Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2010-26

Common name:

Red-throated Loon

Scientific name: Gavia stellata
Date: 6-22-2010
Time: 9:00 am
Length of time observed: 30 minutes
Number: 1
Age: 1st year
Sex:  ?
Location: Strawberry Reservoir, Chicken Creek West cove
County: Wasatch
Latilong:  ?
Elevation: 7,602 feet
Distance to bird: 200 yards
Optical equipment: Zeiss 10x42 T*FL binoculars,
Canon EOS 50D with a Canon zoom lens EF 100-400mm 1:4.5-5.6 shot at 400mm zoom
Weather: clear, sunny, low 70's
Light Conditions: a little glare, but not bad
Description:        Size of bird: 25" (see comparison with White Pelican in photo)
(Description:)       Basic Shape: elongated body with slightly elevated beak
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: grey body, lighter neck up to eye, darker above eye and top of head, grey bill, slight mottling on back
(Description:)            Bill Type: medium-sized, straight and pointy held at slight upward angle
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Swimming in water near ducks and White Pelican gave size reference. Color different than ducks. Bill seemed too small for Common or Yellow-billed. Bird seemed too light in color for Pacific or Artic. Plus bill held at slight upward angle indicated Red-throated. Cruised through water without diving. Didn't associated with other birds or make any detectable sounds.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: none detected
Behavior: Swam alone slowly near ducks and White Pelicans. Never approached closer than 20 feet from shore.
Habitat: high elevation fresh water reservoir
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Please see field mark description above and photos. I also asked a local expert, Steve Gerow from Santa Cruz, California, to examine the photos.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
We see this species regularly along the California coast, where I often birdwatch.
References consulted: The Sibley Guide to Birds, written and illustrated by David Allen Sibley, 2000 version, 6th printing.
Description from: From memory
Observer: Jean M. Myers
Observer's address: 4265 Redwood Retreat Road, Gilroy, CA 95020
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird:  none observed
Date prepared: 6-28-2010
Additional material: 4 photos - 1 full frame for reference, 1 cropped with white pelican, 1 cropped closeup head straight, 1 cropped closeup head looking at me
Additional_Comments: It is a pleasure birding in your beautiful state when visiting my daughter who is in school in Ogden, Utah.