[Tweeters] Sunday Thick-billed Murre yes!

Gary Bletsch garybletsch at yahoo.com
Sun Feb 10 19:04:53 PST 2013

Dear Tweeters,
Thanks once again to everyone who responded to my RFI on the Thick-billed Murre.
Bob Kuntz and I picked up Vince Lucas this morning (2-10-2013) and headed over to Port Angeles, where we found the bird
in under fifteen minutes of searching. It was seen from Ediz Hook, looking eastward, despite glaring morning sun. Usual
caveat applies--one must not complain about sunshine in Western Washington.
The Thick-billed Murre was not by the vessel where it often hangs out, but by a similar huge ship, also blue, anchored off to the left of the Polar Adventure, and a bit farther away. I think she was named the Polar Endeavour or Polar Egregiousness or something like that. The bird also spent some time near a vessel with an odd name, Jam Lok or thereabouts--a slightly smaller, black-and-red ship. At one point, the erstwhile "Bruennich's Guillemot" swam relatively closer, granting great views.
Although I am perhaps stepping out on a limb here, I think that a person who looks carefully at a lot of Common Murres would quickly pick this bird out as "something different," at the very least. The bill is thick and stubby-looking. Looking at the bird head-on, the converging black of the sides of the breast make a "V." The upperparts are quite black, not slaty. Never did the bill take on the "wise-guy-with-a-stogie-held-at-a-jaunty-angle" look that Common Murres usually present.
Then again, as I am fond of pointing out, the only other time I'd seen this species, I took a video of them on their nest site in Iceland--and on my narration, I call them Common Murres! Which is when I learned the cardinal--or at least arch-episcopic--rule, viz, don't say the bird's name on the video!
We were unable to find the Ruddy Turnstone or Rock Sandpiper, but had a jolly time birding in Port Angeles in great weather. We also visited a very busy Elwha River mouth, where we saw quite a nice flock of gulls, including several Thayer's, plus a couple of girls taking a leashed cat for a walk--another lifer for everyone in the group.
Yours truly,

Gary Bletsch

Near Lyman, Washington (Skagit County), USA

garybletsch at yahoo.com

"Nun," sagte ich, "wenn ich ein Taugenichts bin, so ist's gut, so will ich in die Welt gehen, und mein Glueck machen." Und eigentlich war mir das recht lieb, denn es war mir kurz vorher selber eingefallen, auf Reisen zu gehen, da ich die Goldammer, welche im Herbst und Winter immer betruebt an unserm Fenster sang: "Bauer, miet' mich, Bauer, miet' mich!" nun in der schoenen Fruehlingszeit wieder ganz stolz und lustig vom Baume rufen hoerte: "Bauer, behalt' deinen Dienst!"

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