Hog Island 2010
June 25, 2010 by Benjamin Van Doren
The Hog Island Ornithology Camp, in coastal Maine, was created in the 1930s to foster a desire to learn and care about the environment and the wildlife that inhabits it. Still running today, despite some economic troubles, I took part in this year’s Hog Island Coastal Maine Bird Studies for Teens. It was a great five days; I got to meet 14 other enthusiastic young birders, as well as famous and important figures in the birding community, like Kenn & Kim Kaufman, Scott Weidensaul and Steve Kress. Enjoy a recap of the week in pictures:
The sun shines our first evening at Hog Island.
The view of the "Queen Mary," one of the main buildings on Hog Island, that connects to the dock.
Early morning bird walks with Kenn Kaufman (holding scope).
Ospreys nest on the Island.
And guillemots scour the bay.
Bald Eagles also nest on Hog Island.
(Lots of guillemots.)
An Upland Sandpiper, believe it or not.
Singing Savannah Sparrow.
Rubythroats buzz about the gardens.
Here, Scott Weidensaul bands one of them.
Eiders live not too far from us.
Here, females are attempting to sneak their young by this hungry Great Black-backed Gull.
Our first view of Eastern Egg Rock...
..home of puffins...
...and more puffins...
...and more puffins...
We got to land on the island (thank you Steve!) and see birds up close, like this feisty Common Tern.
The gulls and terns were none too happy with people walking through their colony! I got pecked on the head more than once...
But boy, was it worth it. Common Tern feeding a chick, perhaps only a day or two old.
More puffins, of course.
But more terns too. Here's a Roseate.
Common Tern chicks seemed to be the only young terns to have hatched this early in the month.
But guillemots were raising young too.
Leach's Storm-Petrels, not often seen by the light of day so close to land, also nest on Eastern Egg Rock.
Arctic Terns definitely had quite a presence on this tiny 7-acre island.
This one has a geolocator attached to its leg.
Did I mention there were guillemots?
If you sat still, they'd return to their favorite rock, even when you were 20 feet away...
Another cooperative Roseate.
ANOTHER RAZORB-- oh, that's a decoy.
We also took a gorgeous hike through the interior of the island.
Lots of neat habitats.
The understory was incredibly healthy.
A far cry from what I'm used to in NY.
Insectivorous pitcher plants were cool to see.
The beach was pretty neat too.
A trip to the mainland brought us this really cooperative Virginia Rail.
And in honor of International Guillemot Appreciation Day:
Quite a celebration. I guess guillemots are pretty cool birds.
And as the sun goes down on the last day of camp...
...it couldn't be any more pleasant.
Until next year...