Bird in Distress in Carmel, CA

I honestly thought I was seeing a penguin for a second or two.  Then I realized that was absurd, but I still had no idea what I was looking at.  If my son, Pete, wasn't there I might have said I saw a Puffin!  What we actually saw was a fairly rare and almost endangered Common Murre.

Even if I knew what a Murre was supposed to look like, it would still be tough to ID this fellow when he was standing up.  In this pose his unique markings are more recognizable

If the brown spotty patch on his chest throws you off, it should.  It's not his natural coloring.  Murres are threatened by oil spills and other pollutants, and It looks like this little guy has managed to get himself oiled up somehow. 

It seems his wings are affected as well. What a disaster!  It is very difficult for these birds to swim with oil soaked feathers. 

It's no wonder this guy cannot keep his eyes open for more than a few seconds!  He is too tired to do anything but sleep, even if sleeping out in the open puts him in danger.  The poor thing!  I can't stand it!  If only I had recognized his problem before it was too late to call someone for help!

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