Header photo courtesy Myer Bornstein


gurnet saquish preservation page The Gurnet Saquish .com Preservation page is designed to educate residents, families and friends about the groups that are most important to the community.   Whereever and whenever possible please volunteer and give to the non profit groups that help make this place possible for all of us to enjoy.  As always, "Connect to Protect."


The Gurnet Saquish Wildlife page is dedicated to the preservation of indigenous species and the monitoring of visiting species.  Gurnet Saquish is a migratory stop for a number of species of marine life and birds.  Rick Bowes is a local birder and an amateur photographer with a tremendous collection of images that capture these creatures in their element.  His reports and many of his images are on this page and throughout the website.  Thank you Rick. 

There are also important local non profits that monitor marine life and the ecosystems that inhabit the wetlands and coastal dunes that make up the Gurnet and Saquish community.


There are several non profit groups dedicated to the preservation and protection of wildlife that we encourage you to support.  They include the Jones River Landing, The Massachusetts Audubon Society, the New England Aquarium, the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Duxbury Beach Reservation, Inc.  The chief concern of all of these groups is the preservation, protection and education surrounding the wildlife, plant life and ecosystems of our planet and the creatures that visit the land and waters around Gurnet and Saquish.  We encourage you to give to these important charitable organizations and to learn as much as you can about them and their efforts.


Norman Smith, Director of the Mass Audubon's Blue Hills Trailside Museum has been managing the Snowy Owl Project for years.  Snowy Owls who migrate south during the winter look for landmasses that resemble the arctic tundra landscapes they call home during warmer weather.  Unfortunately Logan International Airport looks alot like tundra to a Snowy Owl.  So Norman has been capturing and releasing the owls along Duxbury Beach.  The owls love it and we love them.  Owls enjoy eating voles, mice and other rodents who have exploded in population recently.  Once trapped the owls are tagged with transmitters and their migratory patterns are tracked as shown on the Google map at left.  Learn more about the SNOWY OWL PROJECT here.


 Sun. 2/4/12   9:10-11:20am  HiTide: 9:08am (10.3ft); Temp 27F; Sunny; Light NNE breeze; moderate surf; bay choppy but no caps.    Birded entirely from within or essentially next to car.   Highlights: Bald Eagle on Clark's Island, 2 Snowy Owls

On a hunch at the end of a routine down-and-back check of the Beach, I drove to the fork in the Gurnet-Saquish road where I can scan Crescent Beach from the car for shorebirds, falcons, et al.  After doing so, and coming up empty, I scanned the skies to the southwest, and way off saw a few gulls and very big dark bird.  My first thought was Turkey Vulture but quickly realized it was not a TV, and had to be an eagle.   The bird was heading reasonably quickly northward and, hoping that I might be able to intersect its path - or at least get a lot closer - I headed down the road toward Saquish.  No sign of the bird in the air or on the ground, but as I turned to go back, I scanned the trees along the eastern shore of Clark's Island (close to and across a fairly narrow channel from Saquish) and spied a huge dark clump in the trees.  I was sure it was an eagle at that point but the age couldn't be determined because its back was to me and it's tail was obscured and its head was not visible - presumably it was eating something.  Three crows patiently waited, as did I, for some motion.  Eventually one of the crows ventured toward the bird apparently getting too close, and up popped a big white head and back hopped the crow!  I was able to get a distant documentation shot

Eagles are seen from time to time in Plymouth and Kingston year round, but this is my first eagle from the Beach in 2012, and with so little ice this winter I was beginning to think perhaps I'd miss seeing one as in my limited experience they generally show up within view from the Beach only when inland waters are frozen and the Bay shoreline is frozen up as well.

Other sightings from 25 species:

*    Snowy Owl  2     1 on the Gurnet Osprey pole, 1 on the marsh s. of High Pines.
*    Northern Harrier  1     adult  female in dune grass about 200yds south of bridge parking area  (often in that area for the last 2 weeks)
*    Red-tailed Hawk  1     seen flying over the western part of the marsh north of the Bridge


Rick Bowes, Duxbury, MA


Beach info at


Eastern Coyote

Eastern Coyotes are present on Gurnet and Saquish and represent a significant threat to small pets.  They will also seek out uncovered garbage.  Learn more HERE.  Here's a photo of a young coyote pup taken by Rick Bowes. 


There are hundreds of small creatures that peak the interest of children and the children within us.  There were once hundreds of horseshoe crabs and tens of thousands of clams and mussels.  Now due to demand for horseshoe crab blood by the pharmaceutical industry and over farming of shellfish much of those stocks are gone forever.  When you visit here or any beach teach yourself and your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews to respect life and leave these animals in their environment.  If you must collect sand dollars take only one and leave the rest so that your childrens children can enjoy them just as we have. supports efforts to protect aquatic life including those of the Oceanographic Preservation Society and efforts to save large mammals including whales and dolphins.  Learn how you can help HERE.

