Monday, April 21, 2008

A symbol & suggestion to the poet.

I'm now going into the second year of my Minnesota birding novitiate. In the past two weeks as the melting ice has receded from the shores of the many lakes here and the snow has melted, the bird activity has delightfully escalated. A welcome sight and sound to all the winter weary!

On three separate walks I've taken around Como Lake and Island Lake near our apartment, I've sited the Common Loon. Nothing common about this diving bird, especially its mournful call. The state bird of Minnesota, it's unmistakable call can be heard for only a short time until it moves north toward Canada via Lake Superior. They carry their babies on their backs as they swim the lakes to keep them safe from Largemouth Bass. This is about as close as my bottom-of-the-line camera would get me plus this cunning diver would come up for air even farther from shore each time. But I got close enough to see his beautiful black and white feathers and the sun glinting off his red eye!

Presently we appear to be on the northern migration route of several kinds of water birds. Yesterday I was able to capture a few shots and after a little research hopefully I should be able to identify who they are.

Wood Duck male and female.

Someone along the trail said these small red and white birds with upturned tail above are on their way back to Alaska.

The woodpeckers have been on the drum line for weeks.


The very idea of a bird is a symbol and a suggestion to the poet. A bird seems to be at the top of the scale, so vehement and intense his life. . . . The beautiful vagabonds, endowed with every grace, masters of all climes, and knowing no bounds -- how many human aspirations are realised in their free, holiday-lives -- and how many suggestions to the poet in their flight and song! ~~John Burroughs


anno said...

That opening collage is stunning, as are your other photos. You're right, the call of a loon is eerie and soul-penetrating, hardly common. Taking a walk like this sounds like a great way to greet spring.

SandyCarlson said...

That's a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing these pictures.

I would love to hear a loon someday.

By the way, I love the Charlie Brown line that explains your blogger ID! (It's true....The Zamboni is the best thing about hockey!)

Beatriz' suitcase contents said...

Thank you for the pictures, they are beautiful. I do not see as many birds here, but I hear a coo-coo every morning, a first for this Colombian!

Inland Empire Girl said...

I love the way you did the collage. You have such a variety of birds. I am glad to see you can finally enjoy spring.

Old Wom Tigley said...

All great pictures, Loons calls are very strange. I think the 3rd from the bottom is some kind of Greebe. I take just the same shots and then the fun starts trying to see what they are

Julie Schuler said...

Wonderful post! I wish I knew more about our local birds. I can identify a robin and a crow with little trouble. Birds and fish are such great symbols.

Granny Smith said...

A loony post! Your pictures are lovely. I've been trying to capture a photo of a stellar's jay that has taken up residence in the redwood at the side of the house, but I guess I am not as skillful a hunter as you are.

Westerner that I am, I have never heard the call of a loon.

Thank you for a great post as always