Saturday, July 18, 2009

Gavia Immer

Gavia Immer – the common loon. Common it is to hear the call of the loon across the nighttime waters of the St. Lawrence River. It is a call which penetrates the stillness, and whether it warbles or blasts, rises or falls, has meaning to other loons, meaning both birds and bird watchers.

There is something wonderfully loony about bird watchers. From the enthusiast to the ornithologist, they have a passion and an energy appropriate for an endeavor that plays amongst the mysteries and beauties of feathered flight. The bird watcher, by nature, is in nature. Tramping about fields and marshes in the first light of dawn or floating about at night, pursuing the winged friend at roost, the bird watcher is the least likely outdoorsman to carry gadgets and gizmos and technological distractions. The field glasses and the field book join peeled eye and hearkened ear to keep watch, lest for the blink of an eye, a species is missed that might otherwise have been captured in mind’s memory.

The study of birds is rather new to me. As a Theodore Roosevelt reprisor, it is incumbent upon me to become well versed in the world of birds, that I might pretend and, in the pretending believe, that I can bring TR to life so that I, as him, can share some of his knowledge and passion with audiences today. How's that for looney?

A kayak trip took me against the current of the river and into Bob Hunt’s Marsh on the north end of Hill Island. There, a pair of Great Blue Heron, took roost among the half dead trees. A red tailed hawk circled above, while sea gulls of some sort came fishing. Swallows darted along the cliffs, no doubt enjoying an afternoon snack of the smaller winged variety. A flock of nine young brown ducks took little notice of me floating amongst them, though a gaggle of thirty Canadian Geese preferred my company not.

Pulling a few water lilies to grace the supper table, I paddled back to Indian Rock, glad that TR liked birds.

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