Long-billed Murrelet in Humboldt co
- Since I seem to be on a calbird posting spree, I thought I'd announce to
the statewide birding community that my coworkers and I happened upon a
alternate plumaged LBMU on 7/15/08. It was just 2.8 kilometers south of
the south jetty to humboldt bay at 1200 meters from shore.
You can find more details in my write up to the CBRC: or if you're ADD
like me and just wanna see the pic go to Joe Morlan's webpage
A map may be found at:
California Rare Bird Report
Species: Long-billed Murrelet Brachyramphus perdix
Number, sex, age, general plumage: one mostly alternate plumaged adult
County: HUM - Humboldt
Locality: N40.74460 W124.26070
Date(s) seen: 7/15/2008
Time seen: 0900-0904
Reporting observer: Elias Elias
Address: 141 G Street
Other observers: Moe Morrissette and Jeff Jacobsen
Original finder(s): Elias ELias
Light conditions: overcast good light
Optical equipment: 10 by 25 zeiss victory compacts
Distance: 70-150 meters
Duration of observation: 5 ish minutes
Habitat: nearshore marine waters
Behavior: When I first spotted the bird it was at the surface with another
congener. They were both floating/swimming. We stopped the boat to age the
birds for the on-going Marbled Murrelet Population Study that I have been
assisting with since 1994. Something appeared funny about the bird on the
right. It had a whitish throat with no partial collar on the nape. I
asked JJ to go off transect to check more closely as I thought it
was a candidate LBMU. As we got closer, we made the mistake of heading
directly toward to birds rather than tangentially. The birds reacted by
diving quite far out and never did get used to our presence. Just after
they dove I voiced my ID and asked JJ to get his camera out. I took over
driving while JJ took still shots. We followed the birds for the next 5-6
minutes while JJ squeezed off shots. Finally the birds tired of our pursuit
and took flight flying in the same general direction but not very close.
Neither ever called.
Description: A Brachyramphus murrelet by size and shape. Mostly dark with
white bib flecked with dark feathers. Showed some white in the scapulars.
Toward the end of our sighting did we get close enough to see the white nape
spots. They were VERY small and hard to see.
When the birds took flight the wing flap rate was appreciably slower for the
LBMU than the MAMU.
Also once we looked at the images the tail was not held upright like a wren.
It was held parallel to the water.
Interestingly I did not note a white eyering in the field. and a image shows
the bird as having a mostly dark underwing.
Voice: The bird did not make any sounds
Similar species: This bird had a dark-flecked white throat which contrasted
sharply with the dark of the rest of the body. The interface of the
dark/light went straight down the neck without extending onto the nape as
the pale would in a MAMU.
see description of addition points of separation.
Previous experience: I've seen perhaps 10-20 others while doing MAMU surveys
off southern Oregon and northern California since 1994. I've only submitted
a few of them.
References consulted during observation: none
References consulted after observation: sibley for underwing color
Notes during observation:
Notes immediately after observation:
Notes from memory: on
Are you positive?: Yes
Why not positive:
HOME: 141 G Street Arcata, CA 95521
WORK: USDA Forest Service, Redwood Sciences Lab., Bird Monitoring Lab.,
1700 Bayview Drive Arcata CA 95521
(559) 433-7254 walkie-talkie
My status <skype:eliasaelias?chat>
Get Skype <http://www.skype.com/go/download> and call me for free.
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