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I saw the five loons in question this morning as well.  I considered the possibility of Yellow-billed Loon, but rejected it.  I do not claim to be any sort of an expert on the species which I have only seen twice.  My impression was that while the bird was clearly paler on the back and had a lighter colored bill, the head pattern was not consistent with Yellow-billed Loon.  I thought that bird had a typical Common Loon head pattern with a clearly defined division between the dark crown and rear neck and the paler face and throat.  A Yellow-billed Loon should show a much more washed out pattern with a dark spot in the ear area of the face.  I could not see any trace of this pattern and concluded that it was simply a pale Common Loon.  If someone with more experience with this species wishes to follow up on this, I would suggest that they visit the lake early (before 8am)   At that time the loons appear to be near the east shore. After people start to arrive especially the scullers they move into the middle of the lake.



  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: John L. Cowan 
  To: [log in to unmask] 
  Sent: Sunday, November 09, 2003 12:24 PM
  Subject: yellow-billed loon


  that's yellow-billed loon.
  Sorry.
  Went back for a second look. Five loons along the far shore. Too far for me to clearly make out the color of the bills. but first time, I was at Creve Couer Lake, the loon's bill was straw colored. I compared the bill with the bill colors on the other four loons. The possible yellow-billed loon kept apart from the four common loons.
  Jack Cowan
  South St. Louis

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