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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Back to Machias Seal Island

Some of the only virgin forest left in Maine is on its islands
Before I arrived in Maine, I already knew one just can't get enough Puffin watching, and also you never know if the weather will cancel out a voyage, so I signed up for two trips to Machias Seal Island. So Sunday I was back on the beautiful blue waters of Fundy Bay, headed for another bout of sea bird viewing.

Shortly after landing on the island - the boat
we arrived in, Barbara Frost, is off shore
No two days on the ocean are alike, and today was no exception. It was beautiful and sunny and apparently the fishing was great so most of the Atlantic Puffins were out fishing. It was strange to see the Seal Island rocks, that two days ago were covered over with Puffins, were now nearly devoid of the little birds. There were plenty of Razorbills and a scattering of Common Murres that I guess weren't up for fishing today.

Razorbills lining the rocky coastline - Puffins were out fishing
It's a GOOD day to be a Razorbill!
Nice profile, eh?
Cocoa-tinted Common Murre
I chose I different blind than the one I was in on Friday. This time I was closer to the place ramp where we got on the island. Loads of Razorbills and some Murres were on the rocks, Enjoyed my hour watching the Razorbills march around and make their weird noises. Oh, and the smell! I don't think I mentioned the smell - it's sort of a fishy odor. I think the odor is seabird poop.

When our hour was up in the blinds, one of the researchers came to fetch us and another group of people went back out to sit in the blinds. Meanwhile, back on the lighthouse patio, everyone watched and birded. Little Savannah Sparrows, the same kind we have back in California though slightly different in color, marched around our legs. We saw several nice warblers in the grass not far from the lighthouse.

For me the best warbler was a male Blackpoll. I was thrilled to get photos of it. Blackpolls are an eastern species so I don't see them normally. There was also a little Yellow Warbler, a species that can be found nationwide. 

Blackpoll Warber
Little Yellow Warbler
As on Friday, after our adventures on Machias Seal Island, Captain Andy took us on a little tour around the island. Got some good shots of Gray Seals (lifer Mammal!) and a Harbor Seal, that had a cute little pup by her side.

Back on shore, I headed back to Cutler in time for a homemade dinner at the Cobscook Community Learning Center, the Headquarters for the festival. All the food was from the local farms and prepared by volunteers. All the festival participants, leaders and crew were there for a big ole Down East Feast. I sat with a nice couple and we laughed our heads off telling each other our 'the mosquitos were so bad...' stories.  Oh, and I had the seafood pie and cobbler ala mode, which was all quite yummy.

In the early evening around twilight, I just north of Machias and was passing a small meadow I saw the past couple of evenings. As on the other evenings, White-tailed Deer were browsing. The deer, all does, looked shaggy as though they had left home without any grooming. I pulled over, parked and spent a good half hour with the little sisterhood of deer.
The entire herd

Each needed a good session with a curry comb
This bossy doe meted out instructions to the others as needed

'Oh yeah? You're not the boss of me!', That's what I shudda said.

Here are my video takes for the day's pelagic trip. You can clearly hear the noisy shuffling around of myself and the other two in the bird blind. They didn't know I was filming anything. Oh well! The birds undoubtedly heard us, but were weren't spooked our noise.

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