Maine 2014 – Atlantic Puffins!

Atlantic Puffin at Eastern Egg Rock Island, Maine, 8/4/14.
Atlantic Puffin at Eastern Egg Rock Island, Maine, 8/4/14.

First things first, I want to thank Karen Miller for helping out while I was away, she did an awesome job and it is greatly appreciated.

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A foggy, distant look at an Atlantic Puffin at Petit Manan Island NWR, 8/1/14.

So, Tricia and I spent the last two weeks in Maine and while we were there we were scheduled to go to see the Atlantic Puffins on Machias Seal Island. We had reservations for the trip that allowed us onto the island and into blinds for great views of the birds. Unfortunately, this trip was cancelled due to a small craft advisory. Undeterred, we went on two other puffin boating excursions – and BOTH were plagued with heavy fog. On August 1st, we took our first trip, which left from Bar Harbor and went out to the Atlantic Puffin colony at Petit Manan Island National Wildlife Refuge. We did get to see several puffins, but they were relatively distant and the fog was extremely thick. Actually, the fog was so dense that we could barely see the island! Photos were tough and the best birding of the trip came once we left the island and went out to the open seas for the whale watching portion of the outing. Once out of the fog, conditions improved for photos, but the water was pretty rough and the boat was rocking pretty severely the entire trip, which made it a challenge to focus on the birds. I felt like we did pretty well for the day with 15 species, including 3 life birds for me. Here is my list and photos:

WHALE AND PUFFIN WATCHING TOUR – FROM BAR HARBOR MAINE 8/1/14

I have this as a Northern Fulmar, mostly because of the dark smudge around the eye. Whale Watching Tour off of Bar Harbor, 8/1/14.
I have this as a Northern Fulmar, mostly because of the dark smudge around the eye. Whale Watching Tour off of Bar Harbor, 8/1/14.

 

Common Loon
Northern Fulmar (Life Bird)
Great Shearwater (Life Bird)
Wilson’s Storm Petrel
Northern Gannet
Double Crested Cormorant
Red Phalarope
Laughing Gull
Herring Gull
Common Tern
Arctic Tern (Life Bird)
Common Murre
Razorbill
Black Guillemot
Atlantic Puffin

 

A young Northern Gannet on our way out to see the whales. Whale Watching Tour off of Bar Harbor ME, 8/1/14.
A young Northern Gannet on our way out to see the whales. Whale Watching Tour off of Bar Harbor ME, 8/1/14.
I was really pleased to get a shot of a Wilson's Storm-Petrel. We saw many while we were out but they were typically distant and they move very quickly along the water. Whale Watching Tour off of Bar Harbor ME, 8/1/14.
I was really pleased to get a shot of a Wilson’s Storm-Petrel. We saw many while we were out but they were typically distant and they move very quickly along the water. Whale Watching Tour off of Bar Harbor ME, 8/1/14.
We also had many Great Shearwaters. Whale Watching Tour off of Bar Harbor ME, 8/1/14.
We also had many Great Shearwaters. Whale Watching Tour off of Bar Harbor ME, 8/1/14.
A close up look at one of the Great Shearwaters,Whale Watching Tour off of Bar Harbor ME, 8/1/14.
A close up look at one of the Great Shearwaters, Whale Watching Tour off of Bar Harbor ME, 8/1/14.
Likely my favorite bird of the entire trip to Maine, one of about a dozen Red Phalaropes, Whale Watching Tour off of Bar Harbor ME, 8/1/14.
Likely my favorite bird of the entire trip to Maine, one of about a dozen Red Phalaropes, Whale Watching Tour off of Bar Harbor ME, 8/1/14.
One more Red Phalarope,Whale Watching Tour off of Bar Harbor ME, 8/1/14.
One more Red Phalarope,Whale Watching Tour off of Bar Harbor ME, 8/1/14.

We also did well with the whales, seeing several of both Humpback and Finback whales.

Humpback Whale, diving deep. Whale Watching Tour off of Bar Harbor ME, 8/1/14.
Humpback Whale, diving deep. Whale Watching Tour off of Bar Harbor ME, 8/1/14.
And here's the postcard shot. Humpback Whale, Whale Watching Tour off of Bar Harbor ME, 8/1/14.
And here’s the postcard shot. Humpback Whale, Whale Watching Tour off of Bar Harbor ME, 8/1/14.

