With checkered wings beating hard against the warm evening wind, the young loon soared high above the tall prickly pines and the shallow marshlands of the great Refuge. Her destination? A small quiet pond nestled along the coastline.
The loon located the pond in no time, and to her delight, only one creature of the feathered variety, a gangly old wood stork, occupied the still waters. She began her descent immediately.
To the casual onlooker, a loon’s landing atop the water is quite the sight. With wings outstretched, the black-headed bird with bright red eyes and a dagger-like bill begins her approach by simply drifting downward the moment her target is spotted. Upon nearing the water’s surface, she leans her head way back and sticks out her webbed feet. It’s her feet, of course, that skim along the surface first. But for a brief second one may wonder: is she putting on the brakes, or is she just going to dip her toes in? Perhaps she is readying to take off again. Then, out of nowhere, the loon gracefully falls forward, ending the whole thing with a rather gentle belly flop.