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Old Aug 8, 2013, 9:38 PM   #1
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Default Finally, on our fourth try, we saw puffins!

For three years in a row, my wife and I had reservations to view the puffins up close from the blinds on Machias Seal Island. For three years in a row, we were bitterly disappointed when, on the selected day, the weather conditions were too rough, and the trip had to be canceled. Last winter, we almost decided not to bother, since it involves a very long drive and staying overnight in a motel, and with our track record we did not want to invest all that time and money only to be disappointed again. But despite our losing record, we decided to book another trip, and we are very glad we did.

This year, weather conditions cooperated, and we were able to land on the island. The trip left from Cutler Harbor on the Maine coast, and the harbor is protected by a beautiful island with a very picturesque lighthouse. After a 45 minute cruise, we arrived at the island and were astonished to see puffins swimming and flying everywhere. We were amused and delighted to see puffins perching on the blinds. The blind in the second photo is used by wildlife researchers, not tourists, but after we settled in our blind we also had puffins perching on the roof.

We stayed in the blinds for an hour and 40 minutes, but the time went by very fast. We were sorry to leave the blind and return to the boat, but we were thrilled finally to have seen nesting puffins up close!
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Old Aug 8, 2013, 9:42 PM   #2
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I still have several hundred photos that I have yet to process, but here are a few more. It was a remarkable experience to observe puffins so close. We've decided that we have broken our losing streak, so we're already planning for next year's trip!

All photos were taken with the K5, and most (maybe all) were taken with the DA* 50-135 lens.
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Old Aug 9, 2013, 5:07 AM   #3
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Very nice pictures. Glad you decided to try it again, so we can see the results too.
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Old Aug 9, 2013, 8:43 AM   #4
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Going again worked out great, and the shots prove it.

Thanks for posting this great series.

Ronny
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Old Aug 9, 2013, 10:38 AM   #5
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I have not posted for some time now and hope to again down the road apiece. I have been checking the posts and this one I have to respond to.

The pictures are as amazing as these birds are! My wife and I just took the family to the other Maine Puffin sight at East Egg Rock off Booth Bay Harbor last Sunday. Looking at your pictures and others I have seen I was surprised at the relatively small size of these birds (13" long with a wingspan of 21").

My shots taken from a rocking and rolling slow moving boat with a 500mm lens were difficult at best and nothing to be too excited about. All the birds I shot were either in the water or in the air. The birds fly at 40MPH and are a real challenge from a moving platform. All my flight shots had blurr even though I was at 1/2000 of a second.

I am anxious to see more of your shots and any other birds you may have encountered. Bravo, nice shooting!

Lou
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Old Aug 9, 2013, 11:58 AM   #6
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Great shots!
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Old Aug 9, 2013, 10:14 PM   #7
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Lou, it's great to see you on this forum again! In response to your request, here's a shot of 3 razorbill auks (with, of course, a puffin in the background). Razorbills were present as well, but puffins far outnumbered them. We also saw eider ducks, though I came away with no good photos. Another person in our group (in a different blind) insisted that he saw an arctic tern, but I did not see it.
CORRECTION: Another member of this forum very kindly pointed out that I mis-identified two birds in this photo. The black and white birds on the left and in the center are common murres. The one razorbill in this photo is on the right. I very much appreciate the correction.
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Old Aug 10, 2013, 7:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnman View Post
For three years in a row, my wife and I had reservations to view the puffins up close from the blinds on Machias Seal Island.
Glad to see your trip worked out, Nice shots of a bird I would like to see in the wild also, one more to add to my bucket list.

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Old Aug 10, 2013, 7:21 PM   #9
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Wonderful , wonderful, I'm so glad you tried again so I could see these gorgeous birds. Terrific shots, thank you for sharing.

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Old Aug 13, 2013, 6:35 PM   #10
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MtnMan -Your patience really paid off! These are all great photos of all the action and personality! My favorite composition is #7 - one bird watching the other landing!

PS - LOU - so good to see you posting again. Hope to see more of your great photos soon. How is Patty (NHMom) these days?
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