New York State Rarities - Pacific Loon

On Thursday 1 May 2003, Anne Lazarus discovered a near-alternate plumaged Pacific Loon (Gavia Pacifica) on Manhattan's East River, New York. Here are some rather distant photos of the bird taken later in the evening (~7:00-7:15 pm). The bird is can be identified as a Pacific rather than Arctic Loon by virtue of the following key features:

(1) No white patch on the flanks.

(2) Very slender and lightly built (comparable to the two Red-throated Loons present in the area).

(3) A very pale gray crown and nape.

(4) A domed rather than flat head shape.

(5) A thin, straight-sided bill which was generally held horizontal to the water.

[Pacific Loon is a review species for the New York State Avian Records Committee (NYSARC) and the committee would appreciate documentation from all lucky observers.]

Thanks to Anne Lazarus for finding and identifying the bird, and to Bill and Doreen Stair, Tom Burke and Lloyd Spitalnik for getting the word out so quickly.

Photos of another Pacific Loon from Long Island, New York can be viewed here.

Images and page layout copyright of Angus Wilson©2003.
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