Verification of Unusual
Rec. # 2019-06
|Scientific name:||Gavia stellata|
|Length of time observed:||30 minutes|
|Location:||Quail Creek State Park|
|Distance to bird:||(Won't speculate. Very distant)|
|Optical equipment:||27-60x85 spotting scope|
|Light Conditions:||Mostly shade, intermittent sun|
|Description: Size of bird:||Small loon|
|(Description:) Basic Shape:|
|(Description:) Overall Pattern:||White, black, gray|
|(Description:) Bill Type:||Upturned|
Field Marks and
Unfortunately this bird was very distant (near the opposite shoreline) when it
was observed, so some descriptive details will be lacking in my description.
Fortunately, it was observed swimming near a common loon, which provided for a nice comparison.
The following is copied from my ebird description:
Noticeably smaller overall than nearby common loon, including smaller bill and head. Despite the distance, the bill did appear slightly but noticeably upturned. Gray back, too distant to detect any obvious white speckling. White face and clean white neck. White flanks also obvious while preening. Distant, and eventually lost track of location due to long distance diving.
A few additional details not noted above may be evident from my very poor and distant photos.
|Song or call & method of delivery:||None|
|Behavior:||Swimming, then began diving|
|Habitat:||Open water on reservoir|
were they eliminated:
Common loon: Seen very close to the red-throated loon. Lacked the clean white
neck and face. Also was noticeably larger overall, including a larger head and
Pacific loon: The bird observed clearly had a "cleaner" white face and neck. No sign of "chin strap."
Other loons would be unlikely based upon range. Also the size of this bird (compared with nearby common loon) and plumage differences also seemed to rule out a vagrant Arctic loon, or a yellow-billed loon.
Western or Clark's Grebe: The bird observed lacked the long-necked appearance of these species. Posture was definitely consistent with a loon, as it seemed to swim with its head lower to the water compared with the long "snake-like" necks of these grebe species.
this & similar species:
Red-throated loon: two or three previous observations, including one other
individual at Quail Creek Reservoir
Common loon: 20+ observations
Pacific loon: 2 or 3 past observations
Many observations of western and Clark's grebe
National Geographic Field Guide
Sibley's Western Field Guide
|Observer's address:||433 East 1050 South Apt. 3|
|Observer's e-mail address:||**|
|Other observers who independently identified this bird:||It was first discovered by Rick Fridell on February 8th. It was also observed that day by Kevin Wheeler, who also reported it to ebird.|