<< Previous Next >>

Common Loon

Common Loon
Photo Information
Copyright: PETER TAMAS (sirianul) Silver Note Writer [C: 0 W: 0 N: 509] (3544)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2010-08-27
Categories: Birds
Camera: CANON 1Ds Mark III, Canon EF500/4L IS
Exposure: f/8, 1/500 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Fauna of ARCTIC subregion: Birds [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2010-12-22 18:04
Viewed: 3681
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 10
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Common Loon
Gavia immer
This picture was taken this summer. I tried for more than a year to take pictures to the common loon without success till this past summer. I hope you will like it.

For anyone who spends time during summer in Canada's northern lake country, the solitary call of the common loon is as much a part of the experience as fresh air.

Depending on the time of day, the loon's call ranges from a sound somewhere between a yodel and a laugh, to a plaintive wailing that can be heard for long distances across the water. The expressions "looney", or "crazy as a loon" are often related to the behaviour of this large water bird.

About two times larger than a mallard duck, a mature common loon sports a formal black and white appearance that is as highly recognized as its call. The loon's head and pointed bill are black and offset by startling red eyes. The neck features a collar of short white vertical stripes. The long body is checkered black and white on top and the underside is a silvery white.

Rarely seen anywhere but on more temperate coastal areas during winter, the loon becomes hardly recognizable with a dull grey body, a dingy white throat and brownish eyes during this season.

Because the loon's body is long and heavy with legs placed well to the rear, it is extremely clumsy and slow on land. Legends of First Nations people refer to the loon as the bird with a broken back. Other than to construct a nest and incubate eggs, the loon lives its entire life afloat or in the air.

But for what they lack in mobility on land, loons make up on water as powerful swimmers and highly skilled divers. Loons are known to dive to depths of 15 metres or more in search of a meal.

Though swift fliers once in the air, loons require a long splashing run to get their heavy bodies airborne. They are equally awkward at landings, slapping down at high speed and plowing water in front to stop themselves.

It's probably for this reason that alarmed loons rarely take to the air. Instead they make themselves almost invisible by submerging their bodies until just their heads and bills are showing. When threatened further they will dive quickly and surface a safe distance away, continuing this behaviour until they have frustrated the pursuer.

Courting behaviours are often racous events that involve much splashing and frenzied running across the water, but are sometimes alternated with a complete change of pace in the form of slow ballet-like displays. Nests are usually started in June and are generally constructed with pieces of floating vegetation and placed on a sheltered point directly on the water's edge so the nesting loon can quickly reach the water when threatened.

siggi, rousettus, dmark11 has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
You must be logged in to start a discussion.

Critiques [Translate]

Oh this is really nice Peter!. A well-posed capture, sharp and great light!

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2010-12-23 0:59]

Hello Peter,
This is a superb capture of a Common Loon Diver shaking its wings! Beautiful light and great focus on the beautiful red eye. Great sharpness too and beautiful colours in this fine composition.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family.Best regards Siggi

Hi Peter,
Outstanding photo, very good sharpness and beautiful colours.
Best wishes,

wonderful capture of very beautiful Diver. congratulations really, Peter. great POV and focus, with excellent timing. thanks for showing us this beauty. well done

Hi Peter,
Great capture. I just love every thing about loons. I spend a lot of my time fishing for trout on lakes. I have witnessed those crazy loon courtships, its really something. At a local lake several years ago I had caught a small trout, as I brought it in, a loon grabbed it and a tug of war ensued. I pulled the trout away and the loon followed right to the tube (belly boat) and up and in between my legs. I wanted to release the trout and the loon persisted and attacked the fishing net for several minutes until I pushed it away with the but-end of my fly-rod. Loons look really large when they are between your knees. When fishing gets slow they are usually within sight or an earshot away doing much better than me. I love it!
Have a great Christmas,

  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2011-01-27 17:20]

Hello Peter,
your bird photography is really outstanding. The images are stunning and in every aspect they are lovely and exciting. To me it is such a sad thing that not many critiques reach you.
My salute to you for the nice images and the honest contribution to TN to be shared.

Best regrad,

Calibration Check