To Ralph Eldridge, his job as a lighthouse keeper is not as romantic as people might envision. He has a job to do, and he does it. Ralph’s been doing it forty years.
Puffin at Machias Seal Island by Ralph Eldridge
He’s been a keeper at ten-acre Machias Seal Island, one of the few manned lighthouses in Canada, for fourteen of those years. The island is in a gray zone – an area where no official boundary exists between the United States and Canada, so both claim it. However, the Canadians maintain the lighthouse which was established in 1832 by the request of shipping merchants in St. Andrews while it was still under British control.
Eldridge serves with one other keeper for 28 days at a time before rotating with another pair of keepers. Time on the barren, rocky island could get boring, except for thousands of visitors who come each year.
Puffin Posers by Ralph Eldridge
These visitors are not the human kind though. Machias Seal Island is best known for its large seabird colony, especially puffins, razorbills and murres. Several other species also breed there. To guarantee their protection, an observer from the Canadian Wildlife Service stays on the island from June-July, making sure curious tourists don’t disturb the nesting habitat of the birds.
Puffin party games by Ralph Eldridge
Ralph Eldridge has come to know and appreciate his feathered companions quite well, having observed them over the years. In addition, his hobby of photography has captured their characteristics so thoroughly, the rest of us get a glimpse of their activity on the island.
Dinnertime by Ralph Eldridge
Ralph has been kind enough to share his wonderful photos. His captions are amusing as well. Most of the photos I’ve posted are of puffins, but he has also photographed many other birds and wildlife. You can see more at http://lightrae.ca/
Surfing puffin by Ralph Eldridge
“The birds of the sky nest by the waters;
How many are your works, Lord!
In wisdom you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.” Psalm 104:12a,24