This ginormous, super zoom lens has made Tami a wildlife geek.
When she isn’t talking about the eagles, turtles and loons,
she’s walking down to the lake or kayaking on it to take photos of our wildlife! But she isn’t alone. Every time we went down to the lake this weekend, there were several camping families watching and taking pictures of the eagle family.
You have to wonder what those eagles think of us, staring at them all day?
Tami’s been whining to David about whether or not she should keep the lens a little longer after what she saw today. And I have to admit, she had a cool experience. I can almost forgive her for neglecting her gardens for the third day in a row. (and if you know Tami, like I know Tami, she never does that!)
Tami got out of the kayak today and announced that in all her years of loon watching, she’s never, ever caught them switching off nesting duties. Having a lens of this big lets her respect their space (at least 200 yards), yet she has a front row seat, and best of all, she can show all of you!
First, she heard the nesting loon call out . . . the one that sounds like “where are you?”.
Then she saw the mate making its way over. He’d dive, then silently appear. All you could see was the top his back, and his long neck stretched over of the surface of the water. After looking around for danger, he’d dive once more. When he was within a couple hundred yards, he called back to her.
The nesting loon then reared back to turn her eggs.
Can you see two of them? Olive colored?
Once she’d turned them, and he’d called to her once more, she slipped into the water.
It was hot on the lake today. Very, very hot! It was so hot, the eagles had their tongues hanging out up on top their nest.
At least the loons were smart enough to build theirs in the shade. Still, once the nesting loon hit the water, she looked like a kid who’d jumped in a pool after a two hour time out.
She dove. She waggled her feet. She stretched her wings. She arched her back.
The only muscle Tami moved was her right hand, pointer finger as she snapped over eighty photos, thanking God and anyone else she could think of for this glorious opportunity.
All the while, the other loon was quietly getting closer and closer to the nest. Mind you, neither one was more than 100 feet from it at any time.
As I watched, I remembered reading how careful they must be getting on and off it. A loon’s webbed feet are not made for land. They hit the water hours after being born, and only come back to it to nest. Their feet are set further back on their body to make them stronger divers, so you can imagine how awkward they are on land. If they have to get on or off the nest in a hurry, they might accidentally kick out an egg. Eagles lift up to leave their nest. Loons kind-of-sort-of fall off it. This is why it’s so important not to startle them.
This loon very carefully climbed back on . . .
Rearranged a stick or two. . .
Then settled in for his turn at baby sitting duty.
Again, I feel so lucky to have seen this today, and I wouldn’t have gotten such awesome pictures without this big lens.
I sure hope these two eggs hatch, and the babies survive all the dangers on the lake; among them are snapping turtles from below and eagles from above. Boaters and kayakers too, are a challenge. These babies will be born when boating is at its peak. Unlike the eagles who sit on high and stare down regally on us, the loons have no where to go. The babies can’t dive for weeks. They could be separated from their parents. Please, if you see loons during the next few months, assume they have babies. Give them plenty of space and the right of way.
I’m posted a similar story on my writing blog, if you’re interested. It will have a couple different pics for you to see.
And if you’d like to know more about loons, here’s a link for the Maine Loon Project.
Stay tuned for loon updates!