If you have been following my blog recently, you know that I spent two weeks on Mount Desert Island in Maine in June, and while there, I photographed some of the island’s breathtaking views, wildflowers, and wildlife that live on or near the island. In previous blog articles, I included images of some of the wildlife to include Puffins, Common Loons, and Grey Seals. In this article, I am including some images of a few other wildlife species that I saw and photographed.
The opening image is of a female Red-breasted Merganser and its newly hatched chick that I photographed on Jordan’s Pond in Acadia National Park. Red-breasted Mergansers are large diving ducks found on lakes, rivers and the ocean, but prefer saltwater over freshwater. However, they typically breed and raise their young on lakes and rivers. As seen in the above and below images, they have very spiked rust-colored crests and long narrow bills with serrated edges for catching and holding their prey. They are one of the fastest, if not the fastest, level-flying birds, reaching speeds of 100 mph.
Red-breasted Mergansers swim with their heads submerged while looking for prey, as can be seen in the below image. When they spot a fish or other prey, they dive to catch it. It was amazing to see this very young merganser following its mother around doing the same thing at such a young age. They must instinctively know how to hunt for their food.
I was able to follow the mergansers for quite awhile as they worked the shoreline for food, but eventually, they swam toward the middle of the lake. However, before they left, I was able to capture the below heart warming image. (Merganser images taken with a Nikon D800 and 28-300mm lens.)
When I was at Echo Lake in Acadia National Park photographing three Peregrine Falcon fledglings, I learned about a Pileated Woodpecker nest in a tree cavity on the other side of the island. I was excited about the opportunity of seeing and photographing nesting Pileated Woodpeckers, so the next morning I went to the location that was described to me.
Timing is critical in nature photography, and unfortunately, I was a day too late. The woodpeckers had fledged/left the nest. However, I could hear a Pileated Woodpecker deep in the nearby heavily wooded forest. Fledglings often stay near the nest for a short while after fledging, and apparently, there was one nearby. Eventually, I caught a glimpse of a woodpecker flying between the trees. I worked my way into the woods to the place where I saw the woodpecker, and found it on the side of a tree. Although partially blocked by the leaves of a tree, below is the first image I was able to take of the young woodpecker.
When the woodpecker saw me, it flew to the top of a dead tree. I was able to get a few more shots of the woodpecker before it flew off again back into the forest. Below is one of the images of the Pileated Woodpecker fledgling at the top of the old dead tree. (Woodpecker images were taken with a Nikon D800 and 80-400mm lens.)
One morning after photographing the sunrise from the top of Cadillac Mountain, I stopped to photograph the Acadia National Park shoreline in the early morning light and noticed a very unusual duck swimming along the shoreline. It was a male Common Eider, and it worked its way up on the rocks exposed in the low tide to feed on crustaceans and molluscs in the exposed seaweed on the rocks.
Common Eiders are found on northern seacoasts and are the largest ducks in the Northern Hemisphere. The male’s bright white and black plumage contrasts markedly with the female’s camouflaging dull striped brown, which made it stand out against the sunlit rocks covered in seaweed, barnacles and other things growing on the rocks.
While hiking around Mount Desert Island’s lakes and wetlands, I saw and photographed a lot of American Bullfrogs, which make interesting subjects even if you are not “into” frogs. They are particularly interesting when you look closely at their large eyes, markings and colorful bodies, as well as some of their unusual characteristics such as their ability to absorb oxygen and eliminate carbon dioxide through their moist skin and the lining of the mouth. Their diet is interesting too; stomach content studies have shown that bullfrogs prey on any animal it can overpower and stuff down its throat. Bullfrog stomachs have been found to contain rodents, small turtles, snakes, frogs (including bullfrogs), birds, and a bat, as well as the many invertebrates, such as insects, which are their usual food.
Below are a few of my favorite American Bullfrog images from Mount Desert Island. (The frog images were taken with a Nikon D700 or D800 and 28-300mm lens.)
These and other images of the wildlife I photographed in Maine can be seen on my Website at: http://stabone.com/p697190669.