I apologize to those who read both my blog and my facebook. This will be a repeat of some of what I posted to facebook. But it is such a rare event that I can't not blog about it. Especially since I've had so few bloggable moments lately.
Last year an email came across the Utah BirdNet listserve of a Yellow-billed Loon at a lake very close to where I work. I waited to head out there until I went to work - but that wait was one day too long, and it had continued on it's migration by the time I arrived. I was sad I missed a once-in-a-lifetime bird for Utah. And since I don't make it to Alaska all too often :) I figured I missed my only chance. There have only been like 3 sightings in Utah in the past 15 years or something.
So imagine my surprise when on Monday morning I log onto my email and see a message that a Yellow-billed Loon is on a nearby reservoir again. I played with the idea of driving the hour to see it. I am not a bird chaser, and really don't like the idea of driving all over just to see a bird. Too expensive in many ways. It just seems counter productive to helping birds when the carbon footprint can get so large....anyway, sorry about that detour in thought. But my point is, I wasn't sure I wanted to make the drive. I wasn't sure even if I did I would see the bird.
So I sent a text message to a co-worker who happens to live at the reservoir where the Loon was seen. She sent a text about an hour later saying she had found it, and was there with some other promonent birders.
Okay, that was all I needed. I made my roommate come with me.
As soon as we got to the reservoir I started scanning the water. My co-worker was going to join us with a spotting scope, but until then I only had my bins, and couldn't see anything other than maybe a Grebe.
But once we got the scope, and showed up at the right location (we knew it was because there was already a group of birders), we were able to find it.
The Yellow-billed Loon was hanging around pretty close to a Common Loon (top right of the above photo) and it was amazing to note the size difference.
This big beautiful bird came very close to the shoreline where we were all gathered. It was fantastic. A couple of cliff divers pulled up to see what all the commotion was about. They thought we were looking at mountain lion, or something off in the rocks. Although that would have been cool, I was much more excited about the loon.