I just went on the internet and found this website and it
has the relative frequency of Arctic Loon sitings in the
continental US and Alaska. Looks like CO, NE and OK are rare
locations for the loon.
November 19, 2002 7:01:37 PM
Subject: Arctic Loon
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
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
into adult basic.
The bird shows a
block head and long bill of an Arctic Loon vs. the round
delicate bill of a Pacific Loon. If you watch the loon after
has been diving a lot, the head looses some of its blockiness and
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 Pacific Loon
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
feature is not a definitive method of separating the 2 species but
suggestive using the other characters.
Pacific Loons have a dark
band across their vents called a vent strap.
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 legs
down. However, as the loon swam closer to us and rolled
at least three
additional times, it was apparent that the undersides
without a vent band. This has been documented in a
clear digital photograph.
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
hind parts, a feature which is consistent with Arctic
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
Today, the rest of us took advantage of their work.