The Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula artica) is undoubtedly the most popular bird for Maine visitors...birders and non-birders alike. It breeds in colonies on coastal islands off Maine and Atlantic Canada.
The Petit Manan Lighthouse island is a part of the Maine Coastal Island National Wildlife Refuge, and hosts a healthy colony of nesting Puffins. These small birds (less than 12 inches) nest in burrows in colonies. Below is a link from the US Fish and Wildlife Service about a study of the Petit Manan birds.
Petit Manan Puffins
The Maine Coastal Island NWR includes over 8000 acres along 150 miles of Maine coastline...both on islands and on the mainland.
The lighthouse is about 8 miles out to sea from the Milbridge, Maine town landing. After a great picnic, we launched two boats with 13 family and friend Puffins watchers on a drizzly and foggy day in early August. The birds are so small it was hard to get good photos, even with a 300mm telephoto lens....but they were great to watch through binoculars. Below is a link of some great photos of Petit Manan seabirds.
Lots of lighthouses in Downeast Maine. Below is a link to the Maine Lighthouse Trail....be sure to visit them all.
Cold, wet, foggy....Polar Fleece and Gore Tex in August! Captain and brother-in-law Andy, Grampy Doug Sr and sister-in-law Allison braving the weather. Mark Twain said he once observed 128 kinds of weather in Maine in a 24 hour period! Read about it below.
Pelagic (open ocean) birds are some of the most interesting species, but often difficult to observe and photograph. Ever try to hold a long lens steady on a rocking boat to "shoot" a small bird bobbing in the ocean 50 yards away?
Alcids in the Northern Hemisphere GREAT PHOTOS!
Brother-in-law Nat and wife Diane enjoying the Puffin show.
Time to head back before the fog closes in....see you Puffins again soon, I hope.
Sisters Allison and Olivia are all smiles after our Family and Friends Puffin Trip. Come visit Maine....lots to see and do...especially Downeast.