Sometimes the eye and brain don’t make a good connection. Things can be how they seem, but the brain will deny it as a possibility.
First noticed on June 4 of this year, a trio of diving creatures have been hanging out in the northwestern area of the Findlay Reservoir in Findlay, Ohio. This large open area of water, lacking vegetation, is a popular boating and fishing area.
These waterfowl were large, somewhat familiar and just far enough out to be difficult to view even with bins. The first three sightings were without bins entirely. A trip to the bird book shelf ruled out every diving bird…huh?
It was time to get busy. Two lucky sightings gave a perfect view of Common Loons. But these are how they are seen in the winter around here…and we are too far south…they can’t really be loons, right?
After checking with other birders, various books and some local experts…we realized that a few loons do frequent this area in the summer and first year loons are in that gray-ish and white plumage this time of year. The brain did everything it could to NOT make that connection–making this a hard identification.
Birds don’t read bird guides and they don’t consult range maps. Birds can exhibit behaviors or display colors that don’t match up to our expectations. When birds show up when we don’t expect to see them, we begin to doubt what we see. That’s why birding remains to be an exciting (and occasionally frustrating) hobby–birds always have something new to offer us.