cany

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

21 posts in this topic

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.  

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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.

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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!

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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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So. basically you were gloating. :P

Yes, that is quite likely:)   B)

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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? )

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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.

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