After a series of unsharp photos and a half-hour of observing it through the scope, It became clear that it was a Red-throated Loon as opposed to the more common, albeit out-of-season Common Loon. It's another addition to the yard list, bringing it to 156. I actually did a calculation of the loons distance and came up with a distance of 2800 feet. The bird was so small in the full frame that the photo would have to have been enlarged up to 10 feet by 15 feet in order for the loon to be 2.5" in length. And that was with a 500mm lens with a 1.4x teleconverter.
Just before the loon appeared I had a first-of-the-year Purple Finch visit my feeder. The year list for the yard is at 55 about 15 ahead of this point last year.
Yesterday morning a commotion occurred at my back window as a Mourning Dove franticly sought shelter under my second story deck. When it found a secure hiding spot, the Merlin that tormented it chose to keep a watchful eye on it from a shepherd's hook at my bird feeding station. Ultimately patience paid off for the dove as the Merlin flew off seeking easier prey elsewhere.
Only other birds of interest that I've been able to photograph since my last post were a flock of Redheads offshore at the end of December.
Back on December 22 a freighter passing by at night caught my attention. A quick check on Boatnerd.com ID'd it as the Arthur M Anderson. The Anderson's historical significance is that it was the last freighter to have contact with the Edmund Fitzgerald on its ill-fated journey in November 1975.
Last month in a text conversation with Matt McConnell after I added my 148th species (Common Redpoll) to my yardlist, I mused about hitting 150 by the end of the year. Matt suggested that a likely upcoming addition could be a White-winged Crossbill, which had been seen in our area. His prediction came true this morning when a female White-winged Crossbill visited my platform feeder and got me to the 150 milestone.