Common Eider

Hello: my name is Katelyn Shelton, and this year, I got to participate in one of the most memorable bird camps I’ve been to yet; and it would be my pleasure to thank you, Columbus Audubon, for supporting my passion and making this wonderful adventure possible. My time spent in Maine was full of winding hiking trails, a salty ocean breeze, newfound friends, and yes, more and more lovely birds.

Our journey to Eastern Egg Rock Island would have to be my favorite part of the whole trip. The boat ride went by fast, but was filled with new and exciting birds along the way, like Long-tailed Ducks, Surf Scoters, and Roseate Terns; we even witnessed Harbor Seals “porpoise-ing,” or jumping out of the water like dolphins (super cool)! It wasn’t long before our first Atlantic Puffin made a fly-by. The whole boat’s weight shifted as all us birders leaned in for a view! Eastern Egg Rock was in view by then, a small spit of land covered in Gulls, Terns, Gullimonts, Puffins, and Razorbills. Landing on the island by row boat and walking inland through the diving swarms of terns was exhilarating, and I savored every second of it. I even chose not to wear a stick upon my head. I wanted the experience, whether I was going to get a hole in my hat or not! And meeting the birds up close and personal in my blind was magical; I could’ve stayed there all day.

The entire trip (which is so very hard to sum up ) rounds up to 117 different species of birds, not counting all the other insects, mammals, fishes, shell fishes, and plants. The Atlantic was responsible for pulling up a nice 13 lifers for me; each one of them were so different in characteristics and personalities if feels like much more! It’s amazing so see how a single different habitat can conjure up such unique birds.

I’ve never felt more comfortable in a place like Hog Island; it comes very close to my home in Ohio. I knew no one there, yet I built the strongest bonds I ever had with my new friends. Even now, separated by thousands of miles, we still talk and joke, identify and share. I can’t wait for a chance to see any of them.

None of this would’ve happened if it weren’t for your belief and support in me. I’d give you all a hug if I could. Thank you so much for this adventure; for the trip to my home away from home.

Katelyn Shelton