A short while back I shared some photos from a location scouting trip for an engagement session, I’d visited a few locales I knew well, and a couple I’d only breezed through previously. The couple picked my favorite.
When the session date arrived, I realized there was a chance due to the heat of summer and a nearby camping music festival that the spot could be overrun with tourists. Luckily — not the case.
The engagement session was marked however by a different sort of unexpected guest, a foundered loon – as in aquatic bird, I suppose.
As I pulled up to the location, I spotted LJ on the phone attempting to get a wildlife professional out to the lake to check on this trapped creature.
He’d tried to move it, but it was combative. He wasn’t trained for this…
Alas, the NYSDEC was letting him down. They couldn’t reach the party they were trying to pass the buck to. Apologetic, the guy on the other end of the phone was getting on everybody’s nerves.
I knew it immediately as a loon, but didn’t know much about them until the wildlife rehabilitator I reached via Facebook Messenger (of all things!) arrived.
Fortunately, we reached her toward the start of the session and knew she was on the way, enabling us to proceed with the purpose of our gathering with some piece of mind.
We got some nice shots on the bridge, the path, the overlook and beside the water. Steph and LJ got into the spirit with the lone prop I’d grabbed on the way out the door – some obviously fake flowers for a ‘proposal’ scene. It was fun.
These two are in love. It’s beautiful to see. I’m looking forward to the wedding in the fall.
The loon? Turns out it was a known creature. “I know this loon,” the rehabilitator said to me.
The poor thing had been shot a few weeks or months earlier and come crashing down in a yard about twenty miles away.
After healing up, it was brought first to the Adirondacks where its mate’s new lady friend assaulted the recently injured party.
At this lake, the rehabilitator could check on it daily until it was ready to be moved once again.
Apparently loons cannot walk on the land. They take flight from the water. Either aggressive geese or perhaps a kayaker had frightened it over the dam to the rocks, where it sat for some part of the past 24 hours.
My subject’s keen eyes may have saved it’s life a second time, as the rehabilitator acknowledged she wouldn’t have thought to look in that spot when she came for the daily visit.
Steph, LJ and I left the woman, her assistant and the loon behind – but not before hearing its distinctive call as it paddled across the lake, healthy and happier than it had been found, a short while earlier.