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RALPH ELDRIDGE | profile | all galleries >> Galleries >> BIRDING VISIT TO MACHIAS SEAL ISLAND tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

BIRDING VISIT TO MACHIAS SEAL ISLAND

MACHIAS (pronounced Ma-Chi-Us) SEAL ISLAND is a designated bird sanctuary because it hosts the major regional breeding colony of Atlantic Puffins and Razorbills, as well as lesser populations of Common Eiders, Leach's Storm Petrels, Common (Thin-Billed) Murres, Savannah Sparrows and Spotted Sandpipers.

Until very recently, it also hosted the largest regional colony of Arctic (and Common) Terns. Unproven but suspected food shortages and other envinronmental stresses caused complete reproduction failure from 2005 to 2014.

At least partly as the result of a gull control program, the Terns have begun to recover.
In 2014 there were a handful of Arctic Terns, not more than 12 to 16, which fledged successfully.
In 2015 there were over 100 successful fledgings.
In 2016 the Tern colony had another successful season, albeit not quite as good as 2015.
The 2016 season was disastrous for the Puffins with virtually zero survival for chicks.
2017 was a good year for both the Alcids and the Terns.
2018 was good for the Terns but not so good for the Alcids, in particular the Puffins. They developed very slowly and weights were less than desired. Many chicks took double the optimum time to fledge.


Because of the island's location and because historically it has been open to visitors, a limited number of tourists are permitted onto the island each day, for short periods, to view the colonial birds.

This gallery is a composite of several visits that shows what a visitor may expect. However, every day is unique and the number of birds present at any moment is effected by weather, food supply, point in their breeding cycle, predators, time of day and countless other factors, including visitor behavior. Visitors can expect to have good, close-up viewing of the Puffins and usually the other alcids as well.

Landings on the island may be shortened or prevented by adverse surf conditions and some days are cold and/or wet. All days are 10 to 15 degrees F cooler on the water than at the tour's departure point. Extra clothing is essential. Dress warm and dress dry.

There are currently two tour operators taking visitors to MSI.
Schedules and other specific information may be obtained directly from them through the following links.


BOLD COAST CHARTER COMPANY, CUTLER, MAINE.
E-Mail = info@boldcoast.com
Web site = http://www.boldcoast.com/

SEA WATCH TOURS, GRAND MANAN, NEW BRUNSWICK.
E-Mail = seawatch@nbnet.nb.ca
Web site = http://seawatchtours.com/
001  ATLANTIC PUFFIN 002  ATLANTIC PUFFIN WITH FISH 003  RAZORBILL WITH LARGE HERRING 004  RAZORBILL
005 THIN BILLED MURRE 006  SAVANNAH SPARROW 007  SPOTTED SANDPIPER 008  SPOTTED SANDPIPER CHICK
009  COMMON EIDERS 010  CRUISING THE SHORELINE 011  LEACH'S STORM PETREL 013    BARBARA FROST  DROPPING ANCHOR
014   DAY'S CATCH AT HER MOORING 015   BARBARA FROST  BRIEFING VISITORS 017  FOGGY DEBARKATION 019  ARRIVING TOURISTS
020  TOURISTS AT LANDING RAMP 021  TOURISTS MOUNTING THE ISLAND 022  MARCHING TOURISTS 023  LOCATIONS
024  INSTRUCTING THE VISITORS 025  VIEWING BLINDS 026  ENTERING THE VIEWING BLINDS 027  TYPICAL VIEWING OPPORTUNITY
028  VIEW FROM A BLIND 029  RAZORBILL &  MURRE EGGS 030  WAITING THEIR TURN 031  THE GROUP PHOTO
032  HEADED TO THE LANDING 033  DOWN THE BOARDWALK 034  TO THE PICK-UP 035  OLDER ROUTE FOR PICK-UP
036  LEAVING THE ISLAND 037  LEAVING THE ISLAND 038  FOGGY DEPARTURE 039  SEAL PUP
040  NORTH ROCK SEAL COLONY