Winter’s Walk

A Shearwater Excursion To See The Humpbacks

I had the thrill to board Captain Blair Perkin’s catamaran, the Shearwater, for a whale watch tour. Left from Town Pier at 8 am, was fortunate to see clear blue skies, quiet winds, and a glassy sea as we rounded Great Point and headed to the waters off the Outer Cape. It was an amazing experience when he turned off the engines and began to drift amongst the 75 or so Humpback Whales that were rolling, diving, and breaching in the waters. Best part was when Blair looked like a Georgia boy at a Hog Killin’ when he excitedly instructed everyone to take deep breath to take in a smell “that says ‘ocean’ to me,” the smell of the breath of dozens of whales spouting right around the boat. Here are the shots:

(the boat’s namesake, the Greater Shearwater)

Check it out: Explore Nantucket with Shearwater Excursions
Captain Blair’s blog

Madaket Ospreys

We had the thrill this morning to go with Dr. Bob Kennedy and his Maria Mitchell team to band the 6 week old osprey chick at Madaket. The nest sits atop a 50-foot high pole, overlooking Long Pond. As you climb the ladder to the chick, the parents circle overhead, complaining loudly. The chicks, fortunately, play dead. They’re brought down peacefully in a canvas bag, and a band is applied to its white foot without a struggle.

James was able to hold the chick.

And I was able to climb the ladder to take a picture of the chick back in its nest.

Click here for more information about Maria Mitchell Association and Dr. Bob Kennedy’s osprey research program, as well as the amazing adventures of Mr. Hannah, the Nantucket osprey banded with a solar-powered GPS transmitter.

A Coatue Nursery

It’s May and that means it is time for the Coatue to turn into a Sea Gull nursery. The Great Black-backed Gulls, huge, formidable birds, start first. The Herring Gulls and other species will start nesting soon as well and, come June, it will be hard to walk out on the Coatue without upsetting the parents or stepping on their precocial, dark, mottled young.

They nest on the ground, grouped together in noisy colonies, in large, comfortable, inconspicuous nests, and all (at least that we saw today) seem to lay three, large, dark, speckled eggs.

They’re intelligent, resourceful birds, and I experienced some of this today. They’re known for exhibiting mobbing behaviour, and as I approached one nest (still from afar, as I was using a long lens), this gull at first circled around me in the air and, when that did not work, flew away and came back with an army of about 30 gulls to harass me into leaving. It worked.

Waiting on the Steamship with the Wharf Birds

Wharf Pigeon

Madaket birds

Was hoping to find a bluebird.

Trust me. This was an awesome bird, never before seen on Nantucket. It was just too fast to the wing.

My job’s done here.

Single mother.

A gang of swallows.

(Thanks to Michael Galvin for the long lens loaner!)

Waterfront Birds 5/19/2009

Peeking Duck

Peeking Duck

Red Winged Blackbird

Red Winged Blackbird

Sesachacha Pond, fog, geese

sunrise, May 16, 2009

A few moments in the gloaming…

© 2009 ackdoc - Greg Hinson, MD 508/325-9981 Purchasing help RSS feed