LOUISIANA BIRD RECORDS COMMITTEE

REPORT FORM

     

1. English and Scientific names: Common merganserMergus merganser

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

3. Locality: Parish:St Tammany____________________________________________

†† Specific Locality: _SunsetPoint, Mandeville. Swimming in the inlet between the entrance to Sunset Point and the west end of Lakeshore drive. Was in the company of one female Red-breasted merganser and they were fishing along the shoreline among the cypress knees. Finally came out into the inlet where I could shoot pictures.

4. Date(s) when observed: 11/23/2013

5. Time(s) of day when observed: 1:25 to 1:45 PM

6. Reporting observer and address: Janine Robin, Franklinton, LA 70438

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

8. Other observers who independently identified the bird(s): Bird was not IDíd until I reviewed by pictures on my computer. I was able to get confirmation by sending pictures to Glenn Ousset and Van Remsen.

9. Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light): Birds were about 100 yards away, then came closer, about 50 yards away.†††††† Birds were mostly in shade, but when they came closer, they were in filtered light. The sky was gray with no sunshine. North wind blowing at about 10 MPH with an intermittent slight mist.

10. Optical equipment (type, power, condition): Canon EOS REBEL T3i in new condition. Lens: Sigma DG 70-300mm 1:4-5.6 w/OS on AV setting, ISO 1600

11. Distance to bird(s): photo entered was taken at about 50 yards

12. Duration of observation: 20 minutes.

13. Habitat: bird in an inlet on Lake Pontchartrain (brackish water) It was feeding around cypress knees and marsh grass at the shoreline. Evidently lots of fish because a belted kingfisher was diving and coming up with fish.

14. Behavior of bird / circumstances of observation (flying, feeding, resting; include and stress habits used in identification; relate events surrounding observation): I first noticed the bird at a distance of about 100 to 120 yards. Noticed it because I could see the water splashing. As I walked closer I could see that it was a merganser and was moving rapidly through the water and making a wake. It was very fast. When it would go under, it would make a wake. It appeared to be more aggressive in itís hunting than the red-breasted merganser that it was with.

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): While observing the 2 birds, one was definitely a red-breasted female, but the Common had a dark red/chestnut colored head, much darker that the red-breasted. It appeared to be a bit larger that the red-breasted also. Birds were in the water the whole time, so legs werenít seen. When they got closer, I could see that the Common had a thicker bill at the base. Itís head looked more longated and flatter on the top. The white under the chin and the ďcutoffĒ of the red to white on the neck was only noticed when I looked at my pictures.

16. Voice: Both birds were quiet

17. Similar species (include how they were eliminated by your observation): As stated above. Had a good comparison to the female Red-breasted that it was with. The red-breastedís head was a much lighter color,more of a brownish. It was smaller, seemed to be less aggressive in itís fishing technique. Itís head was more crested and to a point.

18. Photographs or tape recordings obtained? (by whom? attached?): Yes, by me, Janine Robin. Yes attached.

19. Previous experience with this species: Only seen once before and that was in MS on the Waveland beach pier. It was also in the company of Red-breasted mergansers.

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

a. at time of observation: just took pictures, positive id after studying pictures on my computer.

b. after observation: Used Kaufman field guide to North American Birds, Sibley field guide to Birds of Eastern North America. Also sending pictures to Glenn Ousset and Van Remsen for confirmation.

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:_11/24/2013_________Time: 1:50 PM_______