Minnesota Farmer

Loon tunes
July 4, 2010, 9:31 pm
Filed under: Fishing, Minnesota, Wildlife | Tags: , , , , , ,

I’m just back from a trip to northern Minnesota, into the land of forest, lakes and not a lot of people.  Karen’s family has a cabin on a small lake that is usually quiet on week days, but can get busy on weekends.  Most folks live there year round, but some, like her family, have places there for visits to the north of Minnesota.

Since today was my last day, and when my truck leaves the kayak and canoe leave, my daughters and I went out on the lake before all the late night revelers got up.  Emily had gone first, and we saw her just sitting in the middle of the lake on the kayak surrounded by little specks of black.  As we approached we realized from the chorus that she had drifted into a flock of fishing loons.  As long as she didn’t move, they ignored her.  We counted between 12 and 16 loons out there.  The actual number was hard to come by since some were always under water.

I’ve never seen so many loons in one place.  Usually each smaller lake has only one pair.  A larger lake may have a pair in each bay, but never over a dozen.  None of these birds had chicks so it is possible they were unmated loons.  No matter what, it was a really special time.

As we drifted into the area the loons continued their displays and songs.  Many times a loon would surface near us, and if we did not move, it ignored us.  They would groom, talk, and fish, all as if we were not there.

I don’t know why the loon party started, or why it broke up, it just did.  We saw only one fly away, but they all dispersed, and the party was over.  I would like to hope that, since we were quiet and respectful, they let us in on the party.  I do know that the loons were moving off before the motorboats started making noise and waves.  Then, with the roar of engines on the lake, we also left the area.  The awe and wonder of those loony tunes will live in our memories for a long time.



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