Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2013-34a

Common name:

Red-throated Loon

Scientific name: Gavia stellata
Date: 4-24-2013
Time: 5:45pm
Length of time observed: 1 hour 30 minutes
Number: 1
Age: unknown(immature?)
Sex: unknown
Location: Lee Kay Ponds
County: Salt Lake
Elevation: 4250
Distance to bird: 50 yards
Optical equipment: 10X50 Bushnell binoculars, Cannon SX20 Digital Camera, 20-60X Alpen spotting scope
Weather: Sunny.clear, mild(55F)
Light Conditions: good
Description:        Size of bird: 2 feet long,similar in size to nearby Western Grebes
(Description:)       Basic Shape: long,sleek,low in the water
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: dark gary above,pale whitish on face,throat,neck,flanks(water line pale)
(Description:)            Bill Type: long,slender,upturned
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Small loon with a slender upturned bill,pale lores,and extensive white on neck an above waterline. Red eye,yellowish in the bill.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: none heard
Behavior: loafing on the water,resting preening, sometimes alert. I never saw it dive.
Habitat: Large pond in a freshwater marsh complex near the south shore of the great salt lake.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
When I first saw the bird in question, I thought,is that a loon?,Yes,its not a grebe,neck to short for Western/Clark's Grebe,too big for any others. So the next question was,Common? no, bill to small,Pacific,no,face to pale. But what clinched the ID for me was seeing the tiny upturned bill,very characteristic of Red-throated Loon,and unmistakable in the field
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
References consulted: Sibley Guide to Western Birds,D.A. Sibley 2003
Description from: From photo(s) taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Bryant Olsen
Observer's address: 688 East 700 South #105,SLC,UT 84102
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Stephanie Greenwood,Shyloh Robinson,Jack Binch,Steve and Cindy Sommerfield,and several others showed up within an hour of me reporting it,and many others have seen it since.
Date prepared: 4-25-13
Additional material: Photos