Thursday, April 12, 2018

Loons on the Lake

Every spring, migrating loons stop at the local lake on their way home to northern Wisconsin. Some years they stay only a day or two; this year they've lingered longer - in no hurry, I imagine, to face the very cold temperatures and generous snow that early April brought.

The common loon, during breeding season, is a handsome black-and-white bird, with plumage gorgeously speckled and striped:

According to whatBird, a group of loons can be called an "asylum", "cry", "loomery", "raft", or "water dance". I haven't seen any dancing loons, but I've heard their haunting cry echo across the lake. The sound is particularly eerie on a foggy evening or morning.

Loons can dive both deep and long; while taking these photos, I saw many a loon disappear smoothly underwater, often to resurface a full minute or more later, many tens of yards away. (Some traveled so far under water that I didn't see them resurface at all.)

Any day now the loons will disappear - not underwater, but into the air - to finish their long flight north. I'm glad to have seen them during their brief stay.


Along with loons on the lake, we've got assorted odd ducks:

Red-breasted merganser (I think)

Northern Shoveler

After wading through (ha! water bird pun) dozens of blurry photos to get a few acceptable shots for this post, I've realized why I like to photograph wildflowers. Birds get nervous at my approach, and tend to swim or fly away; wildflowers are breezily uncaring and sit happily still while I shoot. Birds are usually sitting on high wires, at the tops of trees, or floating on the other side of a lake, making my little camera stretch out its neck to extreme zoom mode; wildflowers grow at the edge of the road, where I and the camera can get right in amongst them.

The time for wildflowers has not yet arrived; but the northward passage of these migrating birds is a herald of the blossoms to come.

Do any interesting birds migrate to or from where you live?


P.S. The I-cord series will resume in a few days. I could hear you wondering. :)

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