Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pacific Loon

At lunch today I was able to relocate another reported bird, this one minutes away rather than hours! A Pacific Loon has decided to hang around McIntosh Lake, just outside Longmont.

I headed up on a late lunch and was able to get good looks at the bird off the dam side of the lake. Unfortunately the weather turned overcast as I arrived, and the pictures weren't quite as detailed as I would have hoped.

Even so, the looks were good, and if it travels on before I get a second photo opportunity at least I won't have missed it entirely.

I am used to watching loons, Common Loons specifically, dive when feeding. This one seemed to be finding it's meal at the surface though, and was engaging in a lot of head-down surface skimming while I watched. It reminded me of late winter Goldeneyes, who perform similar maneuvers in what I believed to have been courtship activities. Maybe they were surface feeding as well.

As I headed back to my vehicle I had one more birding treat in store, but that one deserves it's own post.
Since I haven't done an update in a while;
2009 Count: 185
Lifetime: 235
Side note, just finished Mark Obmascik's The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and a Fowl Obsession. A good read if you are one of the four birders who hasn't read this book, or like me are relatively new to this potentially all consuming passion. For me, one of the most interesting aspects was learning how some of the tools that I take for granted were created by these passionate individuals who were initially motivated to compete against the concept of a number. That was really driven home because I am concurrently rereading The Grand Slam: Bobby Jones, America, and the Story of Golf, by Mark Frost. Another great read for those who appreciate biographical non-fiction and 20th century history. A major key to Bobby Jones' success on the golf course was his mental approach to competing against a number - par - rather than his human competition in major tournaments. It is interesting that those who forge the way beyond what is considered the ceiling in their pass times draw their initial motivation not from direct competition with others, but from more intangible concepts. It is also interesting that both marks were set by amateurs, who were not pursuing a paycheck or their livelihood as they exceeded the expectations of others. The parallels don't end there, so if one or the other is a new title for the unread list, add it and compare the two feats.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't seen or head the call of a loon for a long time now, but still remember them from many years ago calling on Holland Lake here in Montana.