Thursday, February 27, 2020

Some Selected Photos, The Refuge Show, 2019

Some Selected Photos,  The Refuge Show, 2019

I was asked to share the gallery space at the Coastal Maine Islands National Wildlife Refuge Office in Rockland this fall with my friend Jordan Chalfant's great paintings,
I chose some of the many I have taken during these last ten years since I got a digital camera.

The following is an introduction I wrote for the collection of photos displayed.

      As the result of a series of  unlikely good fortunes,  accidents of geography and a dearth of creative ambition I have spent some days on Penobscot bay many of them  around the islands in the refuge  during most of the last 50 years, with an eye towards the birds.  So have witnessed the considerable changes that have occurred in the birdscape, in the region.
For the last twenty years I have been taking folks out to Seal Island to see the island and the variety of wildlife on and in the waters around it, so I have been able to go down there a lot.
I have also been delivering research teams and their equipment to Seal Island and Matinicus Rock since 1987, this has given me the opportunity to meet many fine people, Jordan Being one of them, and also spend some time on these two wonderful mythic islands. I have had a digital camera these last ten years.
On the Islands in and around the refuge one can see wintering ducks, spring migration of warblers and waterfowl, summer breeding seabirds, fall shorebird, songbird and raptor migration, a dynamic series of changes. 
And what is going on under the water so relevant to what we see above is an unfathomable mystery, we get small shadowy reflections of clues.

I see a big splash,
and wonder,   
What the hell was that?

An advisor suggested there should be an idea I am trying to get across in this show, So I decided the idea is: There are an amazing dynamic variety of life and biological phenomenon  to see in the roiling,  sometimes nourishing smelling waters around and on the sweet and or fowl smelling islands in the refuge.

In an attempt to make some sense of this collection I have arranged them as a ride down the bay from a spruce island past currently mostly barren islands to Seal Island and Matinicus Rock and beyond out on the rolling sea.
The pictures that I chose have stories but these are just a few. The selection process was not particularly sophisticated. There should have been more of guillemots.

“The more you see the less you know”    I think this may be true.

“What we do see depends mainly on what we look for. ... In the same field the farmer will notice the crop, the geologists the fossils, botanists the flowers, artists the coloring, sportsmen the cover for the game. Though we may all look at the same things, it does not all follow that we should see them.”  John Lubbock

What you see depends mainly on what your looking for

This can also mean that the way we interpret what we see is affected by our expectations.

The below was included to inform the viewers of my relevant experiences.
My mother Mary Lyman Coit Drury passed away in September, she believed people could make the world better and  she helped to do so, with kindness and respect.
Aboard Skua, with Ma,  Off Potato Island,  June 25 2015, (Lucy McCarthy photo)

This was biographical information justifying the collection.
John has spent time over the years on and around many of the refuge islands, has lived within sight of Seal Island most of these last 40 years,
Spent time as a boy on Maine islands during the years of the New England gull populations research project headed by his father Bill Drury.
Has been involved in a variety of  bird  research projects in Maine and elsewhere.
Has helped transport researchers and supplies to field stations on Seal Island and Matinicus Rock since 1987. 
Has boat and camera.
This was my parents and me at Rich's Head Frenchboro Long Island, 1969 (Jean Briggs Photo) we saw a Gos hawk.

Here are the Photos from the show,  if you didn't get a chance to see them, here's your chance.

I included the last version of the labels as well.

Brant,  Mount Maguntacook
Seal Island, May 10, 2009
Looking north past Green’s and Hurricane islands.

Fledgling Raven, in the Landscape
Crockett’s Point, Vinalhaven, June 30, 2013
Ravens like both wooded and barren Islands. Coastal Ravens do love seabird eggs.

Parula Warbler Feeding Chicks Green Caterpillar,   Green’s Island, July 28 2018,
She did not need a lot of usnea to hold up her eggs. Diligent, busy, she fledged four. “Hunger is the best sauce.”

Parula Warbler Eyeing Ape,   Green’s Island, July 27, 2018
Encouraged by the youth to carry on.

Sandhill Cranes Green’s Island,  June 13, 2010
Cranes have recently expanded their range back into New England

Raven, Seaweed, Seal, Eagle,  Green’s Island, September 8, 2011
This eagle had been banded in Bucksport. 
When they see an eagle loons call, to warn others? or to tell the eagle I see you don’t bother to try.

Eagle Passing Long Ledge,   August 18, 2010
Vinalhaven and Mt Meguntacook in the sfumato. 
Heads up! Flesh-eating feathered lizard coming.

Immature Great Cormorant Preening,   Green’s Island, November 18, 2013
This bird was tame and I approached it, a loon came near us as if to urge this youth not to trust me.

Eagle Over Double-Crested Cormorants, Little Robert’s Island, August 14, 2009.
During the last couple of decades coastal eagles have consumed lots of Eiders, Cormorants and Gulls.

Dowitchers Over the North End of MetinicJuly 22, 2009
Early southerly migrants.

Harlequin Ducks at Holden Ledge, November 11, 2009
Aka. Lords and Ladies, or Squeakers
There is a concentration of these that winter between Vinalhaven and Swan’s Island.

Common Tern Nest on the Eastern Cow Pen, June 18. 2009
I had seen her work before, this was at least the third version, a piece of blue poly pennant was ashore there. She was seeking beauty despite cryptic tradition.

