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.
The Red-breasted Merganser had a bad hair day! Well.. that can be expected after 100 mph flying. I wouldn’t mind scooping that little chick and bring it home. So cute! Your blog always teaches me the wonder of the natural world. Wonderful posting and photographs! Got D800 back yet?
I have to agree with Kee, above, your blog is always so informative about the wildlife you “capture.” I always learn something new from it and today the choice bit of info was the diet of the bullfrog … what an appetite and stomach! The photos of the birds are so charming today, especially momma and baby Red-breasted Mergansers. Love their wild “hair” and how lucky were you to see them together swimming and fishing? The Common Eider is an odd fellow, too. After reading that he is the largest duck in the Northern Hemisphere you make me wish you had a photo with him and another type of duck so that we could see how large he is … you pique my curiosity which is a product of great writing! Kudos on your photography and writing!
Your photographs speak for themselves; loud, crisp, clear, colorful, and captivating. Kudos to the photographer and his endless patience.
I have been waiting for several weeks for another of your fabulous photographs along with such detailed descriptions, and tonight you especially left me without any more adjectives I could use to describe what you have been doing.
Have you ever thought of somehow putting these together for a slideshow so you might share our good fortune with those who may not have computer equipment and who are not able to travel and see the magnificent products of nature all around us? People at the Towers, for instance, I know would be enthralled at all you have seen and photographed so beautifully. I learn so much each time you send us more of where you have been and what you have been photographing. I would love to have a “cocktail table book” of your work so family and friends can enjoy it when they come to visit.
You bring such beauty and knowledge into the lives of us who are fortunate to be on your email list. Until next time–and make it soon.
Sorry to keep you waiting…maybe you missed my article on the flowers I photographed in Maine. Nevertheless, thank you for the very positive feedback, comments and suggestions. Such comments are inspirational and help to keep me motivated.