Tuesday, April 2, 2013

LOONOLOGY

wildlife shots taken with 150 -500 mm telephoto


"Fatha - Oh Fatha -- did you bring the good Foster and Smith biscuits Fatha?"

Cherokee Lake doesn't have much wildlife diversity to choose from but, one thing the lake does provide is a stop over place for common loons when they're migrating North for breeding purposes.  These birds are sensational to watch.  They appear a gray/brown in color through the summer months but when the time comes to migrate North for breeding purposes - their plumage changes to a pattern and color unique to the loon and no other bird.  Even their eyes turn red and the plumage on their heads changes from drab gray to rich black.   Loonguistically speaking - they are one of the most spectacular birds we have in North America.  The birds I photographed today will be leaving the lake on their long flights to points located in remote areas in our Northern states and Canada.  It's rare for me to happen onto so many loons on the lake in one spot and I took advantage of the opportunity.  Hope you don't get bored.  Seems I over post critter pictures sometimes and so it must be with the loons.  



Isn't he beautiful?  We are so fortunate to have these fantastic birds to see.  They will spend almost their entire life in the water, only coming to shore to nest.  In flight they appear elongated with their feet extending back behind their short tail.  The legs have been placed very far back on their body by evolution making it almost impossible for the loon to walk on land.


The only reason I captured these images is because there were so many birds on the water.  I cut the engine and allowed the boat to just move silently with the current.  Some of the birds, not all, ignored my presence and approached closer than they normally would.



You've got to remember that I'm not searching for any critters you see on this blog unless I'm in my personal boat or on foot.  They appear in front or beside my boat or land in trees beside the waterway.  The incident with these loons today is nothing more than pure luck.  I may never have this opportunity present itself again.  Sometimes I have better luck finding wildlife by not looking for it than I do when I search intently.  That's life I guess.  These birds are gathered here to forage for fish and I doubt they will be here for more than a day.



I sometimes get "looney" over loons.  Hope I didn't bore you too badly.
"Hey Shade - when you get done rolling on that dead catfish over there, come on over here.  There's a dead bluegill I'd hate for you to miss."
"At a girl."
She sat there staring out across the lake all quiet and still.
I spoke out loud to myself, "I'm gonna wash yer ass when we get home."
She instantly jerked around and gave me the most astonished look!
Love her!




I don't understand.  Just don't.

So, that's it for today.  We'll be back up on the river tomorrow morning and that's a good thing.  See ya.