Thursday, November 15, 2007

Another Pac Loon

I did an early-morning run yesterday to two Cayuga Lake stops to look for Black Scoter flocks that have been reported. I as I wrote to cayugabirds-l afterwards:

Paul Hurtado, Shawn Billerman, Mitch Walters and I just returned from Myers, where we had a juvenile-plumage PACIFIC LOON mere yards offshore of the point around 8am! It moved a little ways offshore as we observed it for several minutes, getting a comparison with close-by Common Loons, but then it took off and flew southwest, towards the west shore of the lake, low over the water before we lost it.

Shawn believes this was a different bird from the Sheldrake bird - he recalls, and I just re-read Dave Nutter's descrip to confirm, that the Sheldrake bird had a clean white throat. This bird had a noticeable, smudgy chinstrap. Paul has poor photos he will post soon. Does anyone have photos of the recent Sheldrake bird?

Other sightings:

3 SNOW BUNTINGS remain at Myers point
All 3 species of SCOTER in the raft of ducks south of the Marina at Myers
At least 16 TURKEY VULTURES persist at Myers

We hypothesized that this was a different individual than the Pac Loon we saw at Sheldrake a week ago, because it was juvenile plumage and had noticeable darkness on the throat. However no one had a picture of the Sheldrake bird and most views were too poor to reliably examine the extent of markings around the chin. Are there two Pac Loons on the lake? Probably, but it remains to be proven.

In the meantime, check out Paul Hurtado's digiscoping efforts with yesterday's Pac Loon, and the previous Pac Loons on Cayuga Lake here.

Of course Tom Johnson had to out-bird us again yesterday morning, spotting an adult Black-legged Kittiwake flying down the lake near the north end. Oh well. I'll just have to find an Ivory Gull at Niagara over Thanksgiving break.

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