Bird photography at Machias Seal Island





Bird photography at Machias Seal Island is a guest post by long-term reader AnimalsByBarry which many of you probably know from the comments section of NikonRumos and PhotoRumors (If you have an interesting idea for a guest post, you can contact me here):

This article is mostly to share great wildlife photography locations rather than going into a lot of detail about equipment. These places are so good that you can get great pictures no matter what you use. I paint animals, and my photos are only used as a reference for my paintings. You can visit my website to see what I paint, or check out my Roadrunner pages where I will post articles about great locations and lots of photos.

The Machias Seal Island photos were taken with Nikon D810, Nikon 200-400 F4 VR II and teleconverter:

The photos of Loons, Moose and Waxwing were taken with Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600 G2 and .4x teleconverter. These were taken in Maine, on the way to Cutler where the Puffin boat departs:

The Machias Seal Island photos were taken with Nikon D810 Nikon 200-400 F4 VR II and teleconverter

The highlight of the trip through Maine is Machias Seal Island. In the Atlantic Ocean, 10 miles off the coast of New Brunswick. This small rock island is host to thousands of nesting Atlantic Puffins, Razorbills, Common Murres, Arctic Terns, Eider Ducks and even a possible Northern Gannet. On the way are colonies of Seals.

Access to these highly protected nesting sites is extremely limited. Several tour boats will take you around these colonies, and you can photograph them from the boat. Machias Seal Island is actually disputed territory claimed by both the US and Canada. Only one single boat per day from the US, and a single boat from Canada are allowed to bring people ashore and they are only allowed to bring 15 passengers per trip.

When you arrive you will be given specific instruction where to go and what to do. It is absolutely imperative for the protection of the birds that you follow these instructions.

You will be allowed to photograph the birds from one of 4 blinds, and the birds will come very close. On the trip back Captain Patterson will circle the island so you can get more pictures of the birds flying, swimming, and on the shore. He will also circle a colony of seals that you can photograph from the boat.

The US boat departs from Cutler Harbor and is operated by Bold Coast Charter Company. Reservations for the season do not begin until Jan 1 and they always sell out very quickly. Trips are also dependent on the weather so there is always a risk you may not be able to make the trip, but make no mistake that this trip is a “bucket list” experience.

See also this guest post by Barry:

Mean, green, D850 machine (Nikon D850 camera camo conversion)

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