Saturday, July 1, 2017

July 1

Its July everyone. :)
Today it the 150th anniversary of Canada as a nation.  Happy Canada Day to those of you  from that great nation. 
And speaking of Canada, I thought I would show you some photos from my puffin boat trip this past Sunday.  This was the reason we headed to northeast Maine and New Brunswick.  (Even though I was still excited to visit the area and would definitely go back!) 
Warning: this is a long post with lots of photos!
When I went to Iceland last summer I had hoped to see some puffins, and I did see one, but it was so far off that I couldn't tell it was a puffin until I came home and enlarged the photo.
So I did some searching on the internet because I heard you could see puffins in Maine, and Maine is the state right to the east of New Hampshire. In fact, I only live a couple of towns from the Maine border, so traveling to Maine is not an issue. In my research, I discovered there is a puffin trip out of Cutler, Maine that travels to Machias Seal Island.
I booked back in January because this is a very popular trip. In fact, by the first of February the trip was totally sold out for the season.
Machias Seal Island is a disputed island. Both the US and Canada claim to own the island, and right now the lighthouse on the island is managed by Canada.

This boat trip has a license to land on Machias Seal Island. They are the only boat from the US that does. Because this is a sanctuary island, the trip can only take 15 passengers.
This is our sea traveling vessel tied up to the dock. It's a lobster boat although it hasn't been used for lobstering.  There are benches along the 3 back sides of the boat (at the opened end) so you have a real in the environment experience.
However, due to fairly rough seas, we couldn't land on Machias Seal Island. It was a little disappointing, BUT at least the sun was shining and we were able to go out on the water and see all the birds.
And boy were there birds. Thousands of them.
You can see how from the spray behind the rocks how rough it was.

Lots of birds are called Thick Billed Murres. They are distantly related to penguins and use their wings as flippers to swim like a penguin, but unlike penguins they can also fly.
the remind me of penguins on the rocks.
Can you see any puffins in the above photo?
But you can see these guy taking off from the water surface here.
Puffins are like murres and also use their wings to swim under water.
More murres.  I LOVE my new zoom lens.

We also saw some porpoises (didn't get any photos of).
And since we visited Machias Seal Island, you would expect us to see some seals.
The ducks behind the seals are eider ducks, which you might have heard of if you've heard of eider down which was used in blankets and jackets.
I love the fact that there is a red haired seal. They have as much hair variety as people do.
How about some more birds.

We also saw this large seabird called a Gannet.

A little blurry, but here is the male eider duck with 2 females.
It was actually hard to take photos because the boat kept rocking and rolling in the swells.
I took lots of photos and probably 75% of them didn't come out very well., but I did that in hopes of getting at least some good photos.  I think I got more good ones than I expected to.
The most disappointing photos were off the bald eagle we saw coming back into the harbor.  I thought we were done with bird photos so I locked my zoom lens (as my lens has a lock on it). Then when we saw the eagle I got excited, and without thinking hit the auto-focus button into the off position. So I got lots of photos like this.
Bald eagle way out of focus. :(
I would have had some excellent shots since the ocean wasn't as rough here and I could snap better photos. But it was really cool to see the eagle.
I did manage to get just 1 focused eagle photo.
Not even the best shot either.
Oh well.
That's how it goes I guess.
So hope you enjoyed this installment of my vacation stories and photos.  
Happy weekend!


Valerie-Jael said...

Oh, what a wonderful place you visited, I would have loved to visit there, too, really fantastic. Thanks for sharing all the infos and the photos. Have a nice weekend, hugs, Valerie

CJ Kennedy said...

What a cool trip! Your photos are fabulous. I thought the Murres were penguins and kept thinking, I thought penguins were from the South Pole!I've never seen puffins. How cute are they? They remind me a little of Toucan Sam from Froot Loops fame. Too bad the eagle in flight photo was out of focus. You'll just have to go back for another trip. Enjoy the weekend.

Rike said...

Oh, what wonderful vacation stories and fantastic photos!
Happy weekend! Rike

froebelsternchen Susi said...

What an exciting trip this was ! Amazing ! Love all the fabulous photos- great that you got so many good photos! You are a profi and your new zoom lense seems to be great! I am thrilled about that fun Thick Billed Murres...

Thank you for sharing all the fantastic photos of that great trip Erika!
Happy weekend!

nanskidrewski said...

Erica, Thank you so much! I get motion sickness very quickly. I don't know if I could have tackled that boat ride? You have given me a fantastic view. Amazing photos. Those puffins are beautiful! I love your zoom lens too! Have a happy weekend!

Susan said...

This is an amazing post! I love puffins but have never seen them up close. I love the one in the water and the one leaving the water. What a treat for you.

Jeanie said...

What a fabulous way to recognize Canada Day! And the puffins! I adore them -- their beaks are so great and they're just fun. What a wonderful trip and how amazing to see them like this out in their own environment. I love this to bits!

Divers and Sundry said...

I LOVE PUFFINS!!! I'm so excited by the photos you got of them. The closest I get is the live cams I follow, so I'm quite impressed with your trip :)

Meggymay said...

I really enjoyed looking at your photos tonight. They all captured the images of the birds so well in their natural habitat. You had an amazing trip.
Yvonne xx

Let's Art Journal said...

Oh my, what wonderful photos and how exciting it must have been to see those puffins! You really got to see lots of different birds, so amazing 😀. How lovely to have such wonderful memories of your trip to Maine and actually see puffins close up. I love the photos you took with your new lens, thanks for sharing! Enjoy your weekend! J 😊

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I was surprised so many of the people I visit were wishing Canada a happy sesquicentennial. I LOVE how you combined the day with photos from Canada (at least PART of Canada). I was so impressed by the Puffins. It was too bad you couldn't land at Machias Seal Island. At least you got the experience of seeing the birds, ducks, seals, and puffins. Boy, those puffins are adorable, aren't they?

When I think of seals, I think slick skins. I had NO idea they have hair of various colors. I've only seen them sitting on buoys in the Pacific.

What a fun trip you must have had, even if you couldn't go ashore. At least you got lots of photos from the boat. I've been on boats exactly like that while whale watching, and sometimes the people want to see a whale or dolphin and will push you out of the way. I didn't get that feeling from your trip. So glad you took all those photos, even the ones of the eagle.

Sandy said...

Fantastic pictures!!!!!
sandy xx