Loons Times Two and Razorbills

I got to do a little birding during a recent visit to Ocean City, Maryland.  There were about a dozen or so Common Loons quite busy diving for food at the Inlet.  I got lucky that a few came close enough for me to get some close-ups.


_dsc0179-1-22817Common Loon


_dsc0182-1-22817Common Loon


_dsc0184-1-22817Common Loon


A gentlemen with an exceptional scope was watching me photograph the Common Loons and came over to ask if I saw the lone Red-throated Loon out in the distance.  I hadn’t and was quite thankful as it was a lifer for me!  Of course, I took some photos, all the while hoping he’d come nearer.  He eventually surfaced close enough for me to snap a few close-ups.

Red-throated Loon


The gentleman was also excited to show me a rare sighting of a pair of Razorbills out in the distance at the point of the Inlet’s jetty.  Wow, another lifer!  Here’s where we all say, “Now if only I had had a bigger lens!”  Both heavily cropped and exposure-edited to share with you, and still not the greatest, but I did see them through the gentleman’s scope for confirmation.


Razorbills are Artic diving birds, wintering only as far south as Virginia.  I felt extremely lucky to see this rare sighting.

And boy, was I ever thankful to have met this gentleman!


44 thoughts on “Loons Times Two and Razorbills

  1. Wow what a day! I’ve never seen a dozen loons together, and I’ve missed the Red-throated twice! So it’s still on my “hope to see” list.
    Two lifers in a day is a stellar day! The images look wonderful to me.

    • It was a great day! The dozen common loons were spread way apart, so I had to wait for one to pop up closer as they fought the incoming tidal waves from the ocean. They are great swimmers, I was impressed! Yep two lifers in a day is stellar!! 🙂

  2. Interesting to see nice shots of the loons as we don’t have them here in Australia. The red throated loon looks particularly pretty. It was very nice of that man to share his scope and let you take a look at the birds. I bet his excitement was catching. 🙂

    • Thanks Sue! Most birders I run into are very cordial and always excited to share sightings. I even had a guy once with a HUGE lens on a tripod ask me if I wanted to look through his to see the Snowy Owl that I could see as a small dot in my camera’s frame. (I’m sure he could tell by my lens what I was seeing.) It was a thrill! 🙂

    • Thanks Hien! I had seen on bird alerts that the Razorbills were sighted there and had just said to my husband, “If I could only see them”, and then this gentleman who was out of earshot comes up and shows me them. What a thrill! I hope you see them someday, I understand they’re in the New Jersey waters during our winters also.

  3. I meet the nicest people out on trails. Amazing how complete strangers engage. We used to vacation in northern Minnesota and I loved watching and listening to the loons.

  4. Well done Donna, how wonderful to get two unexpected lifers! I have had a similar delight in the past where a birder with a large lens has pointed out birds I did not see. It is a wonderful feature of birders, we like to share our finds with others, it is not a competition, like it is with some twitchers who like to show off about their finds after the event. We don’t have Loons in Australia, so it is interesting to see your photos.

    • Hi Ashley! Hope your weekend is going great!! I just viewed and replied to Gunta’s comment on this post, and she was curious to know what a “twitcher” is. I guess I kinda thought I knew but now not exactly sure. So I told Gunta I’d ask you – what exactly is a “twitcher”? 😲

      • Hi Donna, a twitcher is often misunderstood as a birder but it actually is a birder with a birding addiction. Specifically for those who travel great distances to see and tick off a bird list they want to complete. See the movie “The Big Year” and you will understand better. The term twitcher was coined in 1950s for Howard Medhurst an English birder who had a nervous twitch. The big year syndrome is a US phenomenon where twitchers try to count as many different species in one year as a competition to win against other twitchers. Hope this helps😊

        • Thanks so much, Ashley, for the reply! I just let Gunta know you responded. We all had it kinda right but I had no knowledge of the history behind the meaning nor have I seen “The Big Year”. I’ll look into seeing that movie soon! Have a wonderful week, Ashley!

  5. It must be very mortifying to be just a ‘common loon’ when you could be a much more elegant ‘red throated loon’. My sympathy goes out to them. I enjoyed the pictures.

  6. Nice to see these! Isn’t it wonderful to run into a fellow enthusiast and become instant friends as you share something in common such as a love for birds, if only for a few moments.

    • Thanks Jane, you are so right! It is wonderful to meet one or more ‘birders’ and get giddy with delight over a sighting. 🙂 Unfortunately, my hubby doesn’t quite get it, LOL. 😉

      • I understand. My friend Frank and I go on outings together with cameras in hand and he gets annoyed by overly friendly birders who want to chat. He is “peopled out” from work and just wants to enjoy nature sans all the chitchat.

  7. Thanks for sharing! I was wondering if the common loon was possibly a juvenile. He looked like had little ‘tufts’ on his head, like a juvenile might. Great photos!

    • Thanks Susan! He/she could possibly be a later juvenile/young adult or is an adult just starting to molt to gain back his/her beautiful summer breeding plumage. Young juveniles are sandy brown in color, whereas older juveniles and adults turn a drab grey over the winter and are harder to differentiate what their ‘age’ might be. Great question! 🙂

    • Thanks Helen! I had been seeing e-bird alerts the Razorbills were at the that Inlet as well as the Delaware Indian River Inlet. So glad that other ‘birder’ was there to spot them, I don’t know if I’d have been able to find and ID them myself. 🙂

  8. Spotting a lifer is far more fun when it’s shared. I’ve found that most folks interested in birding are wonderful folks. Have yet to meet an unfriendly one. So what is it that interests hubby? Aussiebirder has me wondering what a “twitcher” is?

    • I agree, most folks are wonderful. I have been around a few ‘aggressive’ birders who do not care to ‘share the space’ for others, or as on a wildlife drive just pass you on by at high speed when they can see you are working on a photo op. That’s probably the Northeast for ya. Folks sure seem a lot more friendly the further south and west you go. Wonder why…. As for hubby, he loves water and shorelines and boats. So if I can mix water with birds, I’ve got a better chance with him agreeing to go. lol Now you got me wondering what Ashley (Aussiebirder) exactly means with a ‘twitcher’. Going to ask him now! I’ll let you know! 🙂

      • Luckily I haven’t run into any of the ‘aggressive’ birders so far. I’m sure they’re out there though. I googled the twitcher thing and apparently it refers to folks who go to EXTREMES to fill their life list. How bizarre to make everything so competitive.

  9. How utterly fantastic that you saw the razorbills, Donna! How fortunate for you to have met this man who gave you two easy lifers. When we birders are handed easy lifers by someone kind, it makes the bird that much sweeter too. Lovely photos and experience, thank you~~

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