TRIP #2

PUFFIN WATCH FROM NEW HARBOR TO EASTERN EGG ROCK ISLAND, 8/4/14

A pair of Atlantic Puffins, Eastern Egg Rock Island ME, 8/4/14.
A pair of Atlantic Puffins, Eastern Egg Rock Island ME, 8/4/14.

Our second boating trip for puffins left from New Harbor and went out to Eastern Egg Rock Island. This is the southernmost nesting island for Atlantic Puffins. It was a gorgeous sunny day as we arrived and boarded the boat. As we waited for the departure, the weather began to change quickly, with a drop in the temperatures and a distant fog rolling in. By the time we reached Eastern Egg Rock, it was quite foggy, but not as foggy as when we were at Petit Manan Island NWR. Additionally, the boat was much smaller, which I believe allowed us to get much closer to the island and therefore the birds. I was much happier with my puffin photos, and I felt like we did pretty well again, with 12 species including 2 life birds for me. Here’s my list and photos:

Common Loon
Wilson’s Storm Petrel
Northern Gannet
Double Crested Cormorant
Parasitic Jaeger (Life Bird)
Laughing Gull
Herring Gull
Common Tern
Arctic Tern
Roseate Tern (Life Bird)
Black Guillemot
Atlantic Puffin

On our way out to the island, we had a pair of Parasitic Jaegers chasing a Tern, presumably trying to steal a meal. I wish I had done better with photos, but at least this shot shows the diagnostic pointed feather at the center of the tail. Puffin Watch, New Harbor to Eastern Egg Rock ME,  8/4/14.
On our way out to the island, we had a pair of Parasitic Jaegers chasing a Tern, presumably trying to steal a meal. I wish I had done better with photos, but at least this shot shows the diagnostic pointed feather at the center of the tail. Puffin Watch, New Harbor to Eastern Egg Rock ME, 8/4/14.
Black Guillemot in flight. I got some good close-ups of  BLGUs at other locations in Maine that I will be posting shortly. Puffin Watch, New Harbor to Eastern Egg Rock ME,  8/4/14.
Black Guillemot in flight. I got some good close-ups of BLGUs at other locations in Maine that I will be posting shortly. Puffin Watch, New Harbor to Eastern Egg Rock ME, 8/4/14.
I think this is a young Roseate Tern based on the bill being primarily black. We had several ROTEs on this trip, which were identified by sight and call by the Audubon Naturalist that guided the tour. This particular bird was not identified, but I am thinking ROTE. Puffin Watch, New Harbor to Eastern Egg Rock ME,  8/4/14.
I think this is likely a Common Tern. We had all three expected terns on this trip (Common, Arctic, and Roseate), which were identified by the Audubon Naturalist that guided the tour. This particular bird was not identified, but I am thinking maybe a young COTE. Puffin Watch, New Harbor to Eastern Egg Rock ME, 8/4/14.
Atlantic Puffin, Eastern Egg Rock Island ME, 8/4/14.
Atlantic Puffin, Eastern Egg Rock Island ME, 8/4/14.
A more foggy look at an Atlantic Puffin, Eastern Egg Rock Island ME, 8/4/14.
A more foggy look at an Atlantic Puffin, Eastern Egg Rock Island ME, 8/4/14.
The puffins were tough to catch in flight, and this is my best effort. Puffin Watch, New Harbor to Eastern Egg Rock ME,  8/4/14.
The puffins were tough to catch in flight, and this is my best effort. Puffin Watch, New Harbor to Eastern Egg Rock ME, 8/4/14.

 

8 thoughts on “Maine 2014 – Atlantic Puffins!”

  1. Matt,
    You’re back…..been waiting for shots of birds I don’t get to see. Great job. I hope you and Tricia had a super wonderful time and wedding!!

    The birds look great even through the fog.

    Wilma

  2. Great shots, Matt. You got some really different birds from what I’ve been seeing, as it should be. I like your first whale tail shot … I think it’s all the splashing that I’m attracted to. I want to compare my Tufted Puffin shots to your Atlantic Puffins and see how different they are, or how similar. Welcome home to you and Tricia!

    1. I like the first whale shot too – I love the way the water looks. Thanks, it actually feels really good to be home. See you soon, I hope! Matt

  3. Glad you both had such a nice trip and that you got to see so many gorgeous birds. Get any shots of the arctic or roseate terns? Best wishes & many years of happiness to you both!

    1. Thanks so much Marianne. I have some shots of Arctic Terns for sure that are okay for IDing them but not good photos. I think I missed out on the Roseates though, which bums me out. Matt

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