Allen and I follow the curve past Bill Heddles Recreation Center and before us is Confluence Lake — ice! With the binoculars I can see some open water on the far side and it's covered with Canada geese as is the ice close at hand.
But I remember a different scene before the cold set in. Then there was open water with three species of goose plus some barnyard hybrids, Western grebes, coots, and a loon.
My friend, Barbara Early, called to let me know that there was a loon at Confluence Lake. Then there were reports of the bird on Western Slope Bird Net. Since our area is hardly "loon country," the bird was well worth a pursuit.
According to my copy of Sibley's "Guide to Birds," there were five species of loon with the range maps showing four of these species nesting in the far north. But the fifth species, the common loon, nests in the northern half of our continent and migrates through the United States. The odds are that this will be a common.
Allen parked the car and scanned the lake with the binoculars while I set up the spotting scope on the window mount. I scanned, and then wondered if this was a "wild loon" chase!
But suddenly there was a loon shape! It looked like a rather long-bodied brown bird, riding low in the water. But the thick neck and thick, pointed bill said "loon" to me. Now which one? I checked with Sibley and the closest match was a common loon. The guide states that this bird was 32 inches long and weighed about nine pounds. Here was the bird of myth and legend with its black head, red eye, and necklace. How totally different it was in winter plumage!blog comments powered by Disqus