Friday, October 25, 2013

Algonquin loons

...and what would a trip to Algonquin be without a few shots of some Loons.  We weren't sure if they would still be around and I was really happy to see a pair of them doodling around in the bay shortly after we arrived.  Loons, like all birds, replace their feathers twice a year, and some birds have "2 sets of clothes" and their winter feathers are different from their breeding feathers.  This pair of loons spent most of their time preening and pulling out feathers to be replaced by their winter coat which is quite different from what you expect to see.  Both of them were quite accommodating to our canoe and let us get quite close to them as long as we didn't do anything alarming.  These are full frame shots with no cropping...

Loon, winter plumage.
This loon was well on its way into it's winter feathers, you can see one small feather that has come loose just beside its neck...the water around them was at times littered with floating feathers!

"Grandpa Loon"
This one was more "loony" looking and had barely started it"s moult. I called it Grandpa loon because he/it had a white beard just starting to appear under it's chin.  I don't know how long the whole process takes but they really can't fly very well at all during the moult. The other of the pair that was almost finished must have been saying "hurry up" its getting cold out here, we have to leave!

Classic loon photo
and this is the quintessential Loon shot. They do this a lot, ruffling and flapping their feathers to get them to dislodge.

All in all I took quite a few shots of the Loons, some of which will eventually be turned into paintings.  We certainly enjoyed our trip to Algonquin, (except for the noisy, ignorant campers) and we really lucked out on the weather ...a huge contrast to what is out the window this morning - cold, wet. sloppy snow covering what is left of my flowers and grey colourless sky.  There was a nice little flock of Gold Crowned Kinglets in the tree outside the studio, I expect they will be moving south away from this ugly weather.

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