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Loon from central California?

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Old Thursday 10th January 2019, 07:19   #1
vbnut
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Loon from central California?

I saw this bird in the middle of the afternoon on 2017-11-22 at Moss Landing Harbor (15 miles North of Monterey, California). It was sitting on the sand and I suspect it was injured. I'm guessing its a loon, but I've never seen one out of the water. Maybe a Common Loon or a Pacific Loon?

I'd be grateful for help identifying it.
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Old Thursday 10th January 2019, 07:25   #2
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Originally Posted by vbnut View Post
I saw this bird in the middle of the afternoon on 2017-11-22 at Moss Landing Harbor (15 miles North of Monterey, California). It was sitting on the sand and I suspect it was injured. I'm guessing its a loon, but I've never seen one out of the water. Maybe a Common Loon or a Pacific Loon?

I'd be grateful for help identifying it.
That's a Common Murre.

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Old Thursday 10th January 2019, 10:09   #3
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Yes, Common Murre in Winter plumage. In the UK they are generally pelagic in winter so I would think unusual to see one sitting on the sand. Has there been bad weather recently to cause a 'wreck'?
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Old Thursday 10th January 2019, 11:57   #4
Jos Stratford
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Yes, Common Murre in Winter plumage. In the UK they are generally pelagic in winter so I would think unusual to see one sitting on the sand. Has there been bad weather recently to cause a 'wreck'?
There hasn't been any untoward weather in Monterey Bay in the last few weeks, but plenty of Common Murre in the area, very close inshore - remember a deep water drop off exists very close off the Californian coast at this point, so usually pelagic species are very often practically on the coast here. Guess this is an ill bird to actually be on the beach.
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Old Friday 11th January 2019, 06:31   #5
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Thanks everyone. I'm glad I asked, especially since I was on the wrong track.
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Old Friday 11th January 2019, 10:11   #6
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There hasn't been any untoward weather in Monterey Bay in the last few weeks, but plenty of Common Murre in the area, very close inshore - remember a deep water drop off exists very close off the Californian coast at this point, so usually pelagic species are very often practically on the coast here. Guess this is an ill bird to actually be on the beach.
Agree it's likely ill when it's on the beach, but they aren't particularly deep-water birds - although capable of diving to around 180 m, they spend a lot of time fishing in water just 5-10 m deep
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Old Friday 11th January 2019, 11:51   #7
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Agree it's likely ill when it's on the beach, but they aren't particularly deep-water birds, they spend a lot of time fishing in water just 5-10 m deep
Not in Monterey Bay do they spend a lot of time in waters 5-10 metres deep. Common Murres are common in inshore waters off Monterey, but the vast bulk of them are encountered in areas a hundred metres deep and much more.

Was in this area a month ago and, as in previous trips, the shallowest bay water held predominantly various grebes, common loons, pelicans etc, plus gulls, etc. Murres became more common as you passed the headlands and hit the open water, which in Monterey immediately means relatively deep water. If I remember well, it was well over 100 metres when Murre numbers started to increase and we were still seeing plenty of Common Murres in waters 1000 metres deep. Of course, this still means close to the shore.
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