Rare creatures spotted in Maine


Penobscot East Resource Center photo

Two reports of rare sightings of different creatures in Maine caught my eye in my social media feeds Friday morning.

One, from Penobscot East Resource Center in Stonington, shows a picture of a lobster. Maine, where fishermen harvested 121 million pounds of lobster last year, is no stranger to the crustacean, but this was not any average brownish-purple lobster.

This one, caught recently by Deer Isle fishermen Broddie and Matt Eaton, is of a pale blue or whitish hue.

Unusually colored lobsters, while uncommon, do turn up in Maine on a fairly regular basis. Blue lobsters, which sometimes get hauled up from the bottom, occur once out of every 2 million lobsters or so. Another half-bright red, half normal lobster caught off Owls Head in 2013 was said to be a one-in-50-million creature.

The whitish one caught off Deer Isle? That coloration, according to PERC, occurs approximately once out of every 100 million lobsters. So, yeah, that’s pretty unusual.


The other sighting involves an animal less well known in Maine. Actually, it is an “extremely rare” species, according to the Audubon Society.

In a post on the society’s website, Audubon indicated that a Great Knot bird was spotted by a researchers on an offshore Maine island on July 23. The species is considered to be globally endangered and are rarely seen in North America because, according to the post, it “breeds in the northern reaches of Siberia and spends its summers in the heat of the Australian sun.”

So, in other words, this one was really, really lost.

“Many shorebird species, such as Great Knots, travel thousands of miles each year to get to their nesting sites. If they happen to get mixed up along the way, it’s not so strange for them to fly thousands more [miles] off course,” the Audubon post indicates.

Exactly where the bird was spotted is not clear, however, because the post alternately refers to Machias Seal Island, which is an island between Cutler and Grand Manan Island that claimed by both the U.S. and Canada, and to Seal Island, which is roughly between Matinicus and Isle Au Haut.

If you click on location links on the Audubon site, however, it shows you maps of Seal Island (not Machias Seal Island), so my guess is that is where it was seen.

Keenan Yakola photo


Bill Trotter

About Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors. He writes about fisheries, marine-related topics, eastern coastal Maine communities and more for the BDN. He lives in Ellsworth. Follow him on Twitter at @billtrotter.