Birds diving beyond 50ft down and going horizontally there?!

Fish & Invertebrate sightings and descriptions, hosted by resident NWDC ID expert Janna Nichols (nwscubamom).

Birds diving beyond 50ft down and going horizontally there?!

Postby Marek Sk » Thu Jun 05, 2014 12:15 am

Does anybody experience anything similar?
Birds diving beyond 50ft down and going horizontally that deep ?!
I am frequently diving Mukilteo Lighthouse park because there are so many critters I do not see anywhere else like today several cute Red Octopuses, Snake Pricklebacks, Stout Shrimps, Brittle Stars etc, etc.
I was really stunned being at the bottom of the deepest ledges at depth around 75 feet down and seeing a bird going horizontally above me ?!
I managed to snap just one picture.
Does anybody know what bird could it be and if this is more common or the bird read my posting about "free diving" and wanted to impress me. :neener:
Click on the picture to zoom in.
PICT5040-bird-diver-zoom.JPG
Bird "free diver" zoom

PICT5040-bird-diver.JPG
Bird "free diver"
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Re: Birds diving beyond 50ft down and going horizontally the

Postby YellowEye » Thu Jun 05, 2014 12:24 am

Nice!
Looks like a cormorant. They are definitely a surprise to see at depth!
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Re: Birds diving beyond 50ft down and going horizontally the

Postby AdrianSmith » Thu Jun 05, 2014 6:17 am

I've seen them at 40' in Monterey but not 50'. Looks like a cormorant though.

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Re: Birds diving beyond 50ft down and going horizontally the

Postby YellowEye » Thu Jun 05, 2014 9:32 am

Hi
I'm pretty sure I saw one at the I Beams once. 80 feet deep!
Do you think they do the Scyzoryk/Pocket knife?
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Re: Birds diving beyond 50ft down and going horizontally the

Postby LCF » Thu Jun 05, 2014 9:53 am

I was diving the oil rigs in Southern California several years ago, and was stunned to see a cormorant go gliding by . . . at SEVENTY-SEVEN feet! Those birds are amazing.
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Re: Birds diving beyond 50ft down and going horizontally the

Postby Marek Sk » Thu Jun 05, 2014 10:29 am

YellowEye wrote:Hi
I'm pretty sure I saw one at the I Beams once. 80 feet deep!
Do you think they do the Scyzoryk/Pocket knife?


This is actually a good question YellowEye ! Thank you !

I think in most cases birds dive transitioning from the flight in the air to dive / flight underwater. From what I have seen, this bird was actually using his wings for propulsion more than feet underwater.
:calvin:
You can also see it from the picture after zooming in to certain extent.
In this case velocity probably helps the bird to go effortlessly through some depth of positive buoyancy therefore I would call it a technique similar though alternative to Scyzoryk / pocket knife.
Wikipedia also refers to a "half-jump ?!" Another alternative ? See below.
If the critter wasn't born with relatively heavy lower part of the body, legs or tail it will find an alternative way to save energy and dive more effortlessly.

Thank you Everyone for your feedback !

For now the consensus is that the bird was a Cormorant and that they do dive deep. I had no idea that they could free dive that deep ! I guess "You live and learn everyday".

:thankyouyellow:

Here is also a quote from Wikipedia. I will contact them and request update that at least some Cormorants are using more wings for propulsion underwater than feet from what I have seen and also some scientists agree with my observation in the following video referring to Cormorant pumping his wings underwater which results in his head bobbing up and down in the video.
http://www.wcs.org/news-and-features-ma ... -dive.aspx

"... They dive from the surface, though many species make a characteristic half-jump as they dive, presumably to give themselves a more streamlined entry into the water. Under water they propel themselves with their feet. Some cormorant species have been found, using depth gauges, to dive to depths of as much as 45 metres. [147 feet !] ..."
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Re: Birds diving beyond 50ft down and going horizontally the

Postby thefeve » Thu Jun 05, 2014 12:00 pm

I also saw one at mukilteo at the Geo dome actually, it was around 55-60 ft that day. I was very confused for a while... Thats me borrowing NW Brewer's Scoot and he was shooting using my gopro... but the cormarant came down and we had a little game of "chicken" before he shot to the surface :supz:
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Re: Birds diving beyond 50ft down and going horizontally the

