Loon Tune

Seney Loon

We saw about a dozen loons at Seney, which is way up from last year, when we only saw a few. Most of the loons were spotted in the morning, while we were riding the tour bus. Even the bus driver exclaimed that someone on the bus must be blessed, for us to see so many loons. We saw more loons in the afternoon, when we repeated many of the same roads in the Prius.

At the Seney gift shop Anne bought me a device called a Loon Tune, which is not to be confused with Looney Toons. That’s my department. It is basically a plastic disk, like a wheel, with holes cut into its rim. String is run through the center of the disk, which you then twist. Then grasping its two handles, you first pull it apart and then you allow it to contract. It sort of works like throwing a yo-yo. What you get is a pretty good recreation of the wail and tremolo sounds of the Common Loon. It took me a little practice to get the hang of the thing and by the time that I did, we had run out of seeing any loons for the day. Now that I have mastered it, Anne doesn’t want me to use it, at least not too much. It might stress out the little birdies, don’t you know, but I figure that I can use it at least until I get a loon reaction.

We have iBird on our phones and this App supports bird calls, which you are not supposed to play too much either. This Spring, we were camping in Shawnee National Forest, in southern Illinois. It was Whippoorwill mating season then. At night, you could hear these birds calling to each other across the valley. I played their call just once and then we went to bed. Not five minutes later there was an angry Whippoorwill in our campsite, letting us know that this was his part of the park. What’s worse was that he came back at five in the morning, landed on our picnic table and called, whip-poor-will, whip-poor-will.

There are two loons that are frequenting the bay this summer. They aren’t around very much, but they do stop by from time to time. I’ve seen them three times. I figure that these very territorial birds will come and check out what sounds like a transgressor only to find me. 

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