As planned, we met Seth at Schoodic Point at 8:30. He was easing us in to our duties.
Even on warm days it can be chilly if it's breezy and the temperature can change very quickly. I packed a gym bag with several layers of clothing so I have multiple options if necessary.
We picked our spot, had our binoculars, and set up spotting scopes. Seth went over the data collection sheets and our daily routine.
Upon arrival each morning, we will count birds that are resting on the rocks and floating just offshore, mostly gulls and eiders. Then we will scan a particular section of ocean within our view for flying sea birds. He helped us with identification as many of the birds fly at quite a distance from shore. We're scanning with our eyes and binoculars and identifying with the scope. We have to do the best we can with counts, identification, and making a judgment call as to whether the birds appear to be local or migrating.
After each initial morning count of "resting" birds, we're only concerned with counting migrants. Fortunately, there is a category for "Unidentified Species" - we're performing a scientific study and guessing is not allowed. :)
The rest of this month, we will be practicing and getting ready for the increasing migration coming in September.
We will be doing our SeaWatch Wednesday through Sunday from 6:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. and then again from 3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. We have the hours between the morning and afternoon counts to ourselves, and then we have Monday & Tuesdays off. In addition to our bird counts and other observations, we will be interacting with the public, so if you come to Schoodic Point during our counting hours we'll be happy to explain what we are doing if you are interested ... as long as we aren't inundated with large passing flocks.
We'll be out there rain or shine or fog, but if we have gale force winds or storms or it's fogged in so bad we can't see, then we don't have to subject ourselves to the elements. We still have to go check the Point - although it's only a mile away from our campsite, the weather there could be completely different.
If you just want to come out to Schoodic and visit during our off-duty times, just let us know and we can make arrangements.
The plan for today was to wrap up around 10:30, and a fog bank rolled in about that time. Seth was very pleased with our first time out there, and we'll get more confident and proficient in the next few days.
Today we concentrated on Common Eiders and Double-crested Cormorants, but we also learned to identify Northern Gannets, and the common gull species - Herring Gulls, Great Black-backed Gulls, Laughing Gulls, and Ring-billed Gulls. We had a few Black Guillemots and White-winged Scoters as well. This is certainly right up our alley, and we'll enjoy it. Of course our level of enjoyment will depend on the weather each day.
Since we now have our schedule, we can plan our days. Linda suggested we exercise every day right after our morning bird counting session. Her reasoning is there will be mornings when we are freezing, and exercising will warm us up and then we can get a good, long hot shower and take care of any business needs until our afternoon session.
So, she joined me for my three-mile run. We took it easy and I let her pace us. She made it a mile and a quarter without stopping and ended up running a good two miles or so of the three and a half miles total. I was quite proud of her, and I hope we keep it going.
After showers, I got some work done and she took the Jeep out to scout for some local produce. She also stopped at the small grocery in Winter Harbor to check it out.
The fog from the morning lifted and it had turned into a lovely day.
On her way back, she got behind Wayne & Linda on the Schoodic Loop Road. They were doing the scenic loop and going for an early dinner in Birch Harbor at the Pickled Wrinkle. So we decided to join them.
Linda led them to our campsite where she picked me up, and we made our way to the restaurant. A nice lady took our picture out front.
We sat outside and ordered the Pickled Wrinkle appetizer. From their website:
Lobster fishermen find wrinkles in traps they haul from the ocean floor. In tough times, wrinkles were relied on to help feed Maine families, and pickling was a great way to preserve the protein packed morsels.
We had to try them.
They must be an acquired taste, 'cause we all thought they were terrible. Perhaps a preparation other than pickling may have helped.
Linda had the scallop sliders and I had the haddock sliders. They were very good.
So, we enjoyed our meal and chatted for a couple of hours before parting ways. In a few days, Wayne & Linda will be moving to the park campgrounds on Mt. Desert Island.
On our way back home, we stopped for a couple of photos.
Wild rose plants are all along the Schoodic Loop, and the fruit of the rose (aka "rose hips") is visible everywhere right now.
We drove out to Schoodic Point where folks were gathering for the sunset. We decided to go back to our rig and take the half-mile walk on the Sundew Trail and enjoy our own private sunset.
Lots of people climb Cadillac Mountain to watch the sunrise. Not nearly as many people get to see the sun set behind it.
Not a bad day. :)