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Checklist S3638656

Tahquamenon River Mouth, Chippewa County, Michigan, US ( Map ) ( Hotspot )
Date and Effort
Sun Oct 29, 2006
Party Size:
Tom Auer
1 species total


6th Accepted MBRC Record.

SPECIES: adult non-breeding Ancient Murrelet (Synthliboramphus antiquus)


LOCATION: Tahquamenon Rivermouth, Chippewa County, MI

DATE: 29 October 2006

TIME: 1:00 ¿ 4:30


See photos (no field notes taken).


BEHAVIOR: The bird was first spotted sitting in the water off of the boat launch dock at the mouth of the river. For hours it would continually dive and swim in the deep channel, working both farther out along the beach and very close in (within 20 feet). It made three farther out passes while actively feeding, going almost out of sight (lost for 20 minutes at one point), but eventually returning. For almost the last hour of seeing it at close range, the bird stayed in a tight spot right offshore and dove repeatedly. Finally, in the last half an hour, the bird stopped diving and swam steadily farther out towards open waters and bigger waves, where it was seen preening and never diving. This change in behavior signaled its¿ departure as it was lost from sight sometime around 4:30 PM.

HABITAT: Open water at the mouth of a river, adjacent to a bay of Lake Superior.

SIMILAR SPECIES: A combination of the completely pale bill, striking white sides of the neck that contrast with face and crown, the gray back contrasting with the black nape and crown, white crown streaks, and the gray scalloped flanks make this bird uniquely different from all other Alcids.

EXPERIENCE: I have seen Ancient Murrelet in California once.

OPTICS: 77mm Leica APO Televid with 20-60x Zoom

CONDITIONS: Cloudy, with brisk northwest winds. However, the river mouth was calm as it was protected by high banks and the bridge.

LIGHTING: Bright overcast.

DISTANCE: At the closest, I estimated visually a distance of 20 feet. It would occasionally range out over 200 yards. And when it was last seen, it disappeared in the waves off the river mouth at over 300 yards.

OTHER OBSERVERS: Ken Mettie Jr., Don Jennette, Jerry Colak, Adam Byrne, Steve Santner, and Kirk Zufelt.


REFERENCES: Sibley was used some two hours after the initial discovery to age the bird to adult non-breeding plumage.

This narrative report was written on 29 October 2006.

© Tom Auer

Average Quality

© Tom Auer

Average Quality

© Tom Auer

Average Quality

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