[Tweeters] Multiple Thick-billed Murres - A Caution

Ryan Shaw rtshaw80 at hotmail.com
Thu Jan 10 18:56:45 PST 2013

Greetings all,
There have been several reports of multiple Thick-billed Murres from Ediz Hook from the last week. I wanted to post an urge of caution regarding this. I was out on Ediz Hook last Sunday with many other birders looking at the basic plumaged Thick-billed Murre.
Before the actual Thick-billed Murre was spotted, (and photographed by Ryan Merrill http://www.flickr.com/photos/rjm284/8355994607/in/photostream) there were several Common Murres in full breeding plumage that were thought to be the Thick-billed Murre by several observers, some quite experienced. These Common Murres definitely stood out from the more numerous winter plumaged Common Murres, showing much more of a contrast between the black and white of the underparts, and were hanging out in the area that the multiple Thick-bills have been reported from recently Upon careful scrutiny of these birds they were IDed as Common Murres. Be aware that their are many Common Murre out there already in breeding plumage. The winter plumaged Thick-billed Murre stood out from even them - Thick neck, short bill and glaring white flanks, which can be seen in the photo attached as a hyperlink.
While I'm not saying that it's impossible for there to be 2-3 Thick-billed Murres at Ediz Hook, it is extremely unlikely and any other individuals should be fully documented with photographs and submitted to the WBRC. This should be possible by either photographing with a long telephoto lens or digiscoping with a point and shoot or smart phone camera.
Ryan ShawTacomartshaw80 at hotmail.com

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