Cape May Pelagic – Atlantic Puffins

Alex LamoreauxBird Finding Tips, Birding, Trip ReportsLeave a Comment

On July 1st, 2004 I joined a group of other teenage birders on a boat trip from Hog Island, Maine out to Eastern Egg Rock. This trip was part of a week long ‘Coastal Maine Bird Studies to Teens‘ program organized by Maine Audubon. The goal of out ride out to Eastern Egg Rock was to see the Atlantic Puffins that breed there. My whole life up until that point, the puffin was a bird I would stare at in my field guides, always wishing I would be able to see it one day – needless to say, I was pretty excited. As soon as we approached the small island, we started seeing the puffins. Typically that’s as close as most people get, but one perk of the program was that we were actually allowed to get on the island and sit in a small blind and watch the puffins up close! Since that day, I had never seen another Atlantic Puffin again. But then a day or two before the February 4th pelagic out of Cape May, Paul Guris commented that conditions were shaping up perfectly for potentially being able to see a puffin on the trip. Sure enough, around 8:30am when we were a little over 20 miles offshore we spotted our first Atlantic Puffin of the day. The bird was floating nearby and we were able to approach fairly close. Throughout the rest of the day, we continued to see puffins regularly – most were single birds, but we did see a few pairs. Our total Atlantic Puffin count for the day was 18! Below are two photos I took of the closer puffins.

Atlantic Puffin - immature (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Atlantic Puffin - immature (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)