Sunday, March 20, 2016

Yellow-billed Loon

On Sunday March 6th, James Smith, Brian Kane and I made a trip to Race Point in Provincetown in search of Massachusetts first Yellow-billed Loon! The YB Loon was found a week earlier by the sharp eyes of Steve Arena. We departed Belchertown at 5AM and made it to the Race Point parking lot by about 9AM and then started the 1.9 mile march down the beach in the soft sand. We also made out like bandits with the weather this day, light winds and temps in the low forty’s, about an hour later we were on the Yellow-billed Loon!! As it would turn out, the Yellow-billed Loon was only part of the prize that day; the other part was the incredible amount of loons that were at the point. Without a doubt, it was the best viewing of winter plumage Common, Red-throated and even Pacific Loons that I had ever encountered! Very rough figures on the number of loons at the point that day,  Common 70-100, Red-throated 150-200 and 3 Pacific.  We just worked over the loons for the next several hours, along with the flotilla of loons; there were few hundred Razorbills, a handful Thick-billed and Common Murres, Iceland Gulls and the normal sea ducks one would encounter in late winter. It was a great outing with great company, the drive home just flew by……photos below

Yellow-billed Loon-1st Yr . Race Point

Yellow-billed Loon

Yellow-billed Loon

Common Loon and Yellow-billed Loon (rear)

Common & Yellow-billed Loon

Pacific Loon- one of three out on the point. Although rare in New England, in recent years Pacific Loons have been regular at Race Point.

Pacific Loon-Certainly not a great shot, but shows the thin chin strap, sharp demarcation line along the neck.

Pacific Loon

Iceland Gull

Black Scoters

closer to home.....Fox Sparrow (Red) at the feeder,

Red-tail Hawk in the West Meadows-Northampton

Red-headed Woodpecker- Still present as of yesterday (3-19-16) at the Fannie Stebbins Refuge in Longmeadow, Mass