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Long-billed Murrelet off the mouth of the Little River today 20090811

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  • Elias Elias
    Hey everyone, I m not exactly sure what is going on but the rash of LBMU sightings continues. Here is my report to the CBRC. Species: Long-billed Murrelet
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 11, 2009
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      Hey everyone,

      I'm not exactly sure what is going on but the rash of LBMU sightings

      Here is my report to the CBRC.

      Long-billed Murrelet
      Number Seen:

      about 700 meters offshore of Little River mouth N41.03198 W124.12695
      Nearest Town:
      Length of time seen:
      15 minutes
      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
      Sex: unknown

      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
      on average
      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
      observation: none

      Reporting observer:
      Elias Elias

      Date report was written:
      August 11, 2009

      Literature cited:

      Elias Elias
      Arcata CA
      559-433-7254 walkie-talkie
      WORK: USDA Forest Service, Redwood Sciences Lab, Bird Monitoring Lab, 1700
      Bayview Dr., Arcata CA 95521

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