Yesterday around noon at Palestine Lake in Union county (CR 231), I saw a basic-plumaged Loon. It was on the far side of the lake, and even at Leica's 60X, I could not get satisfactory details. And of course it dived continuously. It was the only bird on the lake.
My impression was that this was NOT a Common Loon. The bill was small and darkish, held at an upward angle. The head was smoothly rounded, without the angular peaked forehead. The body did not seem as long as a Common's would.
I tried to see a defined chinstrap, but could only discern a suggestion of one.
As for the other "likely" candidate, there was too much dark on the back of the head and neck for a Red-throated.
I think this may have been a Pacific Loon.
I really hate reporting such an odd sighting, where I couldn't get what I needed to make a definitive call. But I'll take the risk of being called "loony" because of the rarity of this occurrence.
Even a Common Loon would be unusual at this time of year...inland. A Pacific? exponentially so.
I recall that Bob Richter, on 28 June, reported a basic-plumaged Pacific Loon at Ocean Pond in Baker county. This is 6 to 7 miles from Palestine Lake, as the Loon flies. Intriguing.
I hope someone has a chance to see this bird. When I saw it, it was almost directly across the lake. Using the boatramp as a pointer, it was about 5 degress to the left.
puzzled in High Springs
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