From Cape May, we went north to Jonesport, Maine (with a stop at Craignair Inn, Clark Island, a favorite place of ours). In Jonesport, we did the puffin trip to Machias Seal Island. Unfortunately, the tour leader felt it was not safe to land, so we did not get on the island. But the number of birds feeding in the water was considerable. We spent about an hour moving slowly among the birds.
Four target species nest on Machias Seal Island: Atlantic Puffin, Razorbill, Common Murre, and Arctic Tern. The tern was seen through the fog flying overhead, its voice different from other terns (Common, Forster’s, and Least), so I can count it for the year. But there was no way to see any field marks. The others were close, and good views were had. This post is limited to the Atlantic Puffin.
The Atlantic Puffin has a very endearing appearance and is one of those “sexy” species that the general public is drawn to, as opposed to the nondescript little brown jobs, or other birds which are “not pretty” or secretive. “Sexy” species the general public can be sold on for protection, or restoration, and that in turn enables help to the “unsexy” species.
Just a caution - don’t call the puffins “cute” (even if you think they are - and I admit they are) because this week’s column (post on Saturday) is a language rant with “cute” being the victim.
As always, thanks for dropping by.