I uploaded the sketch of the Pacific Loon I made the next day for the
RSD. I also included some of the field marks noted in the document
OBSERVER'S PREVIOUS ACQUAINTANCE WITH THIS SPECIES OR SIMILAR FORMS:
Extensive knowledge of both Common and Red-throated Loons in various
plumages from sightings of both species in VT, NJ, and PA.
BIRD'S BEHAVIOR: (feeding actions, manner of flight, displays or
interactions, reaction to observer)
Constantly diving, Spent most of its time underwater; surfaced briefly
and then would dive again. Weary of approaching Kayaker and flapped
its wings in preparation to fly away but ending up diving away. Lost
bird after we could not relocate it after it dove.
DESCRIPTION: (Describe what you actually saw during the observation.
We hope that observers will take field notes during the observation
and before consulting field guides, etc. Additional pages with
sketches and copies of field notes are encouraged.)
There were two loons associating with the Scaup flock. There was a
Common Loon in front of the flock and a smaller loon located behind
the flock. I initially presumed the loon to be a Red-throated Loon
but upon further inspection I noticed that the loon had a distinct
dark neck with a very sharply contrasting white throat. The bill of
this bird was also NOT curved upwards and instead extended straight
out from the head. The Bill was noticeably smaller than that of the
nearby Common loon and the bird had an overall sleeker and thinner
appearance. Upon closer inspection the hint of a chinstrap was
slightly observable. When the bird raised itself out the water and
flapped its wings Artic Loon was disregarded as a possible species b/c
of the lack of the white flanks.
IMPORTANT: WHAT SIMILAR SPECIES WERE ELIMINATED WHEN MAKING THIS
IDENTIFICATION AND HOW WAS THIS BIRD DIFFERENT?
Common Loon- Lack of a white collar, small bill, smaller size
Red-throated Loon- Bill was straight, dark nape
Arctic Loon- Dark Flanks
Pacific Loon- Has the sharply contrasting Dark Nape/white throat,
small straight bill, dark flanks