Trip to Eastern Egg Rock

A little raft of Puffins, one of many we saw.

A little raft of Atlantic Puffins, one of many we saw.

A friend was visiting from Texas, her first time in Maine, and we decided to go out to Eastern Egg Rock in Muscongus Bay where Dr. Steve Kress’ Project Puffin is located.  We left from New Harbor for the 6 mile trip on four foot swells, as a storm was threatening.  The weather held off long enough for us to see the Puffins (Fratercula arctica) , having many great looks at rafts of these little “Sea Clowns.”  The island is home to colonies of Common, Roseate and Arctic Terns, Black Guillimots and Laughing Gulls as well as the ever increasing colony of Puffins.  We saw a Minke Whale, a Manx Shearwater, Northern Gannets and Wilson’s Storm Petrels and were accompanied by Harbor Porpoises on the ride out to the island.  The Puffins used to inhabit Maine before humans extirpated them by taking their eggs and hunting them for meat and feathers.  Thanks to Project Puffin, they once again grace Maine waters.   Steve Kress lured them back, first by hand rearing chicks (called Pufflings) taken from thriving colonies in Canada and then luring the chicks, grown into breeding adults after four years at sea, back to the Island through the use of decoys.  What an exciting day that must have been for him, seeing the first birds return after four years of hope.  Dr. Kress will be the keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the Connecticut Ornithological Association on March 23, 2013.

Eastern Egg Rock. The structures are blinds used by the researchers to study the birds.

Eastern Egg Rock. The structures are blinds used by the researchers to study the birds.

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3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Carla said,

    What a magical time this was, Kathy. Thank you again and again!
    Carla

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  2. 2

    It was such fun to have you visit and to go out and see the Puffins again. We had a great time.

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  3. 3

    […] We birded or investigated the shoreline in the mornings, had “classes” in the afternoons and an informative program every night.  A highlight for me was a sketching session where we sketched birds from Hope Douglas’ “Wind Over Wings”, an outreach program where birds that can no longer survive in the wild are used to educate people about birds and conservation.  This program has recently relocated from Connecticut to Maine.  We miss Hope in Connecticut but I was happy to see her still carrying on her important work.  We spent one morning out in Muscongus Bay, traveling out to Eastern Egg Rock to see the Puffins (for more on EER, see my post from last summer) […]

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