LOUISIANA BIRD RECORDS COMMITTEE

REPORT FORM

     This form is intended as a convenience in reporting observations of species on the Louisiana Bird Records Committee (LBRC) Review List. The LBRC recommends the use of this form or a similar format when submitting records for review (to assure that all pertinent information is accounted for). Attach additional pages as necessary. Please print or type. Attach xerox of field notes, drawings, photographs, or tape recordings, if available. Include all photos for more obscurely marked species. When completed, mail to Secretary, Louisiana Bird Records Committee, c/o Museum of Natural Science, 119 Foster Hall, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803-3216.

1. English and Scientific names: Common Merganser, Mergus merganser

2. Number of individuals, sexes, ages, general plumage (e.g., 2 in alternate plumage):

3 females in basic plumage

3. Locality: Parish: Union Parish.

Specific Locality: Bayou DArbonne Lake spillway

4. Date(s) when observed: December 14, 2013

 

5. Time(s) of day when observed: 4:30 pm

 

6. Reporting observer and address: John Dillon, 183 Dance Road, Athens, LA

 

7. Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s): Gerry Click.

 

8. Other observers who independently identified the bird(s): Devin Bosler, Steve Pagans.

 

9. Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light): Poor light. Overcast with haze on lake.

 

10. Optical equipment (type, power, condition): Alpen 8x42 bins in good condition; Alpen 20-60X scope in good condition.

 

11. Distance to bird(s): 70-80 yards.

 

12. Duration of observation: 10-15 minutes.

 

13. Habitat: open water.

 

14. Behavior of bird / circumstances of observation (flying, feeding, resting; include and stress habits used in identification; relate events surrounding observation): swimming slowly; never dove or preened.

 

15. Description (include only what was actually seen, not what "should" have been seen; include if possible: total length/relative size compared to other familiar species, body bulk, shape, proportions, bill, eye, leg, and plumage characteristics. Stress features that separate it from similar species):

 

When we got out of the vehicle, I immediately saw the birds and mis-identified them as Red-breasted Mergansers. I had never seen female COME before, and RBME is far more likely. Neither Gerry nor I ever seriously considered COME until I saw a few days later that Devin Bosler had photographed 2 COME in the same place. After looking at Steve Pagans photos of the same 3 birds I photographed, I realized that the birds in my photos were COME, RBME.

 

Large merganser with long bill but not too thin. Wispy, droopy crest and dark head coloration. Upper side of body completely gray with white wing patch clearly visible. Could not see white chin patch or wide bill base at the time of observation. Both are visible in the photos under high magnification and contrast manipulation. Sharp demarcation between head color and breast/back color.

 

16. Voice: N/A.

 

17. Similar species (include how they were eliminated by your observation): Female Red-breasted Merganser would have smaller base to bill and would not show such a sharp demarcation between head coloration and breast/back coloration. No other species would be easily confused.

 

18. Photographs or tape recordings obtained? (by whom? attached?): Yes, attached in email.

 

19. Previous experience with this species: Never with female.

 

20. Identification aids: (list books, illustrations, other birders, etc. used in identification):

 

a. at time of observation: Nat Geo 6th ed. and Sibley.

 

b. after observation: Nat Geo 6th ed., Sibley, Peterson, Van Remsen, Terry Davis, photos by Steve Pagans of same birds.

 

21. This description is written from: _____ notes made during the observation (_____notes attached?);_____notes made after the observation (date:_____); __X___memory.

22. Are you positive of your identification if not, explain: Yes.

 

23. Date: December 31, 2013. Time: 1:55 pm.

 

24. May the LBRC have permission to display this report or
portions of this report on its website? Yes.

If yes, may we include your name with the report? Yes.

 

 

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