Long-billed Murrelet off the mouth of the Little River today 20090811
- Hey everyone,
I'm not exactly sure what is going on but the rash of LBMU sightings
Here is my report to the CBRC.
about 700 meters offshore of Little River mouth N41.03198 W124.12695
Length of time seen:
Circumstances of observation:
While conducting a Marbled Murrelet surveys, we happened upon this bird.
Vince Slabe was surveying the starboard side, I was surveying the port side
and Moe Morrissette was piloting the boat. Moe was driving the boat at about
17km per hour. Vince and I spotted two small Brachyramphus murrelets about
10 meters on his side of the transect line. He began to speak data on these
birds into his voice recorder. I then looked at the birds and I identified
the birds and an adult Marbled Murrelet in mostly alternate plumage and an
adult Long-billed Murrelet also in mostly breeding plumage. When I first
saw the bird through binoculars it was about 120 meters away.. I looked at
the bird through 10x25 Zeiss binoculars and it took but an instant to IDed
it as a Long-billed Murrelet. I reached for my video camera. Moe got his
camera as well and Moe and then Vince proceeded to cautiously follow the
bird and Moe and I documented the sighting.
Detailed description (including age, plumage and sex if known):
Age: After Hatch Year
Plumage: mostly Alternate
Small size indicated one of the small alcids. This bird had white lower half
of the face, a white front part of the neck and a white bib. It's hind
crown/nape area had two whitish areas on either side of the midline. The
remainer of the bird's plumage was a dark brownish coloration. The
interface between and light and dark was reminiscent of the Xantus's
Murrelets and the Craveri's Murrelets in that the interface went
horizontally across the cheek of the bird and then vertically down the side
of the neck with no white collar, such that you see on one of it congeners.
This bird had a few bits of dark feathering on the white chest but not as
extensive as the two Del Norte birds.
I compared images of this bird with images of the 20090731 Eel River bird. It
appears to differ in the following ways. 1) The Eel River bird had a single
white scapular on its right side. This bird lacks the white scapular
feather. and 2) the Eel River bird had 3 white patches on the nape. This
bird showed only two. For these reasons, I believe it is a different
As I mentioned initially it was with a Marbled Murrelet as we tried to get
closer for photos the two birds seperated easily and neither appeared upset.
Often Marbled Murrelet pairs will call and be reluctant to separate and will
often fly off together.
Describe the bird�s song and call, if given, including method of delivery
(i.e. from perch, in flight, duration):
Silent in our viewing period
What is your prior experience with this and similarly-appearing species.
Light conditions and Optical equipment used
: bright fog Zeiss 10x25
Approximate distance: at the closest 35m and the farthest 120m and maybe 50m
Other observers who saw the bird with you:
Moe Morrissette, and Vince Slabe
Other observers who saw the bird independently:
If photographed, type of equipment (please attach digital images to your
Moe has a digital point and shoot. I have a Sony HD video camera
List books, illustrations, recordings, other birders, etc. consulted and how
this influenced your identification:a) at time of observation: noneb) after
Date report was written:
August 11, 2009
WORK: USDA Forest Service, Redwood Sciences Lab, Bird Monitoring Lab, 1700
Bayview Dr., Arcata CA 95521
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