Sunday, August 7, 2016

Red-throated Loon (Gavia stellata) - 29Mar2016

One of these days I am going to get one of these in breeding plumage.  But until then I am happy to ogle them as they are in North Carolina waters in the winter.

Tidbit from Wiki:  "Its bill is thin, straight and sharp, and the bird often holds it at an uptilted angle. Though the colour of the bill changes from black in summer to pale grey in winter, the timing of the colour change does not necessarily correspond to that of the bird's overall plumage change. The nostrils are narrow slits located near the base of the bill, and the iris is reddish. One of the bird's North American folk names is pegging-awl loon, a reference to its sharply pointed bill, which resembles a sailmaker's awl (a tool also known as a "pegging awl" in New England)."

In North Carolina in the winter we sometimes see massive flights of Red-throated Loons off shore.  The strange thing is that at Wrightsville Beach we mostly see Common Loons and in Carolina Beach only 8-10 miles away we almost exclusively see Red-throated.  Would be interesting to see what the difference in habitat is.  I believe CB is much murkier water as a result of the Cape Fear drainage, maybe that has something to do with it.

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