[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Earlier this year I went on a puffin expedition with every intention of spotting that little clay guy from Elf. Needless to say, that didn’t happen. Also needless to say, I need to brush up on wildlife. While in Maine, Nick and I joined his parents aboard The Pink Lady at Pier 7. We had cameras, binos (short for binoculars… learned that one from Whale Wars, obvi), sunscreen and snacks. And a plan to see some puffins.
Buddy the Elf had Arctic puffins, but it turns out the ones in Boothbay Harbor are Atlantic puffins. Because, um, one lives in the Arctic and the other in the Atlantic. Once I realized I knew nothing about (really anything) puffins, it was a lot easier to learn from the naturalist on board The Pink Lady. It turns out that Eastern Egg Rock, located about 10 miles off the Maine coast, is the first restored puffin colony in the world. The puffin community there was depleted in the late 1800’s by hunters collecting eggs and feathers (for sassy old lady fashions). Young puffins were brought from New Foundland to Egg Rock by the Audubon Society. Naturalists hoped that they could imprint the location in the pufflings memory so that the birds would later return to Egg Rock to breed.
Yes! Baby puffins are called pufflings!
It took several years, but eventually the puffins returned to Eastern Egg Rock and started having pufflings of their own. And the rest, as they say, is history. As we cruised out of the harbor, I wondered if we’d actually see any of these little cuties. Boothbay itself is full of puffin imagery, but the way the naturalist was talking, real, live sightings weren’t guaranteed.
We must have good puffin karma, however, because as we approached the Egg, the captain spotted a puffin flying across the bow. And soon there was another. And another. And an entire raft of puffins on the port side! (While I looked for an actual raft, covered with puffins, everyone else took photos of a group of puffins, floating on the ocean’s surface.) In addition to two new vocab words (puffling and raft), I learned that puffins are quite small. And that a zoom lens would have helped quite a bit.
Live and learn. And take a puffin tour.
Also On Tap for Today:
- After watching tonight’s Chronicle, I am determined to visit Kent, CT
- Brownies… in an egg?
- Join Whole Foods in the fight against childhood hunger
Learned anything new lately?