Sunday, July 20, 2014

July 20: Puffin Quest

Went Down East to join a bunch of birder friends on Andy Patterson's charter boat out of Cutler to Machias Seal Island, in search of a Tufted Puffin that has been seen there sporadically over the past few weeks.

What's the big deal? Well, the Tufted Puffin is a bird of the Pacific Ocean; only three or four have been observed in the Atlantic, ever. This one's been hanging out around this amazing seabird nesting island--a disputed US/Canadian territory--along with thousands of its alcid relatives: Atlantic Puffins, Razorbills, and Common Murres.

Fourteen birds looking for one bird among thousands, but the seas were calm and skies clear, making it a perfect afternoon to linger offshore and scan for hours from the gently rocking boat. If the Tufted Puffin had been there, we'd have found it. And we had such an awesome time trying that we didn't mind that it wasn't there. As they often say, in the end it was all about the quest, all about the calm and beauty we found on the way.

Machias Seal Island Light 
Atlantic Puffins and one Common Murre
Alcids offshore
A strange sea lullaby--
lapping of waves on island,
seabirds' mews and groans.

1 comment:

  1. I learn so much about birds from you. It's too bad you didn't find your elusive Pacific puffin but I quite like our natives.