Saturday, June 7, 2014

Common Loon

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Common Loon, Central Park Reservoir

Anders Peltomaa reported a Common Loon in full breeding plumage at the Reservoir Friday morning, a very nice bird for Central Park. I eventually made my way there at 5 PM. The loon was down near the south pumphouse, and I got off a couple of frames before it made one of those patented long loon dives and emerged about halfway to the north side. That left a bunch of Cormorants and a single Great Egret fishing just outside the pumphouse.

I noticed after a while that the Loon was slowly drifting toward the east side, so I hustled up there...I was still 30 yards away when the bird, about 20 feet offshore, dove again and simply disappeared.

Loons do that. There's a reason they're called the "Great Northern Diver" in Britain. The last Common Loon I saw, in February at Randall's Island, did not come up within a half mile of where I saw it dive.

Around the north side of the Reservoir, a single Merganser--I think a female or immature Hooded--made shallow dives and then slept fitfully, to far off for a good photo. Whatever the species, that bird is quite late for this area.

I was rewarded for completing the circuit when, as I rounded the southwest corner, I spotted the Loon again, between the fountain and the shore. It dove again as I ran to the area, but this time it came up only a dozen yards farther away, and I caught up and got the photo above. That's my best view ever of this very handsome bird.

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