Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Lake Wompanoag Loons 3/31

Typically the local breeding Common Loons return to the area close to April first, soon after "ice out". This evening I checked Lake Wompanoag, on the Gardner/Ashburnham line, to see if they were on schedule as the ice had cleared off in the past week. I was very surpised the first loon I saw was a Red-throated Loon, a first for me in the area.
There are usually only one or two sightings of this species in Worcester County each year, so I feel very fortunate. Here is a digi-scope shot, showing the thin bill pointed at a slight upward angle, lots of white on the cheeks and neck along with the slight build and structure (less than 1/2 the mass of a Common Loon).

A winter or basic plumaged Red-throated Loon on lake Wompanoag, on the Gardner side.

There was also a Common Loon present far across the lake, on the Ashburnham side of the lake; and while visiting Crystal Lake, a few minutes later, I saw another Common Loon. The Wompanoag Common Loon was too far to check for leg bands and the Crystal lake bird had NO band on its left leg (the only one it lifted above the water).
A breeding plumage (or alternate plumage) Common Loon on Crystal Lake.

1 comment:

Dan LeBlanc said...

I noticed a loon today feeding at Crystal Lake in Gardner, MA, I've noticed these birds in years past and was wondering if this might be a site for their mating habitat.