|Gavia arctica||Order: Gaviiformes||Family: Gaviidae (Loons)|
Gavia arctica Order: Gaviiformes Family: Gaviidae (Loons)
The Pacific and Arctic Loons were considered different species from the time the American Ornithologists’ Union created their first Checklist of North American Birds in 1886 through their 1931 Checklist, when taxonomists decided the Pacific Loon was a form of the Arctic Loon and lumped them as one species. Then, in 1998, the two birds were split again. The Pacific Loon is the one that turns up in the upper Midwest occasionally, but on May 31, 2021, Ryan Brady found an Arctic Loon near Herbster, Wisconsin! The only one I’ve ever seen was in Alaska on June 14, 2022. My photo of the distant bird isn’t as clear as our spotting scope views was for picking out the bird’s white flanks. Fortunately, better birders than I confirmed what it was.