Pacific Loon, Bald Eagles & Hooded Mergansers at Tinemaha Reservoir today

Observers: Jim & Debby Parker
Verification: sierra
Remote Name:
Date: 12/02/2006
Time: 08:29 PM -0500


A beautiful warm day at the s. end of reservoir, we walked out on the dam with our scope and enjoyed many ducks, (beautiful Goldeneyes), 12 Tundra Swans & more. After walking halfway across the dam east, we spied a cluster of Hooded Mergs, which was a surprise as we usually only have a handful of this species at one time, but we spent time carefully counting and recounting and came up with 20 Hooded Mergs, male and females. Mixed in with them were Common Mergansers which were mostly along the east side. Jim spotted a loon that looked different from a Common Loon, which is the more expected loon here in winter. The Pacific Loon had a smooth gray round head, with a straight bill which is smaller than a Common and it held its head straight. The gray came down to the eye and down the side of neck. The bird had a thick-headed look, as if a luxurious hood lay over its head and down its nape. The neck and breast were white and the sides mostly gray. The back was darker with black and white lines falling in a pattern across the back. Contrastingly, a Common Loon has a "cross-hatched" look to the back and a thicker bill, and a flat-topped head with a more vertical forehead, not as rounded as in Pacific.