We went on a day trip to Seal Machias Island, a tiny islet southwest of Grand Manan which is disputed between the US and Canada. It is administered, in a way, by Canada since they have two or three people living there year round to operate the light house (last manned one on the eastern seaboard) and to ostensibly prevent the Yanks from coming in and setting up camp. The island is also home to thousands upon thousands of Puffins (largest in the Gulf of Maine), Razorbills, and Murres all congregating around this tiny rock like northern penguins, only capable of flight. I did not have a telephoto lens with me at the time, so a lot of my pics are from a distance but I am including one or two from my friend Jackson (http://jacksonblochkentisland.wordpress.com) who had a zoom lens at the time. As a final bonus, we saw an extremely rare accidental species from the Pacific, the Tufted Puffin. It hasn't been seen in the Atlantic since 1830, which has attracted an immigration en masse to Grand Manan to seek it out (apparently news travels among birding circles faster than CNN breaks stories) However, the magnitude of the task of finding a single, slightly larger puffin with a black breast and yellow hair tufts really dawned on me when we got to Seal Machias. But the unwavering eye of one of our birder Kent Islanders found the one puffin amidst thousands.
|View from same Western ledge. Gannet rock lighthouse out in the distance (about 2-3 nautical miles away)|
|Gannet rock close up. Note the giant storm wall in front of the light-keepers house, to prevent massive storm surf from destroying the buildings.|
|An assortment of Murres (narrow-billed) and Razorbills (thick bills with white stripe) on Machias Seal. It's fascinating how they all sit with one another in complete harmony (in contrast the anarchic cacophony of a gull colony).|
|A flotilla of razorbills|
|Only decent photo of puffins I could take.|
|When in flight, puffins splay their red feet out behind them, making them look completely ridiculous.|
|The rare, Pacific Tufted Puffin taking off to the left. Photo by Jackson Bloch.|