Field Notes

David Fix
33. by David Fix on July 02, 2011 at 10:24 pm

These birds nest as far as 60 miles inland in British Columbia, and have been detected in the snow-zone forests above 4000' in the n. Washington Cascades. The Santa Cruz Mountains (CA) population, a somewhat genetically distinctive group that was once fairly large, is rapidly declining toward complete disappearance. The only region along the WA/OR/CA coast where statistically significant long-term decline has not occurred is between Coos Bay OR and Humboldt Bay CA (USFWS). After-hatch-year Marbled Murrelets can acquire basic plumage by mid-summer (according to the calendar): thus, a black-and-white bird in Aug is not necessarily a juvenile. On such a murrelet, look for remnant dusky feathers on the belly in the instant the bird dives, if views allow. Marbled Murrelets have been timed at up to 98 mph on radar (over-forest flights; Pacific Seabird Group) and are, as well, the fastest-flying small seabird typically observed on West Coast birding boat trips. Their posture afloat is quite plastic--they can sit with heads hunched down or else stretch the neck well up and look around for long moments. Birds in a feeding flock of 4-7 or so will customarily resurface from a dive in the same position on the water from which they dove.

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Citation: Personal Experience. I observe this regularly, highly confident.

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Date Submitted By Count
02/22/14 Bob Archer #
10/05/13 Bob Archer #
12/31/11 Marjolein Schat, NJ #
12/26/11 Joe Blowers, OR #
12/12/11 Dave Irons, OR 4
05/14/11 Jon Leland 2
04/09/11 Dave Irons, OR 2
10/03/09 robbie wheeling 0

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David Fix added a note to Marbled Murrelet Notes 7/02/2011 at 10:24PM