Martha’s Vineyard

For the Birds

Today my friend Ali went to cover the Citizen Science day at Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, and posted a photo of a little baby great horned owl on Instagram while she was there. I’ve never seen a baby owl in person before, so as soon as I was finished with my assignment, I zipped over to Felix Neck.

It was definitely worth the trip. The owlet is six weeks old, and going to its foster nest tomorrow. And it is a fierce little fluffball.


The Mass Audobon staff had brought other birds of prey from their education programs as well: a barn owl, which I didn’t see, and a peregrine falcon, which was stunning.


They also brought a screech owl. I went to cover the Christmas Bird Count earlier this year, and when I was out with the birders at 6 a.m. we heard screech owls…but again, I’d never seen one before.

They are tiny.

I’ve been watching the BBC’s Life of Birds on and off for the past month, and while it’s fantastic to watch all of the neat footage they got for the documentaries, it’s another thing to actually see birds of prey like this in person. That was the crux of the Mass Audobon program: bringing the animals, most of which have been hurt and can’t live in the wild anymore, into classrooms so kids can gain a greater sense of the wild world. Pretty cool! I’m so glad I decided to stop by.

Also, here is one more of the great horned owlet. Because it is just too much:

MV at the Garden

The varsity boys’ basketball team made it to the state semifinals for Division 3 this week, so they earned a trip to the TD Garden (home of the Celtics and Bruins) to play last year’s state champs, Danvers. Last Saturday, I went to the section finals at UMass Boston, where the Vineyard defeated perpetual rival Wareham to win the South Section. We decided to try live-tweeting that game, and it worked very well, so my editors decided we’d do it again for states.

I’m usually photographer and reporter for sports coverage, and while tweeting updates in between taking photos is wicked stressful, it was a huge help later when I went back to write everything up. Instant notes!

They played a great game, but the Vineyard lost 50-47, and Danvers is once again in the state finals. The story about the postseason isĀ here.

I wish I could shoot at the Garden all the time; I loved the dark contrast of the massive ceiling, and that bright green floor.


Little Fans

I photographed the 15th Annual Oak Bluffs School Talent Show tonight (well, the second half, at least). It started with a literal bang, as six kids on six drum sets joined their music teacher (on guitar) and friend (on bass) for a wicked awesome run-through of Smoke on the Water, Fire, and Wipeout. I didn’t have a tripod (or knowledge that it was about to happen), or I would have recorded video. So good!

This was my favorite non-performance moment, though. The OB School, like all of the other town schools here, is K-8; there’s no separate middle school. And the little girl was so excited about watching an Eighth Grader (gasp!) perform.


Snow Scenes + Snow Critters

Last year, it snowed exactly once on Martha’s Vineyard.

This year, we’ve had two snows in the past week, with more on the way. In between those two snows, we had a very pleasant and very unseasonal 50-degree day. I don’t know what the heck is going on.


This morning, instead of going to Menemsha, I went to the Farm Institute to continue the ongoing animals in the snow series.


Winter Strings Concert

Usually, when we cover the elementary school orchestra recital (which is always on deadline night), we rush off to the performance for a quick photo and then rush back to the newsroom to get that photo on the front page of the Friday paper. But this time, the editors decided not to overnight the story (hooray for web sites!), and so I stayed for the whole show to create a multimedia gallery and short article.

It was adorable- particularly the youngest group plinking their way through “Hot Cross Buns” (nobody started at the same time, so it was kind of like a round!). The nice thing about these kind of recitals, when all the levels perform on the same night, is that you can see (and hear) the progress of the musicians. It’s a very good testament to the entire strings program here.

(Superstorm) Sandy and Lucy (Vincent)

Jack Lionette, left, and Tristan Scott, both of Chilmark, Mass., dash through piles of foam at Lucy Vincent Beach on October 30, 2012, the day after winds and rain from Hurricane Sandy whipped through Martha’s Vineyard. The storm caused the collapse of the prominent clay cliffs on Lucy Vincent, and washed away the beach’s dunes. School was canceled for two days due to the storm.

I don’t even have any photos of my own showing what Lucy Vincent looked like before Sandy came along; I’ve only been to this beach twice. Suffice to say that the square-shaped dent in the cliffs didn’t exist before. Since school was out for the day, there were a lot of families at the beach checking out the damage for themselves (there were also a lot of photographers). I took Jack’s photo last year when Remy wrote a piece on his dad, who’s the chef at Morning Glory Farm…the Vineyard is so small in the off-season.

Here’s what it looked like on the other side of the cliffs:

And here is a sandpiper who is probably pretty happy about the new tide line: