Totally captivated in 2007 by the live camera feed of the Hornby Island nesting Bald Eagles in B.C., I was drawn into birding and have never looked back. Thus begins my account of what I'm fortunate enough to discover each day and perhaps capture with my camera.

Unless otherwise stated, all images were taken by and are the property of Janice Melendez

Species Counts:

2014 Final Year List: 255; 2015 Year List a/o June 5, 2015: 235; Life List: 327

Friday, June 24, 2011

"Ever Been to Sea, Billy?"

Deciding to kick it up a notch, I ventured out in my kayak for the first time ever with my camera gear to check out some local weed beds for possible herons, warblers, and the like. After confirming my insurance coverage getting myself organized, I hit the high seas of our lake and headed west.

My first bird for the day on the water was a feasting Osprey high up in a tree, but a Great Blue Heron statue caught my eye:

Here it is again, all fluffed up after coming in for a landing:

As you can see, the conditions of the lake were just perfect, with no winds and minimal boat traffic, but it got even better when I spotted a Common Loon:

Imagine my delight when I next saw mom and a chick, yet another first for me, I was hard-pressed to stay upright in my kayak!!!

They even cooperated enough for a family portrait, as I struggled to keep my balance and get some acceptable shots of this amazing moment for me:

I was hooked, in the end spending a couple of hours observing them from a safe distance as they paddled around their territory, what a thrill!  

Late in the day on Sunday as both the breeze and boat traffic simmered down, I ventured out onto the high seas once again, after analyzing Friday's photos and determining necessary revisions for my camera settings, as it really is a different kind of photography when one is tucked away into a kayak. There's not much room to manoeuvre around in the cockpit, and even though it may seem like there's no breeze, the currents still move you around. First and foremost, though, I was always respectful of the Loon family's space, maintaining a safe distance from them, even if it meant paddling backwards, with my unprotected camera in my lap.

Sure enough, off in the distance I could see them again in the very same spot, so I stopped paddling and waited and watched for the next few hours.

Dad checked me out right away...

...and eventually began to preen himself:

The mother and baby were a bit further away, but the views of them from my kayak were spectacular:

Mom does a leg stretch...

...and baby follows:

...and wing stretches were part of the regime too:

Spawning carp distracted the pair (as they did me, the last thing I wanted to have happen was to capsize because of a carp!) every so often.

Double-click on this to see the looks on their faces, hopefully the baby will learn from mom that this kind of fish is too big to eat!

Once again, it was family portrait time, but first one of the parents had to re-arrange its feathers:

So it certainly has been the Year of the Loon this year on our lake, never have we seen or heard so many.

But I now find myself frequently checking the marine forecast, as I know my days are limited to see this beautiful family again. And I know that secretly my frenemies Ann, Chris, Murray, and gang look forward to my future misadventures on the high seas if I continue with this kind of "marine" photography. "Arghhhh, Billy!!"  


Alex said...

Babies!! So adorable. And great pictures of them!

Lee said...

Great shots and storytelling as always!