Seldom Seen Common Loons

As you probably know by now if you stop in here regularly , there are many birds I’m excited to see, particularly when they are only here for a month or two out of the year. However, there are very few birds I will purposely drive hundreds of miles to see. One species is the Harlequin Ducks; the other is the Common Loon.

I have a long history with Loons. I heard my first loon the first time I took Dawn and Tyson on a backpacking trip by myself. We were hiking a seldom-used trail near Cascade Locks. At daybreak a long mournful sound came drifting across the small lake we had camped by. The kids wanted to know what was making that sound but I had no idea. I discovered what it was several years later while watching On Golden Pond. It’s impossible to ever forget that sound. For me, it’s the sound of our quickly disappearing wilderness.

Westport is certainly no wilderness, but I stop there nearly every time I go to the beaches because I can count on seeing the Common Loon that overwinter there :

Common Loons

Actually, there are quite a few places I can see Loon in the Puget Sound. I occasionally see them off Ruston Way, but always at a considerable distance.

I go to Westport to see them up close, sometimes so close that I can’t fit them in the picture frame, no matter how hard I try.

Common Loon

I figure a few missing tail feathers is a small price to pay for seeing how the water beads up on the head after diving.

Westport is one of the few places where the Loons are so indifferent they almost seem curious about those things standing at the dock staring intently at them.

Common Loon

Of course, I’d like taking pictures of them at Westport even better if the sun would occasionally come out so that I could actually capture the beauty of the green collar

Common Loon

that too often appears black when you try to maintain the proper shades of black and gray in the rest of the body.

5 thoughts on “Seldom Seen Common Loons

    • Sadly, I’ve never heard them make that call at Wesport during the winter. Now you’ve got me wondering why not.

  1. I think something like the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is at work here — You can have sunshine or you can have good looks at birds, but not both. Nice pictures by the way.

    • Thanks, John. I haven’t heard of that theorem before. I’ll have to see if I can remember it, though you’ll probably have to use it a few more times before I do.

  2. The first loon I heard in the wild was on an overnight camping trip to Lake Lichtenwasser. I heard the mournful sound as I was waking up inside the tent.
    When I looked out, I could see it solitary on the lake. It was like a religious experience. I’d seen the Canadian Film Board film “The Loon’s Necklace” in my anthropology days so I immediately knew what I had heard in the tent, but the film didn’t give me the chills I felt that morning.

What do you think?