I have been to Alaska on business trips a number of times and have always managed to scrape together some time to add on a birding excursion or two. The last time I was there, I had an unexpected bonus. I had booked a 1/2 day boat trip around the bay (this would be my first time back on the water after the disastrous trip in California). It was in June and still bitterly cold out, or at least I thought so. There were 15 of us huddled together inside the tiny cabin peering out through the wide windows. There was talk in town about an immature Yellow-billed Loon being found, but then it had disappeared. Apparently they were around, but not common. I asked the captain of our boat if there was any chance that we would see it. He didn’t sound hopeful. Oh, well. We all shrugged. He offered the possibility of an Aleutian Tern. We all happily abandoned the Loon for the Tern.
Coming back into the harbor after a terrific day of seeing amazing birds, we were all chatting about what we had seen where; when the oddest, palest loon I have ever seen was suddenly next to the boat. It popped up, then disappeared and reappeared a little ways away. We all rushed to the back of the boat. The captain swung the boat around in a wide arc and just when we had given up; the loon popped up right beside the boat. Sweet! Talk about icing on the Cake! Have you been to Alaska yet?
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