We were up at 5:30, and we headed out to Schoodic Point sometime after 6:00 to get set up at our ocean-side office.
The sun was already up and it was a gorgeous day with little wind and bright blue skies. The lobster boats were out early.
The first thing we do is count the different types of gulls sitting on the rocks ....
and whatever is swimming out in front of our observation site. Today, it was all Common Eiders.
After those first counts, then we scan the ocean with our binoculars looking for flying birds and counting the ones that we're pretty sure are migrating. If they are close to shore or fly toward shore and it's pretty clear they aren't in a migration flight, they aren't counted. But Linda & I are still watching them closely so we can memorize flight patterns and distinguish one species from another in flight or "on the wing" as birders call it.
Often the migrating birds are way off shore, so we have to use the spotting scope Seth provided to identify them.
Using a scope for a stationary bird is one thing, but getting it fixed on moving birds, following them along, and getting them identified is no easy task, so it takes practice. I won't bore you with a daily report of the bird counts, but I'll try to include anything particularly unusual or interesting.
While scanning for birds on such a calm day, breaks in the surface of the water caught our attention. We saw several Harbor Porpoises, and we got a good look at a small whale. We think it was a Minke Whale due to its size; it's the smallest of the baleen whales. We're about fifty yards above the water, so getting good, clear photos of anything in the water is tough, but we were pretty excited to see a whale on our first day.
We also saw an otter feeding in front of us. It got out on the rocks and devoured a fish, so we got a really good look through our binoculars.
We watched as one of the whale-watching boats from Bar Harbor headed out for the morning.
Also, a few lobster boats came near the shore checking their traps.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of buoys out in front of us marking lobster traps. Each harbor has a fleet of boats, each boat is allowed a certain number of traps, and each boat has its own color-coded buoys marking its traps.
The birds slowed down after 8:30, but we scanned until 9:30 completing our first morning session.
This is the view of Arey Cove as we were leaving Schoodic Point.
Arey Cove separates the main part of the peninsula from Little Moose Island. At low tide, you can walk out to the undeveloped island for some quiet exploring - we're looking forward to doing that one day.
Back home, we got changed and went for our morning run. Linda did a little better today, but she was sore quickly after we finished. She sat outside in her lounger for a few hours and got in a nap.
We headed back out for our afternoon session, and were all set up and counting by 3:30. It was still beautiful.
But the biting flies were swarming. We had to put on bug spray, and several people that stepped out on the rocks quickly turned around and went back to their cars. It was pretty bad.
We identified and counted birds, and we again saw several porpoises. We also had a lot of visitor interaction as there were quite a few folks enjoying the afternoon (as long as they had bug spray).
At 5:30, we packed everything up, and I wandered across the rocks taking advantage of the wonderful lighting and snapping a few more photos.
The small cliffs in the background of the next photo are part of Little Moose Island.
Our first bird counting day was complete, and we headed home. We can only hope that we have a lot more days as pretty as this one.
Linda made us dinner, and we had a relaxing evening. It was so relaxed, we went to bed at 8:30. Tomorrow, we'll do it all over again - if we must. :)