Coffee and a (molting) loon

IMG_2969

Common Loon, Gavia immer, at Rye Harbor this morning.

When I got back from my morning bus route, John and I had coffee and bagels at Jumpin’ Jacks Java in Hampton Beach then drove the coast. It’s cold. Temperatures much below normal.

I wasn’t looking too hard for birds, but I did have my camera. The wind had settled down and diffused light was mirroring off the calm surface of the sea.

Common Loon

Loons are big birds. This one was all alone.

Looks like some spotted summer plumage is starting to grow.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology...

The eerie calls of Common Loons echo across clear lakes of the northern wilderness. Summer adults are regally patterned in black and white. In winter, they are plain gray above and white below, and you’ll find them close to shore on most seacoasts and a good many inland reservoirs and lakes.

Gavia immer

Preen.

Loons are well equipped for their submarine maneuvers to catch fish. Unlike most birds, loons have solid bones that make them less buoyant and better at diving. They can quickly blow air out of their lungs and flatten their feathers to expel air within their plumage, so they can dive quickly and swim fast underwater. Once below the surface, the loon’s heart slows down to conserve oxygen.

loon

Peaceful sight in these last hours of official winter.

Spring equinox is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. this evening.

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