1. English and Scientific names:

Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis)


2. Number of individuals, sexes, ages, general plumage (e.g., 2 in alternate plumage):

15 April 2012: 2 males, 1 in adult winter plumage, 1 entering adult breeding plumage.  David thought at one point he had a 3rd, a female, but only saw it briefly and we couldn’t relocate or isolate while watching the others – sighting of a female is apparently consistent with other reports.  I never saw that bird.

28 April 2012: 3 birds.  I have virtually no notes from this day, and no photos.  I was in the presence of many other birders (LOS weekend: Kimberly Lanka, Mac Myers, Paul Conover, David Muth, Jennifer and Kevin Colley, and others), and had assumed this was being better documented by those where were there longer than I.

3. Locality: Parish:   Cameron

   Specific Locality: East Jetty Park, Cameron, LA


4. Date(s) when observed:

15 April 2012 and 28 April 2012.  All of the following notes in this report are based on the 15 April 2012 sighting.

5. Time(s) of day when observed:


6. Reporting observer and address:

Erik I. Johnson

Lafayette, LA 70508

7. Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s):

David J. Ringer

8. Other observers who independently identified the bird(s):

Saw reports from several others on LAbird throughout April


9. Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light):

Mostly, sunny.  Sun at about 90 degrees relative to birds (i.e. sun angled to SE, approaching overhead) and birds to SW.  20+ mph S wind.  High tide at noon with strong south winds swamping beach.  (Notes paraphrased from my eBird report, submitted a day or two after the sighting, which were based on notes I took in the field).


10. Optical equipment (type, power, condition): 10 x 42 Swarovski EL binoculars, Vortex 77mm spotting scope, Nikon D100 with Nikon 80-400 f/4.5-5.6 ED lens

11. Distance to bird(s):

About 100 meters


12. Duration of observation:

About 30-45 minutes

13. Habitat:

coastal shoreline waters

14. Behavior of bird / circumstances of observation (flying, feeding, resting; include and stress habits used in identification; relate events surrounding observation):

Foraging (diving) and preening in choppy waters

15. Description (include only what was actually seen, not what "should" have been seen; include if possible: total length/relative size compared to other familiar species, body bulk, shape, proportions, bill, eye, leg, and plumage characteristics. Stress features that separate it from similar species):

Pulled from my submission to eBird a day or two after the sighting:

“2 males. One in approaching breeding plumage with black crown, nape, throat, and neck with large white patch around eye and auriculars, tear-dropped shaped. Other still mostly in winter plumage with white crown, nape and throat, with black patch below auriculars onto neck, looking "molty" and ragged. Both birds together preening and diving. Photographed by EIJ.”

16. Voice:

Not heard.


17. Similar species (include how they were eliminated by your observation):

The black and white head pattern in winter and breeding plumages are unlike any other duck or swimming waterbird. 

18. Photographs or tape recordings obtained? (by whom? attached?):

Yes, I took photos,  attached.

19. Previous experience with this species:

Seen many times during two years living in Massachusetts 2001/02 and 2002/03 – was a common sea duck and a good jumping off point for finding other species.  Not seen in breeding plumage too often, however.  Never before seen in LA. 

20. Identification aids: (list books, illustrations, other birders, etc. used in identification):

a. at time of observation: Sibley Guide to Birds of North America

b. after observation: National Geographic Guide, 3rd Ed.

21. This description is written from: _____ notes made during the observation (_____notes attached?);__X__notes made after the observation (date: probably about 16 April, the day after the sighting); __X___memory (really just a few notes regarding circumstances).

22. Are you positive of your identification if not, explain:

23. Date: 28 March 2013  Time: 1:00pm