Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Loon study in different lighting and distances

I feel like a loonatic, having looked at Common Loons all day long.  I have again been searching for the reported Pacific Loon at East Fork State Park.  Pacific would be a lifer, so I really want to be sure of ID before I say that I have ticked it.

I have seen a few loons that appear different.  However, when I look at the "different" one long enough, I only come up with Common.  I wish I had more experience with winter loons.

Here are a few pictures from today that illustrate the point.  Distance can make things appear and disappear.  Lighting makes things do the same.  Size and shape changes with the light constantly, fooling the eyes.  I took the time to watch one loon to the west of the main beach in the cove for over an hour.  No other loons were in close sight.  All of these photos are of the same bird, I can assure you.

Here are the photos from when the sun was out.

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Here are the ones when the sun went behind the clouds.  

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Remember, all of these pictures are of the same bird in different light.  When the bird got close enough, it looked like just a Common Loon.  I could not make it into anything else.  However, I do not have enough experience separating winter loons to make a definitive conclusion as to species. 

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