Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Another bird that seems hard to get a good view of here in Florida would be the Loons. They stray down and around the state from time to time but usually stay out in the Gulf or Atlantic and don't afford good views. The best views I got of Loons in Washington was around Puget Sound and just beyond.

The species seen most turned out to be the Common Loon. I actually saw a few out around Merritt Island a year earlier but they were in their Winter plumage. Here, out West, they were molting out of that gray shade and becoming very black.

I always thought of Common Loons as those haunting callers more around northern mid-west lakes. In Washington, I only saw then in the salty waters around the Sound area. The closest approach was in the rapid outgoing tide flowing under the bride at Deception Pass at Whidbey Island.

Common Loon

Not a spectacular shot, like most of the offshore birds, but a good view of the checkerboard pattern returning to the back feathers. This bird was constantly diving in the churning water.

Other Loons were found out along Dungeness Spit. One of the many species diving for food that day was another Common Loon molting a bit more giving it a look of a graying man.

Common Loon

A bird I wasn't expecting to see was a bird that appeared along side the displaying Mergansers I posted about earlier. In the middle of the occupied Mergansers appeared a very gray bird which moved along parallel to the shore. Fortunately, it didn't stray too far while I was fascinated with the displays.

I caught up to the new arrival and managed a one clear shot between the rolling waves. Later, I discovered that this was a Red-throated Loon. Excellent.

Red-throated Loon

I will be monitoring the bird lists this Winter in the hopes of getting a closer look at the next Loon that wanders by.

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