Just prior to our first-ever trip to Maine this summer, we heard we’d have a chance to meet up with Puffins.
“You know — the bird with the clown bill that’s on the cereal box,” said my friend Peter, a Maine native.
You have to travel to a remote island to see the Puffins, he told me, but they’re amazing. Not to mention cute. The kind of amazingly cute that made me crazy for birding in the first place.
Early one morning, Anders and I boarded a boat along with a couple dozen other tourists for the 20-mile trek out to sea. The destination was Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge, a nesting site for 500 pairs of Atlantic Puffins monitored by The National Audubon Society.
Guaranteed close-up views of Puffins and seals are the main reason to pay $75 each for the five-hour trip – but some of us hoped to spy other birds that, like the Puffin, live far out at sea: Shearwaters, Storm-Petrels, Jeagers, Razorbills and Guillemots. (Thank heaven for a self-identified “bird nerd” who stood in the stern pointing out each species as they came along.)