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. 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!
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.