I am taking the liberty of copying below a post
from Bill Maynard regarding a supposed Arctic Loon in Franktown, Colorado. It
gives ID specifics.
There are few records of Arctic Loon south of
Alaska. If it really is an Arctic Loon, it may be the first interior U.S.
record. Neverthless, we've had Smews and Red-necked Stints and other crazy
Eurasian birds around here. We might as well start looking carefully at
"Pacific" Loons. Who knows, maybe an Arctic will turn up if we start
looking for it.
By the way, the key initial field mark for Arctic
is a white flank patch. If you don't see that, don't worry. If you do see it,
take careful notes. The other field marks are tricky.
There were approximately 20 birders at the Franktown,
Walker Road Pond
viewing the loon this morning. I would recommend
reading the April 1997
issue of Birding by Cin-Ty Lee for specific
information including photos and
drawings on separation of Arctic from
Pacific Loons. Those of us who
watched the bird for a few hours saw the
following features that make it an
Age: The loon has
retained some of its adult breeding plumage and is molting
The bird shows a block head and long bill of an Arctic Loon vs.
head and delicate bill of a Pacific Loon. If you watch the
loon after it
has been diving a lot, the head looses some of its blockiness
and can appear
a bit round. The bill is often angled up similar to what you
would look for
in a Red-throated Loon, a characteristic of Arctic
Although there is at times a suggestion of a chin-strap which a
in basic plumage has, this feature appears to really be the
result of dusky
feathers that remain from the alternate plumage. If you
can get a good look
at the bird when it is swimming face on, the chinstrap
look disappears. The
chinstrap feature is not a definitive method of
separating the 2 species but
is suggestive using the other
Pacific Loons have a dark band across their vents called a
Early this morning the loon rolled over on its side and there
appeared to be
a band from a distance which I believe was actually one of its
down. However, as the loon swam closer to us and rolled at
additional times, it was apparent that the undersides were
without a vent band. This has been documented in a clear digital
Flank color is the most obvious field mark to look for.
This loon has
obvious white flanks on both sides and sometimes shows
extensive white while
it is loafing. When it is actively diving the
white flanks often show only
on the hind parts, a feature which is consistent
with Arctic Loon.
Rarity: There are few if any inland records for
Arctic Loon. The Franktown
bird has been quite accommodating and has provided
very good scope views.
Urling and Hugh Kingery first found the bird Sunday
and reported noticing
it's white sides. Glen Walbeck went Monday and
took some very convincing
photos. Today, the rest of us took advantage
of their work.