Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Arcadia NP, Maine, plus Newburyport, Massachusetts
any birders' favorite summer birding trip includes a cruise to the famous little treeless island 10 miles off the coast of Maine to view and photograph Atlantic Puffins. Machias Seal Island also offers the possibility of viewing Razorbills, Arctic and Common Terns, Leach's Storm Petrels, Common Murres and Great Cormorants -- usually at close range from walking trails and photo-observation blinds. On the cruise to the island, you may see other seabirds like Northern Gannets and an assortment of gulls, petrels and shearwaters. If the ocean is not calm, it may not be possible to land at Machias Seal Island, although the ship captain always tries to get you close enough to view the birds.
After your morning cruise to the puffin isle, stop at one of the great American parks. Acadia National Park protects a stretch of Maine's rugged, rocky coastline and a few outlying islands, with headquarters in Bar Harbor. Mount Desert Island provides a combination of seabirds and warblers during summer. As many as 18 species of warblers nest in the pine woodlands, along with Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, Swainson's Thrushes, Boreal Chickadees, plus Lincoln Sparrows that inhabit the bog wetlands. Along the shorelines, watch for Common Eiders, Black Guillemots, Leach's Storm Petrels, Greater Black-backed Gulls and Herring Gulls. Also watch for three other exciting species -- Bald Eagles, Ospreys and Common Loons.
Machias Seal Island is the best location in America to see Atlantic Puffins
During winter, Maine birders head just south of the Massachusetts border to Newburyport and Cape Ann. Wintering sea ducks, Brant, alcids and rare gulls -- including an occasional Glaucous or Iceland Gull -- can be found along coastal locations like the mouth of the Merrimack River and Parker River National Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island. Scope for Common and Red-throated Loons, Northern Gannets, Razorbills, Greater Cormorants and Red-necked Grebes, plus Brant, Oldsquaws, Greater Scaup, Barrow's Goldeneyes, Harlequin Ducks, Common Eiders and an occasional King Eider. Look for Snow Buntings and Rock Sandpipers and other wintering species, and be aware of the possibility of seeing a rare Snowy Owl -- although Short-eared Owls are more commonly found. Shorebirds are also common during late summer and early fall. Contact: Acadia NP (207) 288-3338; Parker River NWR (508) 465-5753; Captain Barna Norton (207) 497-5933; and Captain Andrew Patterson (207) 259-4484.
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