It was another gorgeous morning out on Schoodic Point. There was almost no wind, visibility was great, and the Harbor Porpoises entertained.
The word "porpoise" is derived from the Latin "porcopiscus" which means "pig fish". When the Harbor Porpoises surface, they breath through their blowhole, but rather than a blow, it's more like a puff. So, they are sometimes called "puffing pigs" or "puffers". One of these mornings, I'll get them on video ... including the puffing.
We also had a Gray Seal that hung around for about an hour.
After three days of somewhat small numbers of migrating sea birds, this morning exploded. Now, keep in mind that even on the "slow" days we've been counting over 100 birds, but today we had over 500. Of course, we're told that that 500 will be a slow day when it really picks up later this month.
Linda is mastering the spotting scope.
Now we are starting to see mixed flocks or strings of birds. We can't assume a string of ten is all one species .... as if counting distant, flying birds wasn't already tough enough. And our task is harder when it's so clear - the farther we can see, the more birds we pick up in our binoculars and the scope, but the harder they are to identify and count.
So, it was a busy morning. We even had a long-time reader, Ronnell (just a guess at the spelling - sorry if I didn't get it right) stop by to say "Hi". She said she has been following our Journal since 2006. Cool. :)
Our three hours went fast with all the activity.
Back home, we continued our exercise routine. I know nobody cares about our exercise, but we mention it as sort of a way to provide ourselves with accountability. It's silly, but when we tell the world we are exercising, we are more apt to do it. We hope it provides encouragement for others as well, but mostly it's to help us.
Of course, I watched college football in between counting sessions. But we were back on the "Point" at 3:30. The parking lot was full and there were people all over the rocks.
The counts slowed again, but we had a lot of interaction with the visitors. Some are curious about what we are doing, but they don't want to bother us. Some can't stand it, so they have to come up and ask. Some are hoping we are whale-watching and that we will show them whales. A few are really interested in the birds and the counts. Many thank us for what we are doing whether they really understand it or not and at the end of this afternoon's session, a lady gave us homemade chocolate chip cookies. Very nice.
Seth also stopped by with a birding group. He had a sea bird identification book for us. Now we have four books to help us with identification. Seth is also going to get us a "sandwich board" to identify us as SeaWatch volunteers and explain we are counting migrating sea birds. That will probably draw more folks over to our spot. It's a fine line we have to walk - we want people to be interested and to interact, yet we can't get so distracted we miss our counts.
Back home, I grilled some burgers for dinner. Linda entered our counts into our spreadsheet, and then she played games on her tablet and checked Facebook, while I watched more football. But I couldn't make it through the later games. Getting up at 5:30 each morning results in falling asleep somewhere between 9:00 and 10:00.
Another great day.
We can't believe how lucky we've been with the weather. This morning it was in the upper 50s without a cloud in the sky when we got to the "Point".
The porpoises greeted us as we got set up.
Soon, it warmed into the 60s, and we applied the sunscreen after peeling off a layer.
A seal later swam by but didn't stick around. I'll get a seal photo for this year one of these days, but I got great seal photos when we were here five years ago while on a Bass Harbor Island Cruise.
We've had almost no wind for the last four mornings. The bad news with that is we have to put on bug spray to ward off the early morning mosquitoes. But it's a small price to pay.
It was another busy morning including one flock of over a hundred birds. We're still getting mostly the same birds - cormorants & eiders - but we're seeing more loons and some scoters (another type of sea duck). And with the great visibility, we're seeing a lot of "unidentifieds" way off in the distance.
Linda records the temperature when we arrive and when we leave and she records the wind speed and direction every hour. We also have to record our counts in one-hour time slots.
At 9:30, we packed up and headed home. By 10:00 we were changed and headed out for today's exercise.
The early afternoon was dedicated to getting some work done, and then it was time for our afternoon session. The afternoons have all been slower, but at least it's only two hours and we have more visitors to pass the time.
That'll do it for another couple of days. We have the next two days off, and I'll be working on a new business opportunity (for both us and anyone in our audience that may be interested). Hopefully, I'll get it all written up and be able to present it very soon. I'm cautiously excited about this one, and I'm looking forward to seeing how much interest there might be. Stay tuned. :)