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Southernmost Razorbill? Maybe

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“Whoa….Is that a penguin?”  That is what my husband George asked our guest on board Java Cat on Saturday, December 9th, 2012.  He changed course and headed towards these 2 birds.   They were chasing pilchers along the flats.  What caught his attention was the way they moved through the water.  They look like they were flying underwater.   Looking and acting like you would think a penguin would behave.  Fortunately Ben, one of the guest on Java Cat took a picture and emailed it to George last week.  This is the picture.  One of our friends, who works on the Yankee Freedom Fort Boat that offers tours to the Dry Tortugas said he saw this same species while at the dock at the Fort.  Since then lots of reports of fishermen, tour operators and local’s have identified these birds and taken pictures.  Below is more info from the associated press:

The Associated Press4:37 a.m. EST, December 26, 2012WEST PALM BEACH—

Bird watchers are flocking to catch a glimpse of cold-weather birds making a rare South Florida appearance.

Razorbills are black-and-white birds with penguin-like features. They’re normally spotted in the North Atlantic, but hundreds have flown into Palm Beach County since early December.

Marshall Iliff of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology tells The Palm Beach Post that razorbills have been spotted in Florida about a dozen times in the past, but usually only one at a time and never in the large flocks seen recently.

It’s not clear why the birds have flown so far south. Razorbills also have been spotted in Miami Beach, the Florida Keys and Florida’s Panhandle.

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