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Subject: Pacific Loon Martin County.
From: David Simpson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:David Simpson <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 21 Jan 2008 20:15:58 -0500

text/plain (35 lines)

HI all,

I decided to head to the beach after work today to check out what the  
fierce easterly winds brought.  Being a county listing maniac, I  
headed to one of my favorite bi-county birding spots, a little county  
park on the Martin/St. Lucie line on the beach about a mile north of  
the Jensen Beach Causeway.  While scanning south, I spotted a small  
dark blob in the surf.  It wasn't very far out, but due to the severe  
chop, and the little varmint's tendency to swim straight away from  
me, I had a difficult time ascertaining the ID.  At first I thought  
it was just an immature gannet.  When I got a profile of the bird, it  
was apparent that it was a loon.  It continued to bob atop the waves  
every 5-50 seconds for several minutes.  Most of the time all I saw  
was the very dark back and back of the head.  Several times I got a  
profile of the head.  Every time the bill was noticeably small.  A  
couple of times I got a good look at the chin strap and white chin  
and throat.  At least once I got a good profile of the smaller  
thinner bill.  I took a long time to look at this bird because I have  
seen several small-billed dark backed Common loons in the panhandle  
during unsuccessful hunts for PALO during past Big Years.

Funny thing about PALO, until this year all of my PALO sightings had  
been in the panhandle: Fort Pickens, Alligator Point three times, and  
Choctawhatchee Bay.  This month I have two sightings on the east coast.

David Simpson
Fellsmere, FL

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