Thursday, September 1, 2011

It's A Penguin Or A Duck, Nope It's A Common Murre

There is this big white rock North of the Sea Lion Caves between Florence and Yachats, Oregon. It looks like it has been painted but it is hundreds, if not thousands of years of bird guano that makes it white. This Summer when we stopped and looked down at the rock it was covered with...Penguins?

Ok, they are not long neck Penguins, and in the water they looked like ducks. What are these things. Well, they were the Common Murre, an abundant penguin-like bird that spends the entire winter at sea but come to ancestral nesting grounds in the Summer.

The Rock is inhabited by breeding pairs from mid-May to August.

"The Common Murre or Common Guillemot (Uria aalge) is a large auk. It is also known as the Thin-billed Murre in North America. It has a circumpolar distribution, occurring in low-Arctic and boreal waters in the North-Atlantic and North Pacific. It spends most of its time at sea, only coming to land to breed on rocky cliff shores or islands.

Common Murres have fast direct flight but are not very agile. They are more manoeuvrable underwater, typically diving to depths of 30–60 m (100–200 ft), and depths of up to 180 m (600 ft) have been recorded.

Common Murres breed in colonies at high densities, nesting pairs may be in bodily contact with their neighbours.' ----Wikipedia

The Murre colony taken from a pull-out on Highway One, the Coast Highway.


BB-Idaho said...

I hope they fare better than their
Atlantic cousins

drlobojo said...

That's interesting. Especially the mention of Gunk Island. I imagine that the surface of that white rock is pretty much gunk.