I read a poem once that was called something like “stalking the wild loon.” It described the bird’s clever trick of ducking below the surface of the water just as you begin to close in on it. Then he pops up half a minute later about 50 yards away.
I was stalking a loon with my camera this morning. He seemed to tolerate my presence surprisingly well for a while, then he began a quiet evasive maneuver along the surface, and finally took the plunge.
It is an intriguing bird, very beautiful, evocative of wilderness and solitude. In the last two decades loons have adapted to more populated areas and are now not quite as rare to see on lakes or ocean front where there are people around. But it is still a very private bird. More often than not, when you see a loon, it is alone – a lone loon.
The contrast to yesterday was striking. This loon was swimming just a few yards away from where we were on the lake shore with 6 dogs, 6 kids 2 young adults and 3 grown-ups (they may be in their 20’s, but I still have to make a distinction between my kids, who are no longer kids, and full-fledged adults). It was the first time I ventured to let my three dogs join the fray unleashed, and it all worked out beautifully – after a fashion, anyway. Let’s say everyone ironed out their differences then had a lot of fun.