[Tweeters] Westport Seabirds Feb 13 Trip Addendum: No Horned Puffin, but...

Cara Borre cmborre1 at gmail.com
Fri Feb 18 08:36:39 PST 2022

A humbling alcid ID trip became more so for me last night when my partner,
Asta Tobiassen, discovered she had captured images of the "presumed Horned
Puffin". Her images showed more of the bird, including the head and full
bill which was light orange, like the feet, but morphologically that of a
Common Murre, not a puffin.

With some help from fellow Westport Seabirds spotters, this bird was
recognized as a leucistic Common Murre. Few images exist of this mutation
in murres, but if you search you will find a few. I found no images of the
bird in flight and couldn't find much to explain the orange feet and bill.
A lack of melanin appears to be responsible.

While a Horned Puffin would have been awesome (I never saw it, so removed
it from my list prior to this revelation) a leucistic Common Murre is
rarer. This 7 alcid day, including one very uncommon murre, still
qualifies as an alcid extravaganza, maybe more so.

Cara Borre
Gig Harbor
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