Thick-billed Murre and more at Hampton Harbor

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A Thick-billed Murre at Hampton Harbor today.

Luckily a real birder who was watching birds a short distance away from me posted her checklist from the same time and location to eBird.org and that helped me figure out what kind of (unfamiliar, locally rare) bird it was.

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The murre was near a female Common Eider duck.

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There were Common Loons too.

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And those sharp little Red-breasted Mergansers.

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Murres are alcids, in the same family as puffins and auks. They look more auk-like when they are out of the water: photo.

A common bird of the far northern oceans, the Thick-billed Murre is found in Arctic waters all across the globe. It remains up to the limits of pack ice in winter, using its wings to swim underwater to find its fish and invertebrate prey.

The temperatures here are supposed to plummet to near-Arctic ranges in the next few days, so our visiting murre will feel right at home.

Cool Facts: The Thick-billed Murre is one of the deepest underwater divers of all birds, regularly descending to depths of more than 100 m, and occasionally below 200 m. It can remain submerged for more than three minutes.

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