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The Prize of the Day: Arctic Loon. Confirm, please


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#1 cany

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 10:27 PM

It's one of those "I refuse to give up" + "Timing is everything" finds! I had walked, driven, hiked around this reservoir. Miles, combined. For 5.5 hours. No luck. I think I have a personal relationship with every mallard there, a few geese and a wood duck. Also coots and lots and lots of Clark's and Western Grebes with a few Pied-billed mixed in. But the darned bird didn't appear. Anywhere. I back-tracked over and over; Ski Beach, East Beach, Swim Beach, Sail Boat Cove. Nada. Zip. Zero.

 

Finally, with 40 minutes to go (had to get home) I wandered over to the Lifeguard Station area and ran into some birders from L.A. in the parking lot just arriving to look for the bird. I told them where it wasn't.  :wacko:  They sat down to eat lunch while I went over to the Lifeguard Station. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay away on the opposite shore were about a dozen Western and Clark's Grebes. They were in a little cove below the right dam face. But there was this other "thing". It wasn't a duck, certainly not a Mallard (or by now it would have waved!) or goose. It certainly wasn't a Grebe of any kind and was WAY too big for any kind of tern. It wasn't a gull. I strained and strained becoming more and more convinced this was the bird but I needed a scope. I went to find the LA folks at their lunch table and a very nice gentleman agreed to come and take a look. He got it in the scope but said it looked like a bird on a rock. I peeked and it was actually a loon asleep with it's bill in its back feathers. Everyone looked. They got out their Kaufman's and other books. I explained the loon wasn't in breeding plumage and ran and got my Sibley. By the time I returned, two other scopes showed up. Eventually, the bird stopped sleeping and lo and behold it was the Arctic Loon! Big time lifer for me... and with minutes to spare. I got a couple pretty awful pictures given how far away it was. I was so excited I was air boxing:)

 

I hopped in the car and drove home, getting here just in time!

 

9355264864_0960bbc440.jpg
IMG_6047 by canyon53ss, on Flickr
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IMG_6055 by canyon53ss, on Flickr
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IMG_6059 by canyon53ss, on Flickr

 

Made my day!

 

Edit to add this is a continuing rarity. Guy Incognito got some great pics of the bird when he saw it. Unfortunately, I was too far away to do the bird justice.  


Life list: 351

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Most recent lifers: Red-eyed Vireo, Hooded Warbler, Gull-billed Tern, Palm Warbler, Lesser Nighthawk, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Little Gull, Glaucous Gull, Thayer's Gull, Ancient Murrelet, Winter Wren 

 
This year's goal: Get life list to 375, see 315 different birds this year. 
 
Seen/heard: 289
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#2 DHSBirdman

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 10:46 PM

Cany, what reservoir in So Cal is this at?



#3 PyrrhuloxiaIsAmazing

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 10:54 PM

Maybe a Merganser?

 

If you want to know, the Grebes are Western.


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#4 cany

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 10:57 PM

Cany, what reservoir in So Cal is this at?

Puddingstone in Frank G. Bonnelli Park. Continuing bird that's been there quite a while. It's all over e-bird for this reservoir.


Life list: 351

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Most recent lifers: Red-eyed Vireo, Hooded Warbler, Gull-billed Tern, Palm Warbler, Lesser Nighthawk, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Little Gull, Glaucous Gull, Thayer's Gull, Ancient Murrelet, Winter Wren 

 
This year's goal: Get life list to 375, see 315 different birds this year. 
 
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#5 cany

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 10:57 PM

Maybe a Merganser?

 

If you want to know, the Grebes are Western.

Not a merganser. It's an arctic loon. THE arctic loon that's been here a while. A real rarity!


Life list: 351

24 to go

Most recent lifers: Red-eyed Vireo, Hooded Warbler, Gull-billed Tern, Palm Warbler, Lesser Nighthawk, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Little Gull, Glaucous Gull, Thayer's Gull, Ancient Murrelet, Winter Wren 

 
This year's goal: Get life list to 375, see 315 different birds this year. 
 
Seen/heard: 289
To go: 26

 

My wee blog: http://thisskysings.wordpress.com/

 


#6 PyrrhuloxiaIsAmazing

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 10:59 PM

Oh, whoops. I can't tell then. Winter loons are hard to distinguish. Do you think it might just be a Pacific Loon?


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#7 psweet

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 11:01 PM

Definitely a loon, and I can't see anything to say it isn't an Arctic. The white on the flanks looks good, but I wouldn't want to call it on the basis of these photos. On the other hand, if you guys were watching it for a while, you'll have a better idea of how consistent that mark was.

 

Congrats -- NICE bird. This was one of my best from last year's Alaska trip.



#8 cany

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 11:02 PM

Oh, whoops. I can't tell then. Winter loons are hard to distinguish. Do you think it might just be a Pacific Loon?

No.... I think it is the Arctic Loon. The continuing bird. About eight of us stared at the thing through the scopes. Not a pacific. There is WAY too much white on the flank for a Pacific.


Life list: 351

24 to go

Most recent lifers: Red-eyed Vireo, Hooded Warbler, Gull-billed Tern, Palm Warbler, Lesser Nighthawk, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Little Gull, Glaucous Gull, Thayer's Gull, Ancient Murrelet, Winter Wren 

 
This year's goal: Get life list to 375, see 315 different birds this year. 
 
