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YELLOW-BILLED LOON on Mission Bay

YELLOW-BILLED LOON on Mission Bay
By {authorlink} – 6:34 pm

Two visiting birders from Utah, Matthew & Darren Pendleton, eBirded a Yellow-billed Loon from Mission Bay today, but unfortunately seen fairly late in the day and the first eBird alert was not received by anyone we know until about 4:24 PM. Gary Nunn was summoned given he lives close by, as the sun was setting, and he rushed there in time to see about 7 Common Loons in all, in the darkening gloom, plus one large loon flying away to the ocean! Anyway, I quickly contacted the observers, who quickly supplied me with a nice photo of a Yellow-billed Loon!! So, clearly there was a Yellow-billed there this afternoon, and hopefully it was not the large loon sp. that Gary saw flying away….. The bird was photo’d along the northeast side of Vacation Isle, but most of the Common Loons were in the “Sail Bay” part of northern Mission Bay, to the north of northwest Vacation Isle. Gary’s disappearing, flying bird took off from under the Ingraham bridge on the north side channel between Vacation Isle and Crown Point, and flew west out to sea. Clearly ALL parts of Mission Bay, including the entrance channel, are worth checking first thing tomorrow.
Be careful not to ID a brightly lit Common Loon with a “pale” bill as a Yellow-billed. This bird has the up-angled bill with a pale culmen, and a blocky head. Perhaps somebody else with whom I shared the photo can upload it somewhere and provide a link for everyone.
SIGH…..
–Paul Lehman, San Diego