[Tweeters] Re: Large gathering of birds in Puget Sound (Carr Inlet) - Loons?

Sarah Guenther sarahguenther8 at gmail.com
Thu Mar 12 21:37:05 PDT 2015


Thanks, John. I think you're right about the Western Grebes.

I searched some info and I'm quite certain you are right. About the wing
flapping, my Audubon bird app shows a picture of a Western Grebe doing
exactly that. And the size and coloring fits, too.

Lastly, ebird.org shows several sightings of Western Grebes near Carr Inlet
in large numbers like I saw (400, 550, 150) at a similar time of year.

Thanks so much for your help.

Sarah

On Thu, Mar 12, 2015 at 9:01 PM, John Riegsecker <jriegsecker at pobox.com>
wrote:


> Hi Sarah,

>

> I think we can rule out Loons. As you observed, there are loons around,

> but not in those numbers. One possibility is Western Grebe. They

> certainly appear in those numbers, they tend to form lines, they have

> longish necks, the front of their necks are white, the backs dark, dark

> bodies and heads. The only thing is I don't often seem them rise up and

> flap their wings.

>

> Another possibility might be Common Merganser. There are many Common

> Mergansers in the area around Fox Island and they tend to form lines and

> rise up and flap their wings. However, they don't meet the other criteria

> as well.

>

>

> Far across the inlet at the end of the day I spotted a large number of

>>

>> birds, mostly in groups of 30-50, probably 250 in all. They were far away

>>

>> and back-lit, so even with my scope they were difficult to identify. To

>> me,

>>

>> they looked like Loons, either Common or Pacific. Do Loons gather in large

>>

>> numbers like this? Maybe they were following a fish run? They were mostly

>>

>> bunched up in a long group, but other groups were strung out more

>> sparsely.

>>

>> It's possible the entire 250 birds were not all the same bird, but they

>>

>> certainly looked similar (but being so far they all looked like black and

>>

>> white dots).

>>

>>

>>

>> What I could see was a white neck and body, dark head, dark back of neck,

>>

>> and dark body (as far as I could tell). Many of them were rising up to

>> flap

>>

>> their wings so I could see their white bellies. It was hard to

>> distinguish

>>

>> size being so far away, but I don't think they were cormorants because

>> they

>>

>> weren't swimming down in the water. I did spot some Marbled Murrelets,

>>

>> Pigeon Guillemots, a Common Loon closer into shore, close enough to

>>

>> identify, so these birds are around our area at this time.

>>

>>

>>

>> Thoughts? I'm new to birding on the Puget sound so I'm still learning what

>>

>> to expect. I'd appreciate any help.

>>

>>

>>

>> Sarah G.

>>

>

>

> --

> John Riegsecker

>

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