Spent a very enjoyable and fruitful day in the lower Champlain valley on Saturday. Highlight was a Pacific Loon seen from the Crown Point Bridge boat ramp. It was a good distance out but lighting was excellent.
It was immediately apparent that this bird was not a Common Loon. It lacked the bulkiness of the Common Loon's head/bill and body. It had a symetrical sharply pointed bill, unlike the heavy looking bill of the COLO and Red-throated Loon with its delicate slightly upturned bill accentuated by a tendancy to hold its bill up from the verical (which the Pacific Loon did only occassionally). Also, unlike the RTLO's delicate browns on the head and back of the neck the Pacific Loon showed solid black reaching from the base of the bill, across the head touching the the top of the eye on the way through the back of the neck down the nape to the back. (There was no white partial collar as seen with COLO). The cheeks, and throat and breast were pure white as was the belly. When sitting in a relaxed position the PALO showed no white flanks above the water line (Arctic Loon would have shown white). At one point while facing New York state the loon stretched out its wings showing uniform solid dark brown tops to the wings.
Also seen, were Common and Red-throated Loons.
Other birds of interest out of the 69 species for the day were:
Poss Ross's Goose in flight with a group of Snow Geese.
1 x Brant
12 species of Duck including
1 x Northern Pintail
2 White-winged Scoters
2 small groups of Common Goldeneye
2 groups of Red-breasted Mergansers
Male and female Northern Harrier
Beautiful dark phase Rough-legged Hawk
Great day to be out.