Archive for October, 2016

It’s been several years since I took the boat trip out to Machias Seal Island to photograph the Atlantic Puffins. My friend and talented photographer, Harry Collins, was heading out so I decided to join him. It’s a one hour ride on a fishing boat off the coast of Cutler, Maine. Normally, you have 60-90 minutes in one of the several blinds on the island. There is a limit of 15 visitors at a time on the island, the puffins are protected. The first half hour there was decent light, and then heavy fog rolled in. The weather forced the boat to leave after one hour. We has a great time shooting the puffins and razorbacks. They are not afraid of humans and approach the blind within a few feet. No long telephoto lens needed here.

The sad part is that 95% of the chicks on Machias Seal Island died this summer. The fish needed to feed the chicks went down much deeper due to higher water temperatures. They were out of range for the diving puffins. Hopefully they will rebound next spring.






Razorbills also share the island.







I have followed this family of Common Loons since I arrived here at Acadia in June. Starting with the adults sitting on the eggs for about 28 days, up to and including today when I spotted one of the chicks. The two chicks were hatched on July 15 and are over twelve weeks old. The adults will be leaving them any day now. The chicks will follow shortly after and head for open water. They won’t return for at least two years and will mature in six years. They will spend most of those years on the ocean. The odds on making it to fledge are small, but it looks like these two will make it. It has been awesome watching them grow, observing from the shore and the kayak. Hopefully, the adults will return in the spring. Here are some photos from the nesting days, more posts will follow.




Mom adjusts the eggs.


Both adults will sit on the eggs.


On the lookout, eagles are a major predator.


In hot weather, the adults will sometimes leave the eggs for a swim.


07/01/16 Common Mergansers

Posted: October 10, 2016 in Uncategorized

While on my way to the loon nest at Jordan Pond, I came upon this family of Common Mergansers. It was my first time seeing these beauties. I started following the female and her three chicks and kept track of them all summer into Fall. At one point, I witnessed them being attacked by one of the adult loons who had nested on the pond. The loon relentlessly rushed the mergansers from underwater like a torpedo. Fortunately, the mom scurried her chicks on some rocks and all turned out well on that day. But the last time I spotted them, only one chick was with mom.




Mom brings family on rocks during Loon attack.



Chicks were already fishing on their own.


Mom watching loon.



06/25/16 Upper Hadlock Loons

Posted: October 1, 2016 in Uncategorized

The first post of several on the Loons of Acadia and Mt Desert Island in Maine. This was the first loon chick I photographed this summer. The chick has since grown the twelve weeks and has fledged to the open water. There were approximately 14 loon chicks hatched on the island this year, a great success. A few have already left and many are still growing and getting stronger for their journey ahead. This family had a single chick that was able to receive all the attention from both adults. Good luck my little friend, enjoyed watching you grow.