Monday, September 4, 2017

Misty Morning Kayaking - 31 Aug 2017

The last day of our visit greeted us with chilly, partly-cloudy skies and mist rising off the waters of White Sand Lake. Overnight winds had settled enough to produce a relatively smooth lake surface, so I opted to grab the kayak and head out for a morning of birding.

I headed straight for the opposite bank of the lake where Bald Eagles could be heard calling from perches along the shoreline. The rising sun was blindingly bright, especially with steam rising off the water, so I wanted to get it behind me as soon as possible. I paddled by the juvenile Common Loon and opted not to bother trying to photograph it since I was more interested in finding the adults. They were nowhere in sight, so I continued on around the shoreline to check the rest of the lake.

As I turned the corner of the first peninsula ahead of me a Merlin shot out from a birch snag and attacked a Spotted Sandpiper that flying low over the water. The small peep had to dive headfirst into the waters to avoid being plucked off the surface of the lake from the Merlin, which hovered momentarily above it before flying back to the cover of the shoreline.  I spent a moment watching the Spotted Sandpiper as it sat in the water for several moments before quickly flying to the cover of the rocky shoreline.

With no loons in sight I headed back toward Little Sand Lake and quietly paddled through the quarter-mile canal that separates it from its much larger sister lake. I saw a Hooded Merganser along the way, but it was far enough away that I didn't bother to try to photograph it.

Heading back to shore I heard the adult loons calling near the cabin, so I was able to quietly drift past the pair of birds that popped up in front of the kayak. They regarded me momentarily before diving several times. I had about 30 seconds of photographing them before they dove and disappeared from sight. I was impressed by how long they can stay under water and how far they can swim before resurfacing. I wouldn't try to follow them. Instead, I headed back to the cabin to start cleaning up and spend the rest of the morning watching old Merry Melodies cartoons (Bugs Bunny) while Asia slept on my lap.

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