Saturday, October 13, 2012

Loons - a special treat

From the Loon Preservation Committee - - "Loons, like ducks, geese, cormorants and grebes, are waterbirds, but they are classified spearately by scientists. Their closest living relatives are penguins and a group of birds called the 'tube-nosed-swimmers' (including albatrosses, petresl and shearwaters).

North America is home to five species of loons, including the Red-throated Loon (Gavia Stellata, ) Pacific Loon (Gavia Pacifica), Arctic Loon (Gavia arctica), Yellow-billed Loon (Gavia adamsii) and common Loon (Gavia Immer). The Common Loon is the most widespread and well-known species and the only one that breeds as far south as New Hampshire."

These two beautiful birds showed up at my family's Thanksgiving celebration at my brother's cottage. He (my brother) heard their haunting call and hurried outside signalling to me that we had special visitors. I grabbed my camera - so did he.

Then I tried to capture their back and forth conversation with each other as they swam parallel to the shore - about 20 yards from it - as if they were investigating the area for good fishing or for a possible stop-over spot on their fall migratory route to their wintering ground.

It was a special moment, since loons have always been held in high regard by my family - signalling "the north" or that exceptional place of freedom and peace that I somehow connect with their sounds. Those calls bring many reminiscences of times spent on or near northern lakes, wind scoured rock and tall white pines point east as the prevailing winds would have the do. Campfires, the smell of the outdoors - the recollections rush through me almost physically on hearing them.

It was a magical moment - part of a day filled with joy and gratitude.

May you enjoy such experiences today - such wonderful recollections, prompted by something you see, hear or smell at some point during your day.

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