Pacific Loon (Gavia pacifica), Site Six, Lake Havasu, Mohave County
These two Pacific Loons, one in basic plumage and one in worn alternate plumage, were discovered on 6 September 2008 by Bill Deppe, Steve and Vesta Myers, Curtis Marantz, and Brad Singer from a pontoon boat cruising near Site Six on Lake Havasu. They were photographed by Joe Hildreth on 15 September 2008 from Site Six and by Stephen Myers on 6 September 2008.
In the last several years, Pacific Loons have wintered regularly at this
location. However, they are thought to usually arrive in very late
October. Thus, this is an extremely early date for this species in
Arizona, although there is an August report from Lake Havasu in 1954.
The alternate bird is unmistakable with its silvery head, black throat and
black and white neck stripes. It could only be confused with Arctic Loon
which has never been recorded in Arizona and which shows more white at the water
line. In basic plumage, the dainty Pacific Loon could be confused with
Red-throated Loon. Pacific Loon is darker with greater contrast on the
head and a darker face. The bill is straighter and in the first photo you
can just make out the chin strap which is diagnostic for Pacific Loon.
Basic Common Loon is a much bigger, bulkier bird with a more angular head,
larger bill, white around the eyes and a partial white collar.
15 September 2008, photos by Joe Hildreth
06 September 2008, photo by Stephen Myers
All photos are copyrighted© by photographer
Submitted on 15 September 2008