[CT Birds] Pacific loon - Lake Quassapaug, Middlebury

John D Babington davewb07 at sbcglobal.net
Tue Nov 10 17:49:21 EST 2009

Went looking for the reported Pacific loon on Lake Quassapaug in Middlebury with Russ Naylor this afternoon. We got to the place suggested by Greg Hanisek on Sandy Beach Rd by about 2:30 PM or so but did not stay long as the locals were not happy with our being there. Did get a quick scan of the lake here before locals yelled at us and did have a loon that was likely the bird in question. Drove around a bit and ended up looking at the lake from the RT 64 side near the Quassay Amusement Park. If one stop here to look for the loon suggest using the  parking lot for the ball field across  RT 64 from the entance of the Quassy Amusement Park. We had fairly good views of the lake from RT 64 by a private beach just to the west of the entrance for the amusement park. Be warned there are few places to view the lake without running into problems with people who own houses or property on the lake.

After a while scanning the lake from RT 64 we found the loon  first in the western, then in the middle, and then in the eastern part of the lake. The loon was doing a lot of diving for food and so was hard to watch for long at times. A greater black gull was also near the gull trying to get whatever food the loon was finding.

I first thought the bird was a horned grebe but once I watched it for awhile and had good looks at it I realized it was a loon. The bill appeared small compared to a common loon and not as long. The bill color was "whitish". The back of the loon was darker then the head, which appeared more grayish then the back. The back was darkish gray not black. There was a clear straight border on the neck which separated the white and dark gray of the neck. The bird was at distance so it was hard to see field marks well. It was not a common loon or red-throated loon. I would support the idea of Pacific loon but hope it stays around long enough for good photos to be taken of the bird.

David W Babington
Washington, CT

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