Close encounter with a Loon

G

Guest

Guest
I posted this over at ADK but I thought I might share here.

This happened on an overnight excursion in Saranac Lakes Wild Forest in the Adirondack Park.

Some of you may be thinking Loons? They are as common as mud puddles in ADKs this time of year. And we've all seen them... yeah I have and have been fascinated with them since I was little. I think the closest I have ever been without them diving away is about 50ft.


I had quite an experience with one this past week, I don't think it is common, as I have asked and shown as many people as would care to look at my pictures and they had never heard of such a thing.


We had two get VERY close to us on Fish Creek in Saranac Lakes WF. I mean CLOSE. I could have reached out and pet the more wiley one. I am assuming it was a mating pair but I don't know for sure.


We happen to pass them coming down Fish Creek and when approaching them I was certain that they would dive and disappear into the black waters... They did not.


The current carried us down past them and the more timid of the pair dove when we were about 5' away. The more brave stayed firm. I said hello to him as I passed.


At that point I told my wife to break out the camera and we looped back and did a little dance with them in the water.


1010989_510743888992743_1254753728_n.jpg



The one from the pair in the above picture had some sort of fascination with our boat. I swear I think he thought it was a giant fish (think of the look of kelvar weave vs. fish scales - pretty similar in appearance).


He liked it so much he came right up to the side and snapped at it. I swear on my life!


Here is a picture of him right before or after he found out our boat wasn't edible (I can't recall the which). You can see the edge of our boat in the picture and sense how close we were:


1001800_510743938992738_1457854884_n.jpg



I was still being very careful and slow with my movements until he snapped at the boat. He then approached my wife and she thought he might snap at her! He went by peacefully and we then decided we had gotten close enough.


At that point I couldn't say if he thought our boat was a giant fish or he was being aggressive and protective. I've never known Loons to be that way, but I could be wrong. Either way it was a magical experience. And it was pouring rain the whole time. If we had pulled over and set up the tarp we would have missed them.


Here is the spot on our boat where he pecked it. It scratched the decal and the gel coat. The beaks on those suckers are sharp!


1044433_510744602326005_1233997954_n.jpg


The rest of the trip was nice except for the rain, which we paddled through for about 2 hrs before making camp.

And hey, they don't call me 'the bird' for nothin'!
 

Glenn MacGrady

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
2,001
Location
Connecticut
Maybe people have been feeding them from canoes and they were expecting a meal. I mean, you can train ducks and squirrels and bears and palmetto bugs with food, so why not loons.
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
Messages
3,460
Wow! I've never seen or heard of a loon acting like that, and I see hundreds every year. I've seen loons with little baby loons on their backs, and they didn't act defensive, they just took off. Seems like you have found the Schwarzenegger of loons!
 
Joined
Feb 14, 2013
Messages
989
Glen - palmetto bugs? I want to hear that story!

Birdman - cool story and photos! The things we might miss by getting out of the rain....
 
Joined
Sep 8, 2012
Messages
197
Location
Toronto
Awesome pics!
Reminds me of a time some 15 years ago, in Quetico, my buddy was fishing while I paddled. He got a bite, reeled it in. I could see the spoon coming near with a small fish on the end...Suddenly a white and black blur appeared following the fish toward the boat.Fish and lure came out of the water, and confused loon torpedoed right under the canoe. I Could've picked him right out of the water. He came up about 10 m later and pretended nothing had happened...like a cat.
 
G

Guest

Guest
Haha... crazy loons! I wish I could take credit but all I had to do was sit there and look dumb. In fact I have another shot with my face with a stupid grin and the loon by the boat - I omitted that one...

My wife took the pictures, she deserves the credit I suppose.
 
G

Guest

Guest
I had one come right up along side of us and rear up out of the water cackling at us, as we had been paddling a little trough creek and got too close to a nest. I've had a few go right under the canoe and kayak already also.
 
G

Guest

Guest
Confirmed!

The nest was in the exact location where the loon pecked at me. It was actually right behind us on the other bank of the creek, we just failed to see it.


1151011_528996743834124_1860290103_n.jpg
 
Top