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Note to all concerned:
     While watching the loon early Monday morning (5-Nov),
I was ignoring any white flank patches since I already knew 
that white flanks were reportedly an unreliable feature of Arctic/Pacific.
Instead, I was desperately concentrating on other features, 
at least one of which I notice is still not mentioned in the description 
below, 
but will be included in the final report to the rare bird committee.
 An additional note:  Monday: the bird was close.  On calm water.
Sun behind observer.  Loon not swimiming, just actively LOOKING around.
Dave Hoag, Grand Isle

Arctic Loon update from Ted Murin
   I concur with Dave Hoag that this bird is an adult Arctic Loon in 
non-breeding plumage.  Look for a compact, "cute" loon with a shortened body and head, 
unimposing bill, and dramatic black and white plumage.  The black/white 
border on the face and neck is particularly well defined.  It has no white above 
the eye or white intrusion into the black along the side of the neck.  It has no 
chinstrap.  The head is relatively flat on top with an obvious "corner" at 
the back of the crown.  The upperparts are black and the bird sports a large 
white flank patch.  (Keep in mind, as has been pointed out, that the flank patch 
is only one of the key field marks.  Common and Red-throated Loons can show 
apparent flank patches and loons often roll up to preen or just rest listing to 
one side.)

The bird was seen well on 11/6 from 4 to 5 p.m. off the Vantine state fishing 
access.  Several observers and I attempted to photograph a reasonable 
candidate this morning (11/8) from the same vantage point.  We were more involved 
with attempted photography than observation though - so I believe the bird is 
still in play but am not certain.

There are at least 50 Common Loons in the neighborhood although most of these 
have been hanging out about 1 mile from shore.  This putative Arctic Loon 
seems to favor the 1/4 to 3/4 mile zone. 

Good luck if you go and please try to get photos if you're able.  We're 
picking through pictures as I type but it appears our extensive attempts, including 
a (non-aggressive) naval excursion this morning, have been unsuccessful (so 
far).

Directions to Vantine state fishing access:  From Route 2 in South Hero, go 
north on Route 2 for about 2 miles, turn left on Route 314 and go about another 
2 miles to the Grand Isle Ferry landing.  From the Ferry Landing ("Gordon's 
Landing" in Delorme) continue north for about 1 mile, then turn left on West 
Shore Road just past a golf course.  Go about 1 mile north on West Shore Road 
and the state fishing access is on the left.

Ted Murin<BR><BR><BR>**************************************<BR> See what's new at 
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