Thursday, October 10, 2013

Pacific Loon at Elk Island?

I came upon this interesting loon at Astotin Lake in Elk Island National Park a few days ago. It was pretty far away but I was able to watch it in the scope for 20 minutes or so. I made note of its smallish bill and sharply bi-coloured neck. It was distinctly smaller than a nearby Common Loon and at the time I was pretty sure I was seeing my first-in-Canada Pacific Loon (eBird says I saw one off Monterey, CA decades ago).

PALO is not an Alberta mega-rarity by any means. Several Pacific Loons have been found elsewhere in Alberta this week.

I wasn't able to get any decent still photos - the light wasn't great and it was windy. I did get a minute of pretty lousy video.

What do you think? Am I dreaming? Pacific Loon? Common Loon? And what about the duck that swims through the frame near the end?

1 comment:

  1. I think that you saw your first PALO for sure, along with a female or juvenile Surf Scoter! The winter Palo has the field marks you described, and this bird has the pacific shape. Congratulations! In concern to the duck, my guide shows both female and juvie SUSCs as being brown with white face markings like that; the juvs usually have more distinct white patches than the females and no faint nape mark. This bird also has your typical scoter bill.