Thursday, July 16, 2015

Puffin Field Trip

Twelve people from the club went on a three day field trip to Machias Seal Island in Maine to photograph the Puffins, Razorbills and Murres. We went two days to the island. Leaving Cutler Harbor and going 10 miles off shore to Seal Island. This is a tightly controlled area. Two groups of 16 photographers, one from the US and one from Canada are allowed on the island each day. The two groups are not on the island at the same time. When on the island you are not allowed to roam freely about. The caretakers march you to the blinds, four persons per blind, and you have one hour to photograph, after which you leave the island.
The Puffins, Razorbills and Murres are ocean birds. They arrive at Seal Island in April to breed and raise their young. They leave in August and spend the rest of the year out on the ocean. They are diving birds and catch small fish to feed their young. There are thousands of the birds breeding on the island.
After leaving the island each day we drifted along the shore of two smaller islands to photograph the seals from the boat. These seals don't have to worry about sharks because the water is so cold.
When not out on the boat, folks broke up into small groups to seek out various photo ops.  We finished the trip with a night session at West Quoddy Head to try some milky-way photography. 
We generally had meals as a group.  The camaraderie was  great and we had a lot of fun.