A Loon-y week at the Cottage

July 20, 2015
Hi everyone! It’s my fourth week of retirement, and a lot of people are asking me how it feels to not have to work anymore. Well, it feels great! :)

Usually in July there are very few opportunities to do any serious bird photography, but I was blessed this year with having a family of Common Loons in Joe Bay (at the extreme west end of Paudash Lake) where we rented a cottage last week.

Common Loon
(click on the photo to enlarge it, then use the ‘back’ button to return to the blog)

I have always loved these birds. I love their look, behaviours, and their haunting call that is so familiar to everyone in Ontario. One day last week I was on the dock when a loon started calling from the middle of the bay, about 100 feet from where I was sitting, and I can tell you they are incredibly loud! It’s no wonder that their call can be heard for miles.

This next shot was taken just after dawn looking out toward Paudash Lake. It shows the main family of loons that occupied our bay last week.
Loons at Dawn

Loons are not especially skittish, but they are always aware of what’s going on around them.
(c) copyright Garry Kirsch, 2015

Most times the loons would swim up and down the bay, but once or twice I was privileged to witness one or two who flew in and landed on the water.
(c) copyright Garry Kirsch, 2015

Most ducks glide down to the surface, spread their wings wide to quickly slow themselves and then splash down – often awkwardly. Not so the loons. They approach the water like a pontoon plane, slowly losing altitude then skimming across the surface making a smooth landing on their belly. Quite spectacular to watch.
(c) copyright Garry Kirsch, 2015

(c) copyright Garry Kirsch, 2015

Loons spend most of their time diving for fish, and like most ducks they will from time to time spread their wings and shake off the excess water.
(c) copyright Garry Kirsch, 2015

(c) copyright Garry Kirsch, 2015
They spin the water away like a dog that’s trying to dry itself after a swim.

In case you think last week was all about shooting loons, here are a few other photos that I took. The first one is a Great Blue Heron being chased away by a Red-winged Blackbird. Herons often hunt in blackbird territory, so it’s not unusual to see the smaller birds constantly bothering the bigger birds while they’re trying to catch their dinner.
(c) copyright Garry Kirsch, 2015

This next photo, of a Kingfisher perched in a tree, is a type of shot that I call an enviro-scape – a shot of a bird, but where the prominent feature is its natural habitat.
(c) copyright Garry Kirsch, 2015
You’ll have to click on the photo if you want to actually see the bird. :)

Here’s a shot of a Kingfisher that has just grabbed a small fish from the water.
(c) copyright Garry Kirsch, 2015
This one is also a kind of an enviro-scape shot.

I’ll leave you with one final loon photo from last week – a week that offered much better than average opportunities.
(c) copyright Garry Kirsch, 2015

I know we’re in the middle of summer, but the Fall migration will begin in 3 or 4 weeks!
More blogs coming soon! :)

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2 Responses to A Loon-y week at the Cottage

  1. Happy retirement. We love being retired, it’s been 4 years now, and there is always something to do or some place to go to check out the birds.

    • Garry Kirsch says:

      Thanks Linda! I’m still getting used to retirement. It’s like being suddenly rich with time! :)

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