Sunday, August 25, 2013

Pursuing the Loon

I set out early after waking S. to let her know that I am going.  She asks where I am going and I tell her, "just up the shoreline, the tide is out and I can't go anywhere interesting". 

It's calm and sunny and I am outnumbered by fishermen hunting pogies by 20 to 1.  The sun reflects off of an undulating surface in a pattern that suggests code, or sinister mind control....the blinking that should have a warning label about seizures.

I head north and pass the flag rocks, and I pass the Oyster River, its mouth far too shallow at this tide level to even get near to, and I stop and turn at the next point, for which I have no name.  I haven't found any distinctive features to name it with other than the nasty chop that forms here on a south wind.  A black bird surfaces, its head held at the wrong angle for a cormorant.  Cormorants hold their heads chin high.  This bird looks loon.  It dives and I watch for about a minute before it comes up for air, a hundred yards south of where it went down.  This also looks loon.  Then, as I sit, I hear three individual "oooop"s...not the familiar loon call, but entirely in the distant swallowed echo voice of a loon.  I follow, aiming each time it dives, for the point where it disappears and scanning the surface for its next appearance - a minute five, a minute ten, seventy five yards, a hundred yards between breaths.  Whether by intention or not, it doesn't let me closer than two hundred yards.  I pass it near the flag rocks while it is busy preening two hundred yards seaward of me.

It is the first loon since they left in the spring.

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