Total ABA Species Recorded During 2010 - 731

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Yellow-billed Loon

Slept in.  Had a nice breakfast at a pancake house.  Coffee not so good.  However, felt really good when we got the rental Prius on the road and heading along good old Route 101 toward LA.  Except we were not headed directly to the airport motel.  We were on our way to Castaic Lake where a Yellow-billed Loon had been recently discovered.  It took a little more than a couple of hours to get there.  Then it was a bit of a chore to find the best place to go to scope the lake.  The first total scan of the lake produced no loons.  I moved to another location while John tried another scan.  He heard a loon call and called me back.  Together we discovered two loons swimming together.  One was a Common Loon, but the other was bigger, paler, had a larger paler bill, and a much paler more patterned face.  That one was the Yellow-billed Loon (web photo).  We moved around the lake so that I might be able to get a picture.  But we lost the loons.  Some time later they reappeared, but were again so far away that a picture was out of the question.  A large group of swallows was beginning to gather over the lake including Tree, Northern Rough-winged, Violet-Green, Barn, and Cliff, the latter two being new for the year.  In addition there were five species of grebe (Western, Clark's, Pied-billed, Eared, and Horned).  Also a Spotted Sandpiper.  It's clear that spring migration is underway.  In the parking lot we reorganized our luggage and I made a couple of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  After picking up some coffee, we headed south toward LA and our motel.  We checked in and John ran the car over to the rental car return which was only ten blocks away.  Tomorrow will be a full day of travel beginning with our 6:00am shuttle to the airport followed by the flights home to Norfolk.  The species total is now 409.

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