Postby oldsalt » Thu Jun 05, 2014 4:42 pm

I love this thread. I have seen both cormorants and murres swimming under me at Mukilteo. Murres, and other alcids (puffins, auklets, etc.) fly underwater - in that they swim with their wings. Your cormorant swims with its feet. A dive buddy saw a belted kingfisher at 60 ft. I'm on the boat now and have been watching auklets, cormorants, kingfishers, and osprey fishing. I would love to have been watching them from underwater with you.
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Re: Birds diving beyond 50ft down and going horizontally the

Postby Jan K » Thu Jun 05, 2014 5:56 pm

Marek, good catch. I usually always look the wrong way, oblivious to what is behind me and miss opportunity to get a picture. In the old days, I paid more attention - here are the ones in Southern California, they used to swim by quite often.
Seventy feet was my deepest encounter with them.
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Re: Birds diving beyond 50ft down and going horizontally the

Postby Gregp » Thu Jun 05, 2014 6:26 pm

Awesome thread. For those of us who haven't seen a bird flying underwater, some can be seen at the Seattle Aquarium. I know, this doesn't fully compare to seeing them out in the sound. I'm not sure what type of birds these are, but it was SO interesting to see them flying so quickly underwater. I hope to see some out in their natural habitat when I'm diving.

_DSC2221.jpg


_DSC2224.jpg


It took about 100 shots to get a couple half-way decent ones with me peering into the aquarium. It was a dark afternoon and wow, those birds were fast.
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Re: Birds diving beyond 50ft down and going horizontally the

Postby fmerkel » Thu Jun 05, 2014 6:57 pm

My wife and I saw one at 85-90' down at the north slope of the old (gone) Edmonds oil dock. It swam by and returned seeming to wonder what WE were doing down there. Shocked ain't the half of it.
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Re: Birds diving beyond 50ft down and going horizontally the

Postby H20doctor » Thu Jun 05, 2014 9:04 pm

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Re: Birds diving beyond 50ft down and going horizontally the

Postby Jeremy » Fri Jun 06, 2014 9:06 pm

We got buzzed by one of these birds at Mukilteo tonight right at the tire log.
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Re: Birds diving beyond 50ft down and going horizontally the

Postby ljjames » Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:56 pm

GREAT CATCH!

one surprised the heck out of my buddy and I when we were diving 100' rock. It seemed to like our bubbles that were coming up when I was trying to shoot video of an octopus under the rock, I can only guess that they were waiting for us to spook some snacks out of the nooks and crannies for them :) Also seen em out by i-beams.

Just taking into account how often I see aquatic birds 'diving' when watching them on surface, I suspect that they are with us more underwater than we realize, we are just always looking 'down' as opposed to 'up'. :)
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Re: Birds diving beyond 50ft down and going horizontally the

Postby Marek Sk » Sat Jun 07, 2014 4:13 am

OK, now I even more pay attention to what is happening above, shadows, movements and here is what I caught on Friday 6/6/14:

Deception Pass:
O No ! That is not a Cormorant. :BDub:
It is Jan K friend - Jack passing above. Veteran of Deception Pass diving for last 30 years 1000+ dives just in Deception Pass.
PICT2589-Jack.JPG
That is not a Cormorant ;( It is Jan K friend - Jack passing above :)


Keystone Jetty:
Depth around 45 feet where the rope from the pilings is anchored to the rock at Keystone Jetty.
Yes ! :supz:
This time it is a Cormorant but it was only using its feet for the propulsion so maybe it matter of depth or different species of Cormorant from the one at Mukilteo Lighthouse Park. The one at Mukilteo clearly used wings for the propulsion - having them spread and flapping them up and down. Or, like Oldsalt said, maybe it was not a Cormorant but Murres.
PICT5368-cormorant.JPG
Cormorant at Keystone Jetty

PICT5368-cormorant-zoom.JPG
Cormorant at Keystone Jetty - zoom
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