Birds of Chignik Lake: Pacific Loon

A Pacific Loon stretches between dives on a cold winter day. The Pacifics we encountered on Chignik Lake and Chignik River were wintertime visitors and therefore in their more drab plumage.  (Chignik River, January 12, 2018)

Pacific Loons are uncommon to occasional wintertime visitors on Chignik Lake and Chignik River. Although they sometimes appear in pairs, they didn’t arrive until well into wintertime and I saw no Pacifics in breeding plumage. As this species is known to nest on the Alaska Peninsula, it is possible that Pacific Loons could be found in spring and summer on Black Lake.

Abundant fish attract loons and other piscivorous birds to The Lake. As with other loons, in wintertime the estuary might be the best place to look for them. (Chignik Lake, December 5, 2017)

Several years before I got into birding (or serious photography), Barbra and I encountered this beautiful specimen in breeding plumage on a pond near Point Hope, Alaska. At the time, I didn’t realize that there is more than one species of loon! (Point Hope, Alaska, August 24, 2012)

Pacific Loon Range Map: with permission from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Birds of the World

Pacific Loon Gavia pacifica
Order: Gaviiformes
Gavia: sea mew
pacifica: of the Pacific region

Status at Chignik Lake 2016-19: Uncommon/Occasional

David Narver, Birds of the Chignik River Drainage, summers 1960-63: Not Observed

Alaska Peninsula and Becharof National Wildlife Refuge Bird List, 2010:
Rare in Spring and Summer; Uncommon in Fall and Winter

Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve Bird List: Probably Present but not Documented

Previous Article: Red-throated Loon

Next Article: Common Loon

*For a clickable list of bird species and additional information about this project, click here: Birds of Chignik Lake

© Photographs, images and text by Jack Donachy unless otherwise noted.


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