was split and it was believed she would break up within a week. When Capt. John Atwood saw the vessel’s plight, he order the men to take to the dories, and night got off safely. Henry White and John Whalen were unable to lower a boat and took to the rigging. They were taken off after a weary vigil by a crew from Knobbs Beach coast guard station on Plum Island.”

 Boston Herald February 19, 1936 

Boston Herald March 1, 1936

 Evening Star (Washington, D.C.) February 23, 1936