Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 1-2000

Common name:

Yellow-billed Loon

Scientific name: Gavia adamsii
Date: 14 Jan 2000
Time: 10:45 - 11:15 am
Length of time observed: 0.5 hr
Number: 1
Age: 1st winter
Sex: unknown
Location: Quail Creek Reservoir, near dam
County: Washington 
Elevation: ~2350 ft.
Distance to bird: Initially ~150 m; after ~10 min. bird began foraging and moved farther away.
Weather: ptly. cloudy
Light Conditions: mostly gray w/  intermittent moments of sunshine
Detailed description of bird: Large loon w/ broken pattern on neck.  Identified as first winter b/c of whitish edges on all scapulars & back feathers -- producing a strong scalloped effect.  Bird frequently held head at upward angle.  (see drawing)
Song or call & method of delivery: N/A
Behavior: Initially sitting on water, not foraging, and occasionally preening / stretching wings.  Actively foraging during latter half of observation.  When diving, bird lethargically submerged head and neck, and then body simply sunk below surface of water.
Habitat: open water
Similar species and
how were they eliminated:
Because of diagnostic throat pattern (and size), only Common Loon considered as alternative candidate.  Common Loon eliminated b/c of yellowish distal 1/2 - 2/3 of bill, much clean feathering around eye, very pale gray color of head and neck, dark auricular patch.
Previous experience with this & similar species: Very familiar w/ Common Loon; I've seen 1 adult Yellow-billed Loon before, but never an immature.
References consulted: National Geographic Filed Guide, Kaufmann's (1990) Advanced Birding
Description from: Notes Taken at time of sighting 
Observer: Robert Dobbs (also Danny Dobbs)
Observer's address: 234 E. Cobble Creek Dr.  #4, Cedar City, Utah  84720
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified
this bird:
Date prepared: 21 January 2000
Additional material: Drawing, Original Document

Voting Form (send in vote)
Request Form (request additional material, hard copies, etc.)

Go to Main List of Sighting Under Review