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The Atlantic Puffin on Machias Seal Island, Pt II #35382
06/07/11 12:48 AM
06/07/11 12:48 AM
Joined: Feb 2005
Manhattan, New York, New York
James Morrissey Offline OP
I
James Morrissey  Offline OP
I
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Feb 2005
Manhattan, New York, New York
This is Part II of our series from last year. We thought it was important to re-publish these articles ahead of others in queue because it is now 'prime puffin season.' We hope that people will find the articles useful. Chanthee and I hope to return to Machias Seal Island in late July to make a second attempt at photographing these remarkable birds.


Atlantic Puffin with Fish and Shrimp



Re: The Atlantic Puffin on Machias Seal Island, Pt II [Re: James Morrissey] #35383
06/07/11 12:49 AM
06/07/11 12:49 AM
Joined: Feb 2005
Manhattan, New York, New York
James Morrissey Offline OP
I
James Morrissey  Offline OP
I
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Feb 2005
Manhattan, New York, New York
Puffin Viewing on Machias Seal Island off the Coast of Maine
The Atlantic Puffin on Machias Seal Island: Part 2 by Chanthee Keokhaw
Edited by James Morrissey

We are trying to develop a community where photographers can come and discuss nature, wildlife and pet photography related matters. We encourage you to enter the forums to discuss this article as well as to share your own photographs and experiences in our forums here at NWP.

It is our second trip together to Machias Seal Island to see the Puffins. The last time we went to see them was during the mating season. We timed our second trip to be in Mid-July so that we would be there during hatching season. We were also celebrating our respective birthdays. Our goal was to see the busy parents fishing for their Pufflings. Although we were not expecting to see the hatchlings, as they were still hidden in their burrows, we were hoping to see adult Puffins with fish in their mouths for their offspring.

We arrived into Bar Harbor and as usual it was raining. We stayed at Bar Harbor Campground which is the closest private campground to Acadia National Park. The people running it were very nice. They had bathrooms, showers, and laundry facilities. We definitely prefer it over other campgrounds that we had stayed in the past. We pitched our tent before dark this time which was a miracle for us but of course it was raining. It always rains when we are pitching our tent…no exception.

To see more photos of puffins, please make sure to check out our photo album on Facebook.


Atlantic Puffin

The boat went off without a hitch at about 6:30 AM. This time I was not sea sick...thank you Dramamine and pressure bands! The Skipper seemed a bit more relaxed too as I did not look as though I was ready to hurl breakfast on him like my previous trip. On our way over we saw some Porpoises or Dolphins (I could not tell as they were not very close). We landed on the Island two and a half hours later and were greeted by the usual Canadian inhabitants...researchers and light house / puffin guardian. The researchers were there to learn about the Puffins and the other migratory seabirds. One thing that they do was monitor the stress levels of the Puffins. Fortunately, visitors are limited and the inhabitants are there to make sure that we can continue to view them without abusing our stay. We were given a visitors form to sign our names and indicate which State we came from.


Razor Bills

James and I were taken to the South box for our Puffin viewing. We shared it with a couple from Vermont. There were not as many Puffins as our earlier trip, however, there were certainly plenty of them. There appeared to be more Razor Bills and another type of black auk than there had been on the prior trip. They all seemed to share the space on the rocks without conflict: standing, jumping, walking and flying among each other. You can hear them noisily talking with one another. The air was ripe with that fresh seaweed and fish market smell. How delightful:).


Atlantic Puffin


Atlantic Puffin

We had our cameras ready and waited with patience to see what we came to see...Puffins with fish hanging from their beaks. When we finally saw one it was a thrill. We saw them with fish, shrimp, and someone even saw them with squid. They were amazing fishers. They can dive up to 70 m (200 ft). They are able to hold multiple fish in their mouths at once. They accomplish this by using their tongues to hold the fish against spines in their palate, leaving their beaks free to open and catch more fish. The fish are usually lined up in their bills with the heads facing alternate ways. Unfortunately, we were not able to photograph all that we saw with fish as they move very fast into their underground / under rock burrows. You need to be quick on the draw in order to get the birds as they land on the rocks with their payload. If you don't get them immediately, you get nothing. Fortunately, we had more than one opportunity to see the birds with fish as we were in our boxes for over an hour. That was indeed a treat.


Atlantic Puffin with Fish and Shrimp


Atlantic Puffin with Fish


Atlantic Puffin with Fish and Shrimp

It was a fun and successful trip for us and a great ending to a birthday celebration. Puffins are extremely cute creatures, another example of the great diversity of life and we hope to see them again in coming years. We hope that you enjoy the images that we have brought back to share with all. Please don't hesitate to post your questions or comments and we will be glad to answer them.

Can't get enough puffins? We have several more posted at the NWP Fan page on Facebook.


Atlantic Puffin with Fish


Atlantic Puffin with Fish and Shrimp

Editor's Note:

Just a friendly reminder that the text and images shared within this article is copyright 2010 and the property of James Morrissey, Chanthee Keokhaw and
The Nature, Wildlife and Pet Photography Forum. Neither the text nor photographic images may be re-distributed without explicit written permission.

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_Puffin

Re: The Atlantic Puffin on Machias Seal Island, Pt II [Re: James Morrissey] #35481
06/14/11 05:22 PM
06/14/11 05:22 PM
Joined: Feb 2005
Manhattan, New York, New York
James Morrissey Offline OP
I
James Morrissey  Offline OP
I
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Feb 2005
Manhattan, New York, New York
Please note that Nortons of Joneort is no longer performing puffin tours.


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