Saturday, July 12, 2008

Interview with Myself, Matinicus Rock Trip Participant

Nick Lund was a part of the memorable July 12, 2008 Maine Audubon pelagic trip to Matinicus Rock. After much prodding, Nick agreed to discuss the trip with The Birdist, and even offered to share some of his photographs! Oh boy!

Birdist: Good evening, Mr. Lund. Gosh you're looking handsome this evening. Have you been working out?

NL: No, not at all.

I see. Well, whatever you're doing, keep doing it! So, I understand you took a trip to Matinicus Rock. How'd it go?

NL: Well it was outstanding, really. The weather was very cooperative; no clouds, and very little wind resulted in glassy seas and limitless visibility for the entire 25 miles. We left from the Todd Audubon Sanctuary in Bremen, Maine and stopped at Eastern Egg Rock before motoring out to Matinicus Rock. The two rocks are nesting colonies for puffins, razorbills, common murres and several species of terns, and there were chances at shearwaters, storm-petrels and phalaropes, but the bird we were all (quietly) seeking was the red-billed tropicbird that has summered on Matinicus for the past two summers.

Did you find it?

NL: Let's just go to the pictures. Here's looking out from the Todd Sanctuary towards the ocean. Notice how calm everything was! As far as I could tell, no one got seasick the whole time.

Laughing Gull at Eastern Egg


The lighthouse on Matinicus Rock

Razorbill rafts off Matinicus Rock

Arctic Tern (note the sharpness of the dark line on the primaries). Matinicus Rock is one of the few places where arctic terns outnumber common terns, here by about 3 to 1.

Common Tern (see how the dark line on the primaries spreads to the rest of the wing?)

Wow look at all those common murres!

NL: Actually, those are all decoys placed as part of a social attraction program. There are only a handful of common murres on the island, our group saw about four.

immature great cormorants

atlantic puffin, a fan favorite

Look, these are all great, but did you see the tropicbird?

NL: OK, well let me just say that I was too busy being a helpful, ocean-scanning birder to be a photographer. Aside from one or two pictures at the start, I wasn't taking any photos at Matinicus. The fact that it seemed unlikely that we would see the tropicbird didn't help. A pair of biologists rowed out to meet us when we reached the Rock, and when one of them announced over the ship's loudspeaker that the tropicbird hadn't been seen for 10 days, there was a noticeable deflation of many of the trip participants.

Imagine our elation, then, when a few minutes later the tropicbird appeared, in all it's brilliant glory, and soared just a few feet over the boat. It was incredible. The bird made several very close passes, and many close up photos were taken. Not by me, though. Like I said, I had put away my camera to focus on seawatching and only remembered to grab it after the tropicbird's interest in the boat had worn off. I managed to grab a couple awful pictures:

Are you joking me? God I'm disappointed.

NL: Screw you, This interview's over.

new life birds from this trip: atlantic puffin, wilson's storm petrels (100+ seen on the trip back), common murre, razorbill, roseate tern (two on eastern egg rock), arctic tern. 422 world list

new ABA birds: the above, plus red-billed tropicbird (i've seen them before on Isla de la Plata, Ecuador. 377 ABA list.

new Maine birds: above plus greater shearwater (seen well, but the only shearwater on the trip [we were not chumming]) 213 Maine list.

Port Clyde, Maine


John B. said...

This post was very entertaining. It sounds like a good trip.

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