Machias Seal Island, Maine.

Maine is over.  I survived ten days of birding and raging and birding some more with three of my favorite bird nerd bros, Seagull Steve, Natey, and Dipper Dan.  Since it's still debatable whether my photos from the first four days will ever be extracted from my SD card, I'm diving right into the middle of the trip to our boat trip to Machias Seal Island.  We took a boat led by Captain Andy and his equally chatty first mate (or whatever) Tyler from the town of Cutler. 

Great Black-backed Gull & Common Eider in the harbor

It was a short 9 mile ride out to the island and as we approached the birds started appearing through the fog...

First puffins!  The only group lifer of the trip.

Some days the water is too rough to land at the island but we lucked out.  The fog cleared and we were able to get ridiculously up close and personal with the resident seabirds.

Arctic Terns 

Upon landing we were led along a boardwalk to a sort of human holding pen, before being led to bird blinds in the thick of the seabird action. 

View through the blind

Before this trip I had only seen Razorbills at a great distance.  They are way sexier than I had realized.

 True bros:  Razorbills and puffins

 The puffins were so damn close that we all ended up with way too many photos of them.  I will do my best to edit here.


Emerging from its burrow

And of course, a video or two...

Kind of a crazy experience.  After everyone got to spend some time in the bird blinds we got back on the boat to check out some seals and murres.  And by "check out" I mean "totally harrass" unfortunately.  Captain Andy did not seem phased by the fact that he was causing all the birds and seals to flush from the rocks, and even continued to get closer as they did so.

There were many bridled Common Murres in the mix, meaning they have a white eye ring and line extending from behind their eye.  Here's a bad photo:

And a few of the seals that did not flee:

Much much more from Maine to come.  Get ready.  Good times!


  1. I always hope that blog silence means UNEXPECTEDLY AWESOME POST ON ITS WAY. I was not disappointed.

  2. Wow, you were, downeast as they say, in Cutler! Sailed the Maine coast as a youngster, Cutler was my favorite harbor, and Machias Seal my favorite island. Bit simpler back in the day, do not recall the blinds but we were also careful not to pick on all the birds and seals. I recall my great uncle had friends in Cutler that always had wonderful blueberry muffins for us. Crazy tides up there. Damn, that is fantastic. No Great Shearwaters? Fog or a bit early I suppose.

    1. Downeast indeed. Unfortunately no shearwaters, but the alcids were entertaining enough. Had no idea you were a Mainer.

  3. For some reason, I never took a picture of a Guh-bubba-guh. Too busy browning around, I guess.

    Hope you can get the SD card working.

    1. Initial attempts failed, but still trying.

    2. OH hope you get it to work Some of my cards will open on the slot of my laptop others I use an SD reader via the flash drive...

  4.'s so nice to see those various paris of bird buddies, and likewise a nice, puckered Puffin anus. Lifer anus!

    This is off the chain, dunno if I can come back to your blog for a while.

    1. Glad you liked the anus, Laurence, I had always suspected as much...

    2. Damn, totally set myself up for that one. How dare you presuppose in a humorous way that my sexual orientation is other than it happens to be!

  5. Poopin Puffin. I would have been disappointed if you hadn't captured that! :) All the birds are so vibrant and the sunshine sure made it nice. Looking forward to more posts.

    1. This post would have been terrible without that pooper.

  6. I am very much a novice birder, and in fact, that's likely the first time I called myself one publicly. I am armed only with an iPhone and terrible binoculars, so I can hardly be taken seriously at this point, but I do love me those feathered little beauties. Between reading yours and Seagull Steve's blogs, I feel like I've made new friends. I currently have no one to send pics, asking ""what do you think that is?" Do you do that? Anyway, thanks for the great bird content! I think I need a real camera.

  7. My wife and I had our honeymoon in Maine, but that was back when I was on the "birdwatcher" end of the birding spectrum, so puffins are still very much coveted by me. I hope you get your camera card working, because I want to see more! You are winning the blogging contest at the moment.

  8. this may be a dup....I hit publish but don't see it...
    I said Love those shots of the razor bills and the puffins, So happy I didnt miss this post.


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