[Tweeters] RE: Very unusual common murre interaction, West Point

BRAD bradliljequist at msn.com
Sun Jun 28 21:05:39 PDT 2015

Sorry I didn't leave my name - Brad Liljequist, Seattle, WA

From: bradliljequist at msn.com
To: tweeters at u.washington.edu
Subject: Very unusual common murre interaction, West Point
Date: Mon, 29 Jun 2015 03:48:51 +0000

Hi Tweets,
Had a very unusual thing happen today. Was floating around in my Avon inflatable dinghy on the north shore of West Point, enjoying bobbing with the Auklets (and a couple of Murrelet flybys). I was on the shore a bit and noticed an immature common murre struggling to get onto a buoy about 200' off shore. It looked actually like it possibly was caught in line or a net because it was flapping its wings a lot. It finally got onto the buoy, but then slid off. Something was up, so I decided to investigate.
As I got close to the buoy, the murre made a beeline for the boat. He got to it and I sat while he proceeded to try to get onto the oar, chew on it, and then flapped his way onto the pontoon not one foot from me. Obviously I was astonished - was he fatigued, hungry, both, or ? I sat still looking at him, he looking at me. Then he slipped off the pontoon, dived, and was underwater for a decent amount of time, before he emerged about fifty feet away.
I went back to the shore, where I chatted with my wife and her cousin about the whole situation. Was it exhausted? Hungry? Rabid? We watched it try to get back on the buoy, only to fall off again three minutes later or so. I decided to head back out with some pieces of wood for it to more easily perch on. We got out to it, left our wood floating in the water, and it started to very aggressively follow us all the way back to shore. About twenty five feet out he stopped, continued to look at us, then headed back out to the wood, where he tried to perch with minor success.
I should also mention that it flapped its wings a lot and was preening quite a bit.
After the wood perching episode, he headed west, and rounded West Point, out of sight.

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