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Old Aug 18, 2010, 2:47 PM   #11
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Congratulations on a beautiful photo of such a difficult subject! Great job (both photographer and boat "captain"!!
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Old Aug 18, 2010, 8:01 PM   #12
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Well... I guess I'm a little late chiming in here, Lou but, my computer has been down for a few days.
All I can add is, Great job! you win the 4 thumbs up award this month.
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Old Aug 18, 2010, 9:51 PM   #13
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Lou, this is great! I know how difficult it is get a good shot of a loon. I can't tell you how many times a loon has decided to dive just as I raise the camera to my eye. Over the past several decades I have taken many pictures of the swirling water that marks the spot where a loon has just disappeared.
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Old Aug 20, 2010, 9:44 AM   #14
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GW- thanks for the four thumbs, better than the single finger. LOL Sorry to hear you had computer problems. YUCK!!!!

Lou

Mtman- They are incredibly good at avoiding the Paparazzi. My new goal with the Loon is to get a picture in the spring of a mother Loon with a chick on her back.

Lou
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Old Aug 20, 2010, 11:09 AM   #15
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wonderful shot. i know how terribly difficult it can be to get a good loon shot for the very reasons you mentioned.

so a big congratulations on a great shot!
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Old Aug 21, 2010, 3:47 PM   #16
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Hards80 - Thanks for your nice comment. Chasing these birds around the lake has taught me where the expression "crazy as a Loon" came from. LOL

Lou
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Old Aug 22, 2010, 3:27 PM   #17
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I never got even that close to a loon until I came to Southern California. They were only distant dots in a spotting scope. However after I got here I was surprised to find that some of them winter here, and can become remarkably tame in an ecological reserve where they are not molested. 1990 was a particularly good year, and I was able to spend many weeks studying winter feeding behavior in all three species - Common, Pacific (= Arctic in the past), and Red-throated in the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve and other coastal areas. Winter plumage is not nearly as photogenic as the breeding plumage in Lou's excellent photo. Here is a quickie photo dupe of an Ektachrome slide of two Common Loons taken off the boardwalk at close range - you could even look down on them and watch them swimming underwater. This is a poor slide, and somewhat faded after 16 years, but the only "twofer" I could locate at the moment - somewhere I have a better one with one Common and one Pacific together at even closer range; if I can find it I will do a proper digital scan. I do have better photos of singles, but just wanted to demonstrate what can happen if one is fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time!

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Old Aug 22, 2010, 4:18 PM   #18
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Penolta thanks for your information. I think you are quite correct that the Loons become acclimated to their experience with the risk risk factors present in there envirornment. I find that this year there is less boat traffic on the lake probably due to the economy and the loons are more tolerant of the boats.

If I had a kayak on this lake I could get close enough to get a picture with a 50mm 1.7. Using a boat with a 135HP IO it takes a fair amount of stealth to get close to these birds. With the prop at idle there is still a little prop movement and engine vibration that spooks them.

The same night I took the subject picture we encounteerd a group of 3 and another of 4.

The picture here of the two Loons looking at each other is a great pose but I did not think the image quality had as much merit as the one I posted with the thread so I did not post it with it. The light was fading quickly and we were at a place on the lake where 2,000' Mt. pleasant was putting the birds in shadow. Here it is anyway.
K-7 Tokina 80-400 @ 400mm hand held from the idling boat.


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Old Aug 22, 2010, 4:48 PM   #19
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That is a neat picture, Lou. From the difference in bill size and shape, it is possible that these could be male and female. If they were looking at each other, then away, then back again repeatedly in unison, this could be a ritualized part of courtship or pair-bonding (after courtship) behavior. On the other hand, I also note that the feathers on their foreheads are raised, so it also could be an aggressive display. Do you remember what followed next? Nice capture - from my own way of thinking, a picture's content should trump minor deficiencies in IQ if it records something of significance.
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Old Aug 22, 2010, 5:19 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by penolta View Post
That is a neat picture, Lou. From the difference in bill size and shape, it is possible that these could be male and female. If they were looking at each other, then away, then back again repeatedly in unison, this could be a ritualized part of courtship or pair-bonding (after courtship) behavior. On the other hand, I also note that the feathers on their foreheads are raised, so it also could be an aggressive display. Do you remember what followed next? Nice capture.
Penolta, that is exactly what was going on. Thank you for explaining the behavior to me. They were repeating this behavior of looking at each other a number of times, then one chased the other away. These were two of a group of 4. I thought that they looked romantic but there goes my Romeo & Juliet title for the picture unless it turns out it was a lovers quarrel. LOL

Lou
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