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Long-billed Murrelet in Humboldt co

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  • Elias Elias
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 17, 2008
      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

      Other species:

      Number, sex, age, general plumage: one mostly alternate plumaged adult
      unknown sex

      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

      City: Arcata

      State: CA

      Zip: 95521

      Phone: 559-433-7254


      E-mail: fabflockfinder@...

      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.

      Photographs: yes

      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:

      Elias Elias
      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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