Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2020-73a

Common name:

Yellow-billed Loon

Scientific name: Gavia adamsii
Date: Nov. 25, 2020
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Length of time observed: 30 minutes
Number: One
Age: First year bird
Sex: Unknown
Location: Willard Bay Reservoir
County: Box Elder
Elevation: About 4200 feet
Distance to bird: 50 yards
Optical equipment: Binocular, Spotting Scope and Camera with 150-600mm lens
Weather: Partly cloudy, light wind from north and about 30 degrees
Light Conditions: Bright sunny
Description:        Size of bird: Length about 35"
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Long and loon shaped
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Shades of browns and whites
(Description:)            Bill Type: Dagger like, culmen straight so bill appears upturned, light colored with a hint of yellow.
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Body size appeared around 3 feet long with a football shape. Coloration was brownish over all with pale barring on back, pale chin, neck, and breast with a light brownish head with dark patch on auriculae's. Dark colored eye. Bill was long and dagger like. Culmen is straight so bill appears upturned with light gray coloring to rear and with the front outer half of bill a pale yellowish color.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: None
Behavior: Swimming, drifting and diving.
Habitat: On reservoir in water.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Common Loon. Yellow-billed appeared much bigger. Brownish coloring overall, lighter than Common Loon. Undefined neck line. Classic posture holding head high, slightly upturned bill. Strong more conspicuous patterning on back. No dark on upper mandible.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Seen and photographed lots of Common loon over the years. First encounter with a Yellow-billed.
References consulted: Sibley's Birds, E-bird Pro.
Description from: From photo(s) taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Dickson M. Smith
Observer's address: 574 Cherry Dr, Brigham City, Utah
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Taylor Abbot, Mike Hearell, Kendall Watkins, Ryan Painter
Date prepared: 11/26/2020
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: This bird had been observed and photographed by others.