Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2015-52a

Common name:

Yellow-billed Loon

Scientific name: Gavia adamsii
Date: 12/26/2015
Time: 1:20 pm
Length of time observed: 40 minutes
Number: 1
Age: Juvenile
Sex: Unknown
Location: East Canyon Reservoir
County: Morgan
Distance to bird: 400-550 yards
Optical equipment: Swarovski 20x60x80 HD
Weather: Clear & very cold
Light Conditions: Sunny
Description:        Size of bird: Large, 33+"
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Loon-ish
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Dark body, pale brownish head/neck
(Description:)            Bill Type: Long, dagger-like, tanto shaped tip, straight culmen, yellowish.
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Flat crown to head with a steep forehead and back of crown peaked. Overall head and neck were a very pale brown with mostly white face and neck. Bill was yellowish with a tanto shaped tip, straight culmen. Flanks appeared much lighter than back which was barred, suggesting juvenile.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: None observed
Behavior: Swimming and actively diving for food. At one point the bird sat up and flapped wings for feather adjustment and appeared to have no injuries.
Habitat: Water. Mountain reservoir.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Red-billed and Pacific Loon would have had darker and smaller bills. Common Loon
Would've had a much darker head and neck, more rounded back of crown, and a darker bill with a curved culmen.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Have observed all species of loons in the field, with YBLO being the exception. Of those, I have observed all but Arctic Loon in non-breeding/juvenile plumage.
References consulted: Sibley's & Nat Geo Field Guides.
Description from: Notes taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Mike Hearell
Observer's address: 173 W 1825 N
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Billy Fenimore, Weston Smith (earlier in the am)
Date prepared: 12/26/2015
Additional material: Photos
Additional_Comments: Views through scopes were much better than photos would suggest.