[Tweeters] Deception Pass mystery birds

Ryan Merrill rmerrill27 at gmail.com
Fri Jan 11 10:35:19 PST 2013

Those would be Red-throated Loons. At the right tide you can see hundreds


On Friday, January 11, 2013, Brenda Burnett wrote:

> Hi Tweeters,


> I spent some time at Deception Pass State Park on Wednesday and was

> puzzled by some birds that I saw flying over the water and riding the waves

> here and there. In color and color patterns they looked like loons, though

> slightly smaller, sleeker, and paler than Common Loons. My best looks at

> them were in flight, and they looked just like the Sibley's and Nat'l

> Geographic pics of loons in flight. I wonder if they might have been

> Pacific Loons. I tried to view those that were in the water, but the wind

> was blowing so hard that my scope shook, and the birds could only be

> glimpsed briefly because of the chop in the water. I know a definitive

> i.d. isn't plausible, but a couple of questions about loons come to mind:


> - Do loons ever "flock"? Most of these birds were traveling individually,

> but there were a lot of them flying by (toward the pass) over a long period

> of time and dotted over a large area of water. A small-ish flock of 20 or

> so appeared in one area of water, but it was hard to see them well.

> - I think of loons as sitting solitarily on quieter waters, but there were

> none of these birds in the quieter lagoons near Deception Pass. I did see

> one briefly at Rosario, but it saw me looking and went under and never

> reappeared (aargh!). The rest were out there in the wild wind and water.

> Would loons do that?


> I know they were not Pigeon Guillemots--no wing patches, longer, necks,

> larger overall, solid pale-ish gray color on head, nape, back, and wings,

> pale/white throat, breast and belly. I dunno. Anyone want to venture a

> guess?


> Brenda Burnett

> Seattle

> beaknbird at hotmail dot com


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