Thursday, March 26, 2009

Loons, Buffleheads and Mystery Flower and Mystery Birds

Dan saw loons on Monona Bay on the Equinox, but today was the first time I saw the loons on Lake Monona while biking on the bike path by John Nolen Drive. The contrast provided by the busy road on one side and the wild loons on the other never ceases to amaze me. I love to see the loons, and was glad to see them back! They will leave soon to go further north, so I intend to enjoy them while they are here. We couldn't get any pictures of them since they are quite shy, and dive underwater quite often when noticed (I can relate to that!) It's a pity because in the spring they are quite beautiful. In the fall, they have their drab winter coats on, or they are juveniles who haven't gotten the adult plumage yet. However, in the spring, only the breeding birds return. The juveniles stay by the ocean for three years until they are mature. The fact that the loons can live in salty oceanwater and freshwater at different times of the year seems another amazing thing about these endlessly fascinating birds.

Later, I took the girls to Olin Park with some binoculars, and we got to see the loons close up. We also ended up seeing some buffleheads on the lake through the binoculars.

Today was also the day we found the first flower in our yard. We have no idea what it is. So, if you have any ideas, let us know!

I also saw two birds that I've never seen before at Quann Park today. I couldn't see them very clearly, but my not too much better than random guesses are they were a ruby-crowned kinglet and an eastern phoebe. The kinglet was in the trees as it was supposed to be, and the phoebe was in the grass like it was supposed to be. The birds were about the size they were supposed to be too.


  1. I have tried to identify your flower, without success, so far. It is very interesting and early. Have you seen it before?

    When I lived on a lakefront in Oklahoma we had overwintering loons. One thing that fascinates me is that the fiercely territorial breeding loons lose all their mutual antagonism on the wintering ground. The loons spent the night in the cove in front of my house. I have one photograph with 138 identifiable loons in a raft about 100 ft by 150 ft. I assume this is a hormonal issue.

  2. This is the first year that this flower has popped up in our yard. I think (thanks to Jen Lynch!) that it is a snowdrop.

    I thought loons overwintered by the ocean. Is there any saltwater in Oklahoma? Or maybe some loons overwinter on freshwater lakes too. Seeing so many loons in such a small space would be quite a sight!