Monday, July 11, 2011

Machais Seal Island-Auks

Its been a month since I last posted.  I was busy on a downer after the lackluster migration this year.  Just seemed like the birds flew right over Massachusetts for their breeding grounds.  I outsmarted them though.  This past week I went to their breeding grounds an wow....what a show.  I'll have a few posts out of this vacation. 

The first post is from Machais Seal Island.  MSI is a rock outcrop in the middle of the Bay of Fundy.  There are no trees and very little vegetation only grass and wild flowers.   Island ownership is disputed by the US and Canada, but the Canadian Coast Guard maintain the lighthouse and buildings. 

I took a guided tour out of Cutler, ME.  Its a tiny little fishing harbor along the northeast coast of Maine.  I stayed the night before in a town called Lubec, ME.  I took a wrong turn and found myself facing the US/Canadian border.

The coast is absolutely beautiful in northern Maine.  High cliffs and huge tides up to 16 feet along Cutler coast.  Further up the bay into Canada and the tides are the largest in the world reaching 50 feet during the ebb and flow tides.  One birding challenge is that the cold waters and warm air result in fog.  The day of my birding trip to MSI was no different.  The fog was pea soup thick until we got to within a mile of the island and the sky turned blue.  Yahoo!!  God must be a birder.

Quoddy State Park, Lubec, ME

Quoddy State Park, Lubec, ME

Machias Seal Island
(desolate-a few building and 1000s of birds)

Puffin (poor little guy is yawning)

Puffin on approach.

( guts)

(I'm the king of the mountain...can't touch me...da...dadada...dada..dada....
Hammer Time!)

this bird was being grumpy.  hence the scowl
even birds get bitchy.

Common Murre
(notice the eye-ring bridle on the left bird. 
Bridles are more common in northern birds, but they don't occur in every bird.
In fact, a bird with no bridle is more common.   
Sorry my southern friends.  We're special.)

Many more pictures to come.  Please stay tuned and comment as well.     


forestal said...

Great post Tucker - looks like a fantastic trip.


Hilke Breder said...

Magnificent photos, Tucker. Love puffins, the razorbill and the murres. That's one place I'd like to be right now as the day is starting with 80+ degree and high humidity. Looking at your landscape shots I can feel the sea breeze...!

Jen said...

Beautiful shots! Looks like you got super close to some amazing birds... I've only seen a murre that clearly at the aquarium. Thanks for sharing, look forward to more!

Andy said...

One of my future destinations. Great photos.

Nature Goddess said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nature Goddess said...

Wow...Wow...Wow! Perfection bro! Looks like another fabulous trip! How about a Guiness and some details! Looking forward to it! Barred Owl and flying squirrel in my backyard. Come and have some fun!

dAwN said...

We were in Maine this summer, but didnt have the time to go to Machais..bummer.. Awesome photos and birds!