Fossils of horseshoe crabs have been dated as old as 500 million years and they may in fact be a descendant of the trilobite.  Valued for their blood and their contributions to modern science they have become a threatened yet not classified as endangered species.  Read more about them HERE.


Fish stocks have been seriously depleted in Plymouth and Duxbury Bay as they have been globally.  The local ecosystem has changed dramatically from the bottom of the food chain up with flounder and mackeral once plentiful now scarce.  If you fish please register for your saltwater anglers license and follow regulations and limits to help replenish stocks.  You can learn limits and get your license on the FISHING page.

Atlantic Mackerel (Scomber scombrus)
  • Atlantic mackerel are quite abundant, and overfishing is not occurring.
  • Atlantic mackerel was overfished in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Managers phased out foreign fishing and implemented annual quotas to manage the U.S. fishing fleets. The stock has since rebounded to very healthy levels.
  • Mackerel is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and is an excellent source of selenium, niacin, and vitamins B6 and B12. For more on nutrition, see Nutrition Facts. (USDA)
  • Atlantic mackerel is not highly desired by most American consumers due to its rich flavor and is more popular in foreign countries. Some of the U.S. harvest is sold fresh but most is frozen and exported to markets throughout the world.
Read more from NOAA and the national Marine Fisheries Service

Atlantic Cod (Gadus morhua)
  • Atlantic cod populations are low. Strict measures have been implemented to rebuild the populations. Gulf of Maine cod is now no longer overfished.
  • New measures were recently put in place to end overfishing of and continue to rebuild overfished Northeast groundfish stocks (like cod) and maintain healthy ones.
  • Cod is a good source of low-fat protein, phosphorus, niacin, and vitamin B12. For more on nutrition, see Nutrition Facts. (USDA)
  • 2009 landings of Atlantic cod were up 3% from 2008, reaching 19.7 million pounds with a value of $25.2 million.
Read more from NOAA and the national Marine Fisheries Service

Atlantic Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis)
  • Striped bass, once heavily overfished, are now abundant following the implementation of strict management controls on the commercial and recreational fisheries.
  • U.S. federal waters (beyond 3 miles offshore) remain closed to striped bass fishing. In October 2007, an Executive Order encouraged states, where applicable, to designate striped bass as a "gamefish" and prohibited commercial sale of striped bass caught in federal waters. Striped bass caught in state commercial fisheries or raised through aquaculture operations are still available to U.S. consumers in supermarkets and restaurants.
  • Striped bass is a good source of low-fat protein and selenium. For more on nutrition, see Nutrition Facts. (USDA)
  • Striped bass can be wild-caught or farmed. Wild striped bass, often called striper or rockfish, is caught along the East Coast, mainly in Virginia and Maryland. Most farmed striped bass are actually hybrids, a cross between striped bass and white bass. Both wild caught and farmed striped bass have a slightly sweet flavor.
Read more from NOAA and the National Marine Fisheries Service

Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus thynnus)
  • Atlantic bluefin tuna population levels are low. International overfishing is occurring.
  • Atlantic bluefin tuna is a highly migratory species that requires high levels of international cooperation for effective conservation and management. It is managed both domestically (by NOAA Fisheries Highly Migratory Species Management Division) and internationally (by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas or ICCAT and other organizations).
  • Bluefin is low in sodium and is a very good source of vitamins A, B6, and B12, selenium, niacin, and phosphorous. For more on nutrition, see Nutrition Facts. (USDA)
  • Atlantic bluefin tuna is the highest valued Atlantic tuna species in the market. The United States is responsible for almost 5% of the global Atlantic bluefin tuna catch (2009). Over half of the U.S. commercial catch is exported to foreign markets, primarily Japan. The United States also imports bluefin tuna, mainly from Spain and Canada, among several other countries.
Read more from NOAA and the national Marine Fisheries Service

Summer Flounder (Paralichtys dentatus)
  • The summer flounder stock is rebuilding and is expected to be fully rebuilt by 2013. Harvests are currently sustainable and the stock is no longer considered overfished.
  • Strict management measures, which include seasons, quotas, and size limits, are helping the summer flounder resource to rebuild. Summer flounder is on track to be rebuilt on schedule (by 2013) as long as commercial and recreational harvests continue to not exceed their respective quotas and harvest limits.
  • Flounder is a good, low-fat source of B vitamins and an excellent source of niacin. For more on nutrition, see Nutrition Facts. (USDA)
  • Summer flounder is highly valued commercially for its lean, white meat and light, delicate flavor, but it's also one of the most popular recreational fish on the Atlantic coast.
Read more from NOAA and the National Marine Fisheries Service


We're working on this section to detail the life cycle of clams and other bivalves.  For regulatory information please consult the LICENSES & PERMITS page.

Sea Clams
Softshell clams
A Division of
Sand Dollar Media
Click HERE to sponsor this page