Seen/heard: 289
To go: 26

 

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#9 cany

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 11:09 PM

Definitely a loon, and I can't see anything to say it isn't an Arctic. The white on the flanks looks good, but I wouldn't want to call it on the basis of these photos. On the other hand, if you guys were watching it for a while, you'll have a better idea of how consistent that mark was.

 

Congrats -- NICE bird. This was one of my best from last year's Alaska trip.

The bird showed a lot of white on the flanks the whole time, but particularly when sleeping. I know Guy Incognito here posted a great shot of the bird, but e-bird does show some other photos of the bird at this location.


Life list: 351

24 to go

Most recent lifers: Red-eyed Vireo, Hooded Warbler, Gull-billed Tern, Palm Warbler, Lesser Nighthawk, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Little Gull, Glaucous Gull, Thayer's Gull, Ancient Murrelet, Winter Wren 

 
This year's goal: Get life list to 375, see 315 different birds this year. 
 
Seen/heard: 289
To go: 26

 

My wee blog: http://thisskysings.wordpress.com/

 


#10 JimBob

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 11:13 PM

Since it's been there for a while, and it's a little early for normal loons, and the constant white flanks I say Arctic Loon!


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#11 TheBillyPilgrim

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 11:57 PM

Great bird! Congrats! A few of my co-workers drove over 8 hours this summer to go see this guy!

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#12 cany

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 12:03 AM

Great bird! Congrats! A few of my co-workers drove over 8 hours this summer to go see this guy!

I hope they found him more quickly than I did:) I was using the best info I had. Apparently, the bird was seen in this very location about two hours earlier, but I didn't know. I really must get some kind of contraption so I can check the lists from the field. I have a very obsolete cell.


Life list: 351

24 to go

Most recent lifers: Red-eyed Vireo, Hooded Warbler, Gull-billed Tern, Palm Warbler, Lesser Nighthawk, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Little Gull, Glaucous Gull, Thayer's Gull, Ancient Murrelet, Winter Wren 

 
This year's goal: Get life list to 375, see 315 different birds this year. 
 
Seen/heard: 289
To go: 26

 

My wee blog: http://thisskysings.wordpress.com/

 


#13 cestma

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 06:07 AM

Great story, cany! :D Congrats!
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#14 bz2321

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 06:40 AM

The Bonelli Park's website posted a picture and called it "A non-breeding plumage Arctic Loon..."  Check it out.

http://www.bonellipa...d Watching.html



#15 Rubykinglet2

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 11:34 AM

Nice grebes too
Young birder :)

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#16 cany

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 01:54 PM

The Bonelli Park's website posted a picture and called it "A non-breeding plumage Arctic Loon..."  Check it out.

http://www.bonellipa...d Watching.html

Yep! That's the one!


Life list: 351

24 to go

Most recent lifers: Red-eyed Vireo, Hooded Warbler, Gull-billed Tern, Palm Warbler, Lesser Nighthawk, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Little Gull, Glaucous Gull, Thayer's Gull, Ancient Murrelet, Winter Wren 

 
This year's goal: Get life list to 375, see 315 different birds this year. 
 
Seen/heard: 289
To go: 26

 

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#17 jdeitsch

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 06:22 PM

No.... I think it is the Arctic Loon. The continuing bird. About eight of us stared at the thing through the scopes. Not a pacific. There is WAY too much white on the flank for a Pacific.

So. basically you were gloating. :P


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#18 cany

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 06:36 PM

So. basically you were gloating. :P

Yes, that is quite likely:)   B)


Life list: 351

24 to go

Most recent lifers: Red-eyed Vireo, Hooded Warbler, Gull-billed Tern, Palm Warbler, Lesser Nighthawk, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Little Gull, Glaucous Gull, Thayer's Gull, Ancient Murrelet, Winter Wren 

 
This year's goal: Get life list to 375, see 315 different birds this year. 
 
Seen/heard: 289
To go: 26

 

My wee blog: http://thisskysings.wordpress.com/

 


#19 ololaiki

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 06:51 PM

Congratulations cany!!

 

 

 

Great bird! Congrats! A few of my co-workers drove over 8 hours this summer to go see this guy!

 

Wow! Where do you work, if I may ask, that a few of of your co-workers are so dedicated to birdwatching? )



#20 cany

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 07:15 PM

Congratulations cany!!

 

 

 

 

Wow! Where do you work, if I may ask, that a few of of your co-workers are so dedicated to birdwatching? )

Thanks. I was going to go find the Red-necked Stint this am, but I have a piece of glass in my foot and am uncomfortable. I think I got it out, though.


Life list: 351

24 to go

Most recent lifers: Red-eyed Vireo, Hooded Warbler, Gull-billed Tern, Palm Warbler, Lesser Nighthawk, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Little Gull, Glaucous Gull, Thayer's Gull, Ancient Murrelet, Winter Wren 

 
This year's goal: Get life list to 375, see 315 different birds this year. 
 
Seen/heard: 289
To go: 26

 

My wee blog: http://thisskysings.wordpress.com/

 





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