Great Cormorant and Pair of Herring Gulls
Seal Island, May 10 2009.
Spring plumage breeding Great Cormorant, elegant and capable.

Arctic tern and Young Harrier,   Seal Island, July 29 2017
This young harrier stayed on the island for days despite vigorous opposition.

Snow Owl Taking Off,   Seal Island, November 9, 2011
Aka: Buho Nival, Harfang des Neiges.

Common Terns foraging,   North of Seal Island, July 25, 2014
Common Terns from Seal Island foraging near Snipershan Shoal.

Red-Billed Tropicbird Taking Off,   or: El Pajaro Milagroso
Seal Island, July 25, 2015

Aka: Grand Paille en Queue, Tropico de pico rojo.

Sunfish, Seeking Jellyfish,  Penobscot Bay, August 7, 2015
We saw @500 sunfish August 1 2019, over a dozen of them breaching, that was surprising.
Aka: Pez Luna, Swimming Heads.

Female Spotted Sandpiper,  Seal Island, May 16, 2015

These are wide spread throughout the refuge nesting on all refuge Islands? They also are polyandrous.

Purple Sandpipers, Eastern Bite Seal Island,  December 1, 2015 
Winter sandpipers,   Aka: Becasseau Violet, Correlimos Oscuro.

Arctic Tern,  Matinicus Rock, May 24 2009

Arctic terns tend to be on the far out islands as do Razorbills,  Puffins & Murre
Diving Puffin,  Seal Island, Aug 6, 2012
The reflection of the island contains the atmosphere and shape of Seal Island
Aka: Macareux moine, Frailecillo

Male Eider at the Surfs Edge
Matinicus Rock, May 24 2009,

During the past two decades eagles have shortened up Maines eider population considerably.

Black Guillemot Pair
Matinicus Rock, May 2000

Unlike other alcids in the region these Guillemots nest on scores of islands. Aka: Squeakers, Tysties. 

Three Pioneer Manx Shearwater at Matinicus Rock
May 25, 2011
Second known nesting site of this species in the western Atlantic. These graceful beauties established breeding in our region in our time.

Manx Shearwater, and Laughing Gulls, off Matinicus Rock.
May 17, 2010 
The original Manx colonist apparently thought it was a laughing gull, it displayed over the island when the laughers were ashore and rafted with them.

Puffin Flying, Morning at the Boathouse.Matinicus Rock, May 26 2009 Chriehaven beyond

Sabines Gull
North east of No Man’s Land, July 7 2010,
This species breeds in the arctic

Aka: Mouette de Sabine.

Ancient Murrelet off Matinicus Rock
May 24, 2017
A pacific species. This bird has been seen at most large alcid colonies in the gulf of Maine, Seal Is. Machias Seal, Petit Manan adventurous fowl.

Felonius Skua and Common Tern
Penobscot Bay, August 17, 2009 Aka: Labbe Parasite, Pågalo Paråsito

Felonius Skua, Barred Young One
Penobscot Bay, August 3, 2011 Aka. Parasitic Jaeger, Arctic Skua, Sea Hawk.
These birds are Pirates not parasites.

Felonius Skua, Common Tern, Fish
Penobscot Bay, August 17, 2009
Aka: Stercorarius parasiticus
These are elegant thieves. A multiple bankrupt millionaire tax cheat, that is a parasite.

Greater Shearwater on a Still AfternoonPenobscot Bay, August 6, 2012 This species breeds in the southern hemisphere, spends their winter in the North Atlantic.

Wilson’s Petrel Over Still Water
Penobscot Bay, August 3, 2016
This species also breeds in the southern hemisphere, Leach’s Petrels breed here but you rarely see them.

White-Sided Dolphins from above
South of Matinicus Rock, Sept 5, 2018
They slide through the water with such ease, they have a variety of paces at which they travel, these were lobbing along fairly slowly

White-Sided Dolphins off Matinicus Rock
September 8, 2015
They do seem to enjoy themselves and each others company.
Not a blade of grass on the Rock from this angle.

Four White-sided Dolphins Looking Forward
South of Matinicus Rock, Sept 5 2018 Scientific Unrealism

White-sided Dolphin, Leaping
South of Matinicus Rock, September 8 2015
Measuring distance to the horizon?

White-sided Dolphin Aloft
Outer Fall, August 8, 2012
This species range is the North Atlantic, Cape Cod to the North
Sea, passing offshore late summer and early fall.

White-Sided Dolphins in Light and Shadow
South of Matinicus Rock, September 5 2018.
Mother and siblings?

White-Sided Dolphins swimming towards the future
South of Matinicus Rock, September 5 2018
A murky way before them even in daylight and clear water.

White-Sided Dolphin on its Side
South of Matinicus Rock, September 5 2018
You can see the shadows of salps on some of these they were thick in places that day.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

late August and September, Caspian Terns

late August and September, Caspian Terns,

Bathing waxwings

Sept 22,  common murre, in the bay

Sept 16, Vinalhaven, great Egret

Schooner and Owl's Head

Ashore at Little Garden island

Caspian tern September 15,  off Roberts Island.

We followed it to Channel Rock where there were three or four more

four Caspian terns Channel Rock

Great Cormorants, and a double-crested.