[Tweeters] small, dark alcids, West Seattle -- the answer

Gary Smith gsmith at smithandstark.com
Mon Sep 13 20:47:46 PDT 2010


Thanks to all who commented today on my question. The consensus, very
uniformly, was Rhinoceros Auklets.



Gary T. Smith

Alki Point, West Seattle



From: Gary Smith [mailto:gsmith at smithandstark.com]
Sent: Monday, September 13, 2010 9:36 AM
To: 'tweeters at u.washington.edu'
Subject: question on small, dark alcids, West Seattle



This morning about 7:15 I scoped a line of eight small, chunky, “all-gray”
alcids flying low over the water west of Alki Point, heading south. I
looked for any pattern or signs of light coloration, but didn’t see any.
They were at about ¼ mile out, and the cloud cover was putting a gray cast
on everything, so I’m not dead certain they were gray, but they were at
least darkish all over. It seems to me that the most likely choice would be
Marbled Murrelets. I’ve seen singles and occasionally doubles here this
time of year, but never a group of this size, and I would expect them to be
showing transition to basic plumage by now. I haven’t seen Cassin’s Auklets
here before but they seem like a better fit to what I saw. Do they fly like
this? Groups? Likelihood? Some other species? I’d love to have more
expert opinion. Thanks.





Gary T. Smith

Alki Point, West Seattle





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