Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Blogging from A-Z • U • Uria Lomvia

U is for URIA LOMVIA, the latin name for the sea faring bird, the thick-billed murre.

When I filed this photo away a couple years ago, I had marked this bird as a thick billed murre in my photo tags.

But as often happens to a new birder (or seasoned birder!), misidentification is quite common. My growth as a birdwatcher has been helped along with books, birding apps, and becoming a member of many birdwatching groups on Facebook.  

I discovered my mistake when I started learning about the common loon and a similar water bird, the red-throated loon. I learned that their winter plumage is quite different from how they look the rest of the year. And, of all the CRAZY things....they leave their regular lakes and ponds, only to go east and spend the winter in the cold ocean!!!  When I learned this and saw a photo of the loon's winter morph, it tickled my brain that I had seen this bird before.  

Looking through photos of sea birds, I found, yes, indeed, I have seen a wintering loon off the coast of Massachusetts and mistakenly marked it as a thick-billed murre.  

Here is an actual photo of a non-breeding thick-billed murre, taken from the reliable website, All About Birds!  Can you how I would have been confused?  I think they look very similar!

One of my favorite Facebook groups is "What's This Bird", where users can post a photo of a bird, and other members help identify it for the user.  I usually try to ID my birds myself through apps and books, it helps me learn! But there are plenty of times I am stumped and I turn to "What's This Bird".  Most often identification is swift, but every now and again you'll get treated to a lively debate which is not only amusing but a great learning experience as well.  

Now excuse me while I go add thick-billed murre to my list of birds I need to see!

Today's challenge earrings are two pairs featuring slightly different styles, but using the same components.

Thanks for stopping by! If you commit on any posts this month, you will be entered in a drawing to win a week's worth of earrings!

I can't believe there are only five letters left! Please join me tomorrow for the letter "V"!


  1. I knew loons can go into the arctic but I didn't know they can change so much. I am learning something new every day. I love your native looking earrings. The colours used remind me of Native Americans

  2. OOOoooo, I might actually see my BirdMan tonight and will see if I can stump him with your first photo! Too cool that you remembered a picture from your earlier days. You know so darn much about these birds ~ it is beyond impressive!

  3. I was so sorry the loons did not make an appearance for you up at the lake, but I think you did hear them call? I absolutely love to hear them. The first time I did see them at the lake it shocked me as to how huge they are - such big birds!


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