Monday, October 1, 2012

Canada Cruise, Day 2 - 22 Sep 2012

Portland, ME

The day did not start off well.  We arrived in port just after 7 am, with tours starting as early as 8 am.  Only 1 buffet line was open in the Garden Cafe, and with a boat-load of old people up before 6 am tempers were flaring because of the fears of missing the tours.  While Robin waited 1st in line for a 2nd buffet line to open, I jumped into the kiddy buffet line - it was open, and there were no kids on board!

We managed to eat and get off the boat in time for our 8 am tour of downtown Portland.  Our bus tour was enjoyable, seeing the sights of the city and learning a bit of history. I say a 'bit' because our tour guide was a bit scattered - she kept drifting from one thought to a completely different one without ever finishing a complete thought.  We got a kick out of her.

The downtown sights were difficult to photograph.  It was raining when we left the boat, and heavy clouds and fog made for poor photographs through the wet windows of a moving bus. So I pocketed the camera until we reached our first destination: the lighthouse at Portland Head Light!

We only had 20 minutes at the historic lighthouse, so I ran down behind the gift shop to photograph the rocky shoreline.


A flock of Common Eiders were drifting about 30 yds from shore, so I set up the scope and tripod and proceeded to digiscope the female/juvenile brown sea ducks.





 A Great Black-backed Gull was battling the winds and drifted by, providing some nice flight shots.  Another bird was perched on the rocks just on the other side of the fence, so I spent some time digiscoping it.





The other end of the lighthouse held a few more Common Eiders, so I digiscoped them before running back to the bus.

Our next stop was a schooner ride in the bay around Portland.  With rain and fog moving in Robin decided to walk back to the ship. I hopped on board the schooner with 20 other brave souls and we headed out into the bay.  The pier itself was quite interesting and provided some nice photo opps even before we got on the boat.


As we drifted out into the bay a swimming Double-crested Cormorant appeared next to the schooner.  I managed to get a couple shots before it dove.

A nice view of the Norwegian Dawn from the water.

We passed several fishing boats and numerous crab lines in the bay.  One boat was pulling in its haul and a fisherman was tossing back those crabs and lobsters that were either too small or too large to keep.  I managed to capture a few CIF (crustaceans-in-flight) shots.




Light rain and heavy fog moved in as we passed the Portland Head Light, so I took some pics of the lighthouse beacon. Another cruise ship moving into the harbor provided a ghostly view.


A Common Eider appeared next to a bouy and provided a nice close-up before diving.  Farther out near shore a pair of Common Loons were seen, as was a single Black Guillemot (non-breeding plumage).


As luck would have it the sun would come out just as we returned to dock.  But that was ok, since there weren't too many birds out in the bay, anyway.  A nice view of Fort Gorgeous was had, which we had seen first thing in the morning as pulled into the port town.

Back on board I spotted a tiny raft of Common Eiders next to the ship, so I digiscoped them from our 9th deck balcony.  Another Great Black-backed Gull came in close enough, so it got digiscoped, as well.




A hot-stone massage and dinner awaited us, so we packed up the camera gear for the day.  Tomorrow we'll be in Halifax, Nova Scotia!

1 comment:

Mary W. said...

Nice! When I was there in 2001 in late Aug./early Sept., the eiders were all in eclipse. Are any of the males out of it yet?

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