Flashback Friday – a loon shakin’ on the Vermilion Lakes

This past summer I spent a lot of time at the Vermilion Lakes in Banff National Park.  I was drawn there by a pair of common loons who nested on the third lake this year.  This photograph was from May 27th at 5:41 am on a morning when I was alone with the loons and their beautiful, haunting calls to one another.  After diving, they preen their feathers and eventually lean back, unfold their wings and vigorously flap them to shed water.  This process always fascinates me and I love the way the still images look.   It starts slowly, with the bird shifting their weight and then stretching out the wings while raising their bodies off the water.  The flapping then starts and builds to a crescendo with the loon’s head pointing straight up, wings blurring furiously and water drops spraying off in all directions.  And then it ends with the bird dropping back into the water and carrying on preening, diving or paddling along.  The whole cycle lasting roughly 3-5 seconds.  The image below is that peak in the cycle where it seems the bird itself might fly apart.


3 responses

  1. What an interesting thing to observe and photograph, Christopher. The colors and reflections in these are beautiful.

    October 17, 2017 at 11:08 pm

  2. I would like to see, read and photos of the birds all the time. Reading and looking at the photos, this article gives me enormous pleasure. thank you for sharing.

    October 13, 2017 at 9:21 am

  3. Mike Hohmann

    “… I was alone with the loons and their beautiful, haunting calls to one another.” Well said, Chris -an apt description of the loons familiar calls. Their calls bring a quiet morning/evening lake scene to life, without doubt. We have many loons in MN (the bird variety, to clarify) and I’ll never tire of hearing them in the wild.

    October 13, 2017 at 8:31 am

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