Puffinland!

Or, to be more precise, Eastern Egg Rock, an island in Muscongus Bay, just north of Freeport in coastal Maine. I spent the summer on one of Project Puffin’s islands last year as a research assistant. I knew that a week in a bird blind, watching puffins perch on ledge rocks over the Atlantic would be the perfect way to re-group after Africa and put on my game-face for the coming months of travel and fieldwork. Also, I wanted to keep my foot in the door so I can maybe supervise one of the seabird islands next summer. I didn’t bring my camera because I knew that last year’s photos would easily trump anything I took this time, so here are some highlights from last year to give you an idea of what I was looking at all week.

Mostly, days are spent either in a bird blind resighting band numbers and counting the fish that puffins and terns bring in for their chicks. Otherwise, we round up a subset of tern and gull chicks to measure and weigh them for productivity studies. My favorite part about seabird work is that you must work on the birds’ schedule. Because birds aren’t very active mid-day, there was lots of time for afternoon siesta and reading. Ahh, nothing more relaxing than the sound of 3,000 cackling gulls, especially the one cackling from atop your tent at 4:30 in the morning.


Above: Arctic tern feeding its chick, which will fly across the world in 3 weeks from when this photo was taken.               Below: Puffin antics.

The beautiful Maine shore
Ok, now we’re all caught up. That’s what I’ve been up to since Cappy Hill handed my my diploma in May. Sorry for being so terse, but as this blog is intended to be a travelogue, progress report, or away message of sorts, I’m more interested in writing about where I am rather than where I was. If you want to know more about something, post a comment and I’ll write back. 

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