Category Archives: photography

Puffin Photo Adventure!

Atlantic Puffin

Atlantic Puffin

 

Ten miles southeast of the quaint town of Cutler, Maine, lies a true gem for birders and photographers. Machias Seal Island spans a mere twenty acres, but during the summer months, the rocky shores host thousands of breeding seabirds. Most notable among them is the Atlantic Puffin.

 

Atlantic Puffin

Atlantic Puffin

 

The island is contested, claimed by both the United States and Canada, and is only accessible by tour boat. Only one company from each country is permitted to access the island each day, with only fifteen passengers at a time. Twice in early August, I was fortunate enough to take that trip.

 

Atlantic Puffin

Atlantic Puffin

 

I boarded the “Barbara Frost” with the help of Captain Andy Patterson and deck hand Tyler Warner. Owner of Bold Coast Tours, Captain Andy is both knowledgeable and kind, providing information on both the history of the island and the birds that inhabit it. During the breeding season, it isn’t hard to see how much he cares for the birds and other wildlife that lives around him.

 

Atlantic Puffin

Atlantic Puffin

 

Greg Miller of “The Big Year” movie fame (as portrayed by Jack Black), led a trip to Machias Seal in early June, and Wildside will be returning to the island in 2017! Chartering a trip to the island with Captain Andy runs a very affordable $130 for the day, which includes a few hours on the island, with opportunities to be feet away from the Puffins in wooden blinds! Fair warning though, landing on the island is not guaranteed. Inclimate weather and rough waters could hinder a landing, but have no fear, you will still have fantastic looks at these birds from the boat!

 

Atlantic Puffin

Atlantic Puffin

 

Also present on the island are Razorbills.

 

Razorbill

Razorbill

 

Can’t forget the Common Murre!

 

Common Murre

Common Murre

 

The bottom line is this folks… I can’t recommend this visit enough. It’s the trip of a lifetime for any birder! So if you are already planning to be in Maine, don’t hesitate to contact Bold Coast, however, if you want a well-rounded guided tour that includes many Maine breeders, including Bicknell’s Thrush and Black-backed Woodpecker, check out Wildside’s BIG YEAR TOUR: Maine’s Mountains and Coast!

-Justin

Thin as a Rail

  I have recently been watching a few Sora delicately picking off small invertebrates from cattail stalks along the edge of the freshwater impoundment at my regular birding site, John Heinz NWR in Philadelphia. Sora, along with American Coot, Common Gallinule and Virginia Rail to name but a few, belong the rail family. While cootsContinue Reading

Peacock Pride

  Most people recognize the long iridescent plumes and stunning fanned tail of a peacock, though few may know the species name, Indian Peafowl. The aptly-designated national bird is a common sight on our India trips, and always a crowd-pleaser. This large, stately bird is a terrestrial feeder, inhabiting deciduous forests. It’s a pleasure toContinue Reading

SPOTLIGHT: Blue-crowned Motmot by any other name…

  During my first visit to Central America, in 1993, I was introduced to the Blue-crowned Motmot (Momotus momota). WOW! What an fascinating bird… it’s long, racquet-like tail twitching from side to side like a clock, the bright, iridescent blue crown (hence the name), the serrated edge of the upper bill, the black mask andContinue Reading

Galapagos Islands July 2013 – Mosquera Island

  On arrival day in the Galapagos there we still have a few hours to enjoy our first landing on the islands. This trip, Mosquera Island (between Baltra and North Seymore) offered a great opportunity to get the cameras out and get to work on learning how to best photograph on the beaches and lavaContinue Reading

Grand Tetons Spring 2012: Day 4

Arrowleaf Balsamroot Cold. Freezing. Windy. Not a great day to get out and photograph, but we did! Frost covered some areas and snowflakes fell from time to time. We found a couple fields of wildflowers, but the breeze and cloudy, low-light conditions made photographing them difficult! Using small aspen groves as wind-breaks helped, but still,Continue Reading

Grand Tetons Spring 2012: Day 3

Moose! Today we found a cooperative moose that led us to other wildlife in the area. Mountain Bluebird (female) trying to get a long stick in a small hole.  First we found a pair of Mountain Bluebirds building a nest in a real tree cavity, not a nesting box! Mountain Bluebird (male) Mountain Bluebird (male)Continue Reading

Grand Tetons Spring 2012: Day 2 (evening)

Floatin’ down the Snake River A float trip down the Snake River is a must when visiting Jackson Hole. The water level was a bit higher than usual, so getting great wildlife images was a definite challenge! So why not try some adventure photography… documenting the trip itself. Stunning scenery zips past as we float…Continue Reading

Grand Tetons Spring 2012: Day 2 (morning)

The morning light on day 2 was wonderful… getting to our first location was easy, and then we just needed to wait until the light was right to begin shooting. The Barrow’s Goldeneye was in our scene the whole time, but only began to show signs of life as the sun peeked over the hillsContinue Reading

Grand Tetons Spring 2012: Day 1 (evening)

Bufflehead female in the Snake River After a late morning brunch we returned to our lodge to download the morning’s images. We had some siesta time before a late afternoon departure when we picked up some sandwiches from the local deli and headed out to a quiet spot along the Snake River. Along the farContinue Reading