CREDITS: I would like to thank Jeremy D'Entremont for providing much of the history one can find on this site. He is a speaker, author, historian, and tour guide who is widely recognized as the foremost authority on the lighthouses of New England. For a story on Jeremy or to visit his site (New England Lighthouses: A Virtual Guide), use the corresponding link in the right hand information bar under "Related Links".

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I have set up this site as a means to share my photographs of lighthouses. Since retiring and finding more time to study photography, my interests have expanded a little. For some of my work other than lighthouses please enjoy my Facebook page at, John Shaw Photography. Come visit, enjoy, and 'LIKE' if you wish.

Also, for your enjoyment, I have provided a slideshow of our journey. To view it please use the link on the right under 'Site Navigation Tools'.

I sincerely hope you enjoy my efforts and use my site not only for information and education but also to provide directions for many enjoyable, inspirational visits to the beacons along our beautiful coas.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Looo-hooo-hooo-hooo-hooons (The Common Loon)

     I snapped these photographs some years ago on Upper Lead Mountain Pond located down in the woods about half way across ME Route 9,  "The Airline". 

     Through the misty sunrise on a northern lake eches a sound that stirs profound emotions in anyone who hears it; the haunting cry of the Common Loon.  The loon symbolizes the wilderness of the north - wilderness that many of us, trapped in an ever-more-urbanized society, long for from the depths of our souls.

     Since ancient times the loon has featured prominently in Native American mythology. In Sioux and Lakota legends it plays a role in recreating the post-diluvian world. An Ojibwa tale credits the loon’s voice as the inspiration for Native American flutes. And from Alaska, a