Thursday, August 16, 2012

Common vs. Red-throated Loon

We visited the Morro Bay State Park January 2008 and had such a great time birding, Erika and I stopped there last March as we began our trek up the California coast. In March we saw fewer birds than we did in January. Two basic-plumaged loons greeted us at the park marina. Because the eye is completely surrounded by white, I decided the first bird is a Common Loon. The second bird is a Red-throated Loon. The best field mark here may be the white spots on the back. I also noted the slightly up-turned bill. Of course, we Minnesotans are familiar with  Common Loons. Red-throated Loons are also occasionally observed off Duluth and even more rarely elsewhere inland. This loon breeds in Alaska and across the Canadian Arctic, and winters off both coasts of the United States.

Some year I would like to attend the Morrow Bay Winter Bird Festival. The festival dates this coming winter are 18-21 January 2013. Not only would one list a plethora of bird species, I am sure birders of every ability would learn a lot about bird identification.

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