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Yellow Billed Loon, Saturday 5-8-10. What a day long adventure

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  • john small
    A very good evening So Cal Birders. I tried to start to yesterday(Saturday 5-8-10) early in the morning, because I figured that it would a very long day. And
    Message 1 of 1 , May 9 10:22 PM
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      A very good evening So Cal Birders. I tried to start to yesterday(Saturday 5-8-10) early in the morning, because I figured that it would a very long day. And that it was. After forcing my self to get out of bed at 9:30AM, I managed to get my self out of home at quarter past 10AM. After stopping at the local McDonald's, I caught a MTA bus that travelling north bound from San Pedro to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. I got off the the bus at 7th St. &
      Figueroa St., and caught the outbound MTA Red Line and barely arrived arrived in enough time to catch a connecting Santa Clarita bus to Santa Clarita.

       I arrived in Santa Clarita a half an hour later, and caught another Santa Clarita bus to Castiac where I then got off  that bus quite close to the Castiac Lagoon at around 2 o'clock in the afternoon. What I hoped would be see the loon & leave would turn into a nearly a 5 & a half  hour ordeal. When I first
      arrived at lagoon, I first saw what from a distance looked like the loon. I then got my binoc's on the bird, only to realize it was just a Western Grebe. I then proceeded to head over to the fishing wharf on the east side of the lagoon, where I had been advised to go a week earlier.

       For nearly 3 & a half hours I scanned the entire perimeter of the lagoon without having any success at finding the loon, at which time I then proceeded to the west side of the lagoon hoping for better luck. After stopping several over looks hoping to spot the bird. I finally came to an off path over look at the
      very most northwestern part of  the lagoon. After nearly a half hour looking, I was ready to call it a day & go home, quite disappointed at not being able to locate the loon, just after having worst luck a week before not being able to good visuals of any pelagic birds on the Condor Express.

       It then  finally came into view. It came out of a cove on the very northeastern part of the lagoon. The bird spent minutes preening & washing it self.
      The only problem I had from my view point, was the loon was good distance from me and I could make out the yellowish bill, even though I was utilizing pair of mini zoom binoculars. I then hurried on my bike(I forgot to mention earlier that I brought my bike with me) over to the east side of the
      lagoon(not back to the fishing wharf, but nearly to the end of the campground). I then locked my bike to a post, then proceeded to climb down a steep
      hill. I was able to get really close looks at the loon, despite that light was rapidly fading. Unfortunately the bird kept diving, and in the fading light I was
      only able to see brief looks  at the yellowish color of the bill.

       However, the shape & the size of the bill were very distinctly obvious. Unfortunately, because of both the fading light, and the loons consistent diving, I
      was not able to correctly find the spot on the loons head or the shape. The sun finally disappeared & darkness was rapidly falling and getting back home
      was a race against time. I was just able to the local Santa Clarita bus to connect to the Santa Clarita bus back to North Hollywood were I just missed the Red Line subway & had to wait for the next one to leave a half an hour later. Unfortunately I missed the downtown L.A. bus bound for the Artesia Transit
      Center & had to wait an hour for the next bus which to the transit center after midnight.

      After stopping at Denny's for something to eat, I got home just after 2AM. very tired but somewhat triumphant after getting my first life of 2010.

      Very Good Birding
      John Small
      Torrance, CA

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