"Sure - see if we can find some interesting winter waterfowl! (PALO??)"
Guess what we saw? Yep, a friggin' Pacific Loon!!! Within the first 10 minutes of the day too. This is only the second winter record for the area (and the 7th for Michigan), the first being on the St. Mary's River in February 2002 (a one-day wonder). Most, if not all, of the other area records come from Whitefish Point. There are 46 records for Michigan up to August of this year (plus at least 3 more from WPBO this fall) so this would be about the 50th record for the state.
So to summarize, a pretty good bird! We were happy anyway. This is my 290th species for the 'Sault area'.
Here are some crappy record photos through my scope at 60x. Note the pale nape, bulbous head, thin straight bill and dark 'collar'. The lack of white on the flanks (not really visible in these pics but seen well in the field) separates it from Arctic Loon.
Pacific Loon, St. Ignace, MI - Dec 2, 2013 9:02-9:20am