[Tweeters] Budd Bay Yellow-billed Loon - Dipped

Jon. Anderson and Marty Chaney festuca at comcast.net
Tue Dec 17 09:18:41 PST 2019

Hi folks,

I met John Fleckenstein at West Bay Marina in Olympia yesterday, each of us with our kayaks. We’d cooked up this morning’s effort with the hope of re-sighting the YELLOW-BILLED LOON that Kyle Leader and the salt-water crew had discovered in Eld Inlet on Sunday’s Christmas Bird Count. Kyle got photos, of the bird, and I was hoping to find this loon for my 611 th species of 2019.

Kyle and Anders eBirded the sighting here:

John had a beautiful wooden 17-footer that he’d made. I had borrowed my son’s little 11-foot High-Density Polyethylene Lifetime “Guster” kayak. Just as a note, the company touts this craft as having “Superb stability and maneuverability on the water.”

We launched at 9:45 at the height of the flood tide, and rode the ebb and a light south breeze the 5 nautical miles to Boston Harbor by 12:30. A short break there, and we started our return. I’d hope that the ebb would have slacked by then, and it would be an easy return. However, the current was still running, and the wind had picked up a bit, so I made slow progress paddling the little “lake and river” flat-water kayak back to the south.

As it turned out, we “dipped” on the Yellow-bill, although we saw one large loon flying in the area where Kyle had seen it. But, we couldn’t get a clear view of its face, and I couldn’t distinguish species. Ah, well - my arms are a bit stiff from the 13-mile paddle yesterday, so I’ll ‘chase’ the Yellow-bill with a scope from the bluffs today.

I’d learned long since that the worst day on the water is better than the best day in the office, and today was no exception.

Jon. Anderson

The morning's sightings included
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) 12 At West Bay
American Wigeon (Mareca americana) 8
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 45
Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris) 4
Greater/Lesser Scaup (Aythya marila/affinis) 6
Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata) 135
White-winged Scoter (Melanitta deglandi) 18
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) 110
Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) 14
Barrow's Goldeneye (Bucephala islandica) 55
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) 1
Common Merganser (Mergus merganser) 4
Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator) 44
Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus) 1
Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena) 4
Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola) 7 Log Booms
Common Murre (Uria aalge) 1
Pigeon Guillemot (Cepphus columba) 1
Rhinoceros Auklet (Cerorhinca monocerata) 16
Mew Gull (Larus canus) 9
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) 3
Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus glaucescens) 2
Western x Glaucous-winged Gull (hybrid) (Larus occidentalis x glaucescens) 5
Western/Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus occidentalis/glaucescens) 50
gull sp. (Larinae sp.) 18
Red-throated Loon (Gavia stellata) 2
loon sp. (Gavia sp.) 1 Large loon seen flying in the area where Kyle Leader had found a Yellow-billed Loon during yesterday's Christmas Bird Count. We could not get a view of the face or other features to distinguish Common from Y-B.
Brandt's Cormorant (Phalacrocorax penicillatus) 38
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) 28 All at or south of the KGY/Hearthfire restaurant and log booms
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) 3
Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) 2
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) 1
Steller's Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) 2
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) 2

View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/checklist/S62394490
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