Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

In search of a loon


I belong to a Michigan birding Facebook group and there have been images showing up of some loons that are currently hanging out at Kensington Metropark, only 40 minutes away from me.

The blue herons are back and nesting in their rookery, waiting on this year’s crop of little ones.

The weather hasn’t been great. And I’ve been occupied with a certain fuzzy puppy so I hadn’t made it out to the park. But we all know that loons wait for no woman.

“Hey lady! Don’t forget us in your quest to find loons!”

So Monday I headed out much later in the day than I’m usually at the park. Instead of early morning I was heading out there as the day was closing and evening was descending. It felt weird walking onto the boardwalk while most people were heading back to their cars.

“Where have you been? I have to do all the nest building around here!”

On the other hand I didn’t see too many people, and those I did see were mostly photographers there for the soft late day light. Just like me.

“If you’re not going to feed me then you’re not worth my attention.”

I ran into one photographer who was headed back to his car. He was all excited about the loons he had photographed “right near the nesting sandhill cranes.” He wanted to show me his images on the back of his camera, and I have to admit they were beautiful. I was excited for him too. “I can’t wait to get home and see these on a bigger screen,” he said, as he scampered off (there’s really no other word for how he moved but scampered!).

I knew the feeling.

Any loons out there?

But the light was fading and I hadn’t made it out to the bay with the nesting cranes and loons yet. So I left him and walked as quickly as I could until I saw the crane on her nest.

“Midway through my shift and I’m getting hungry, I wonder if I can get something delivered.”

Then I moved slowly, to a better position, and stood for a long time, another photographer nearby, silently shooting images of her as she moved around her nest.

I need to stretch my feathers a bit.”

And, as she stood up, I gasped quietly in delight. She had an egg!

“That egg was pressing up against my breastbone!”

Then another crane on the other side of the lake began to call. Our nesting mom stretched her neck and called back…

“Hey you! Be quiet, you’re stressing the baby!”

…and then was joined by her spouse who was standing nearby.

“Hey don’t upset the Mrs! It’s quiet hours now!”

It was pretty amazing to be so close.

Then she got back to work cleaning the nest and checking her youngster, still in the shell.

“There, there, little one, mama’s got you all warm and safe.”

In between watching her I tried to see if there were any loons out in the bay. There were a lot of ducks, but they were all far away and the light was fading fast. There were probably a couple loons out there, but I couldn’t be sure. What I was sure of was the spouse of my nesting crane stalking past me headed for quieter dining.

“You can’t get a quiet meal around here.”

Eventually I moved back to the main path where I saw the spouse of the nesting pair strutting his stuff. I guess he had had enough and needed to get away for awhile.

“I hear there’s a new bar and grill down this way,”

I found him shortly after, having a drink at the local pub.

“And another thing, ever since she had that egg she ignores me. It’s always all about the egg!”

He was sharing tales of woe and his fear of becoming a father with the local bartender, this muskrat who was munching on bar snacks.

“I know what you mean man, sometimes it’s just easier to hang out alone.”

In the end I never did see the loons up close, though I walked all the way around the lake.

Toward the end of my walk I was focused on capturing the moon in the branches of a tree, almost back to the car, when suddenly two cranes flew low right over my head and landed on the path directly in front of me.

A nice evening was coming to a close.

That was startling, and I was kind of worried about getting past them in the growing dusk. They seemed intent on me paying some sort of passage ransom.

Notice this one is missing his or her right foot.

So I threw some seed toward them and inched by. As I was doing that I heard rustling in the reeds right behind me. Turns out there was a third crane walking back there, perhaps a distant family member of the two who had just dropped in.

“Just toss us the food, lady, and nobody gets hurt.”

Regardless I bid them all a good evening and scurried back to the car. Night was closing in on the rookery and it was time for me to head home.

Thus ends another beautiful day at the rookery.

I didn’t see the loons, but I had such a wonderful walk and saw plenty of things that made me smile. And now I hope you’re smiling too!

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

22 thoughts on “In search of a loon

  1. Sorry about the loons, but those crane photos are wonderful. The one with the missing foot looks healthy. Must be hard, though.


  2. What a treat to see those cranes!


  3. Amazing pics Dawn. I love the captions!


  4. Most definitely smiling! Beautiful photos, Dawn. You still shoot Manual? I stay in Aperture mode…my safe spot and I’m not moving.


  5. Wow! No loons but what an amazing time anyways!!!



  6. No loons but plenty of enjoyable sights! I just LOVE your commentary! So funny and enjoyable. Beautiful shots, Dawn. Thank you for sharing them.


  7. Fabulous adventure and documented so well at dusk.


  8. Gorgeous photos! Especially of the cranes. But the sky and the trees, beautiful, I love the view of dark trees against the evening sky. And the red-wing … and the muskrat!


  9. What a performance they put on for you (and us)! What an amazing day.


  10. Such a wonderful walk and so much beauty all around. Thank you for sharing.


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