Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Music to my ears...

The two birds I'm going to write about are 2 of my favorites. And I think many people would agree that one of them indeed has a soothing musicality to it's call...and the other, not so much. But still, they're both music to my ears.

If you read last nights entry, one of the birds was mentioned. The Common Raven (paid me a visit last night), and the Common Loon (paid me a visit during work today) are 2 of my favorites because of what their call reminds me of. Almost every summer, for the past 26 years, I've visited the Adirondack Mountains in Northern NY. The ADKs make me think of happy childhood times spent exploring bogs, climbing boulders, canoeing, fishing, bike riding...and then adult summers spent on GORGEOUS Raquette Lake working as a camp counselor for young girls. The Ravens spend alot of their time in the tree tops talking about goodness only knows what. And the loons are just the essence of the wild to me. I have a loon call as my ringtone on my phone because I just love it! People look at me like I'm crazy (like a loon?) when I get a call in public :)

Last night as I was writing, I heard a disturbance outside. One Raven calling is alot of noise, and when I got outside I counted 4 Ravens arguing at the top of an aspen literally a stones throw from my front door. I don't know what the issue was, or what the relation was between the birds (if any), but I just couldn't get over the noise! If you haven't heard a Raven before, check out the All About Birds: Common Raven Sounds page. Play all of the calls at once, turn the volume up, and that's what it sounded like here.

This is the only picture I could get of any of them in the aspen, as they were all hopping and flapping around. But then I heard a croak behind me...

...and up above my cabin in a dead spruce tree was a big Raven. I'm not sure if this bird was old, or dominant, or what...but he/she gave off this air of importance. Almost like a parent watching over the brood.

This bird is in the midst of croaking to the others in the tree behind me...


The Common Loon, like I said above, is just a regal looking, evocative sounding bird. Click on All About Birds: Common Loon Sounds to take a listen. Today I was out tracking Lake Trout on Hidden Lake (more on this eventually...) and I was able to see at least 3 different Loons. I saw many, but they may have been all the same birds, but I did see 3 flying over our boat and land together. Most of the pictures I got of the birds, were from a distance...because as soon as you approach, they dive underwater. And they can stay underwater for many minutes at a time, often surfacing a long distance from where they submerged.

Here are 2 of the 3, the one on the left was doing something really interesting. It was preening! Usually we see birds doing this on land, sitting in a tree, somewhere stable. But loons can barely support themselves due to where their legs are set- far back on the body. A duck or goose's legs are right under it's body, but the loon's are almost at the very end of their body! I did a quick Google search for "loon leg placement" and came up with some great images. If I ever found a loon on land, I would try to get it back to water...not advocating for the handling of wildlife, but I would feel compelled to do that. So this loon was preening in the water and rolling around showing it's white belly!

All I kept thinking was "splish splash, I was takin' a bath..."

The best loon picture one could hope to take...I was so lucky to get this picture with my zoom out on a bouncing boat...

And then I got caught watching! The loon didn't seem to mind, and allowed me one more shot before we moved off to a different part of the lake.

Although these two species of birds are polar opposites, they remind me of home. I'm 5,000 miles away for the summer, and I'm not really homesick...just wistful to be enjoying my home state in the summer months. At least I can hear a comforting sound in my temporary home :)


  1. Loons can be ibirded closer for better photos. ;) I just took some up at Bug Lake last weekend. They had chicks!

  2. I love the photo of the loon with its wings out....fabulous!


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