For the last 2 weeks Danika and I have been chasing a reported Pacific Loon on the Tomhannock Reservoir in eastern Rensselaer County. This has been a very frustrating experience for a number of reasons.
1. The reservoir does not have a lot of great viewing points, meaning your often straining through trees to see birds.
2. The Loons in particular prefer the deeper waters and thus no matter which side you are on, the birds are always distant and in the middle.
3. There appears to be a runt Common Loon throwing me for a loop.
4. There is such a variation in Common Loon plumages ranging from very dark to very pale, means you really have to closely examine each Loon.
5. The reported Pacific Loon has had less than perfect ID marks, making it even more challenging.
Danika and I have anguished over every Loon we could find, weighing the Pros and Cons, me always leaning towards Pacific and Danika always leaning towards Common. So far she has been right.
While the Loons have been frustrating and challenging, we have had a bonanza of other waterfowl.
Red-throated Loon, Horned Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Black, Surf and White-winged Scoters, Greater and Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Canada Goose, Double-Crested Cormorant, Mallard, American Black Duck, Wood Duck, Common and Hooded Mergansers, Ruddy Duck, Ring-billed and Herring Gulls and of course Bald Eagles.
Now that I think about it… maybe being Loonatics isn’t such a bad thing for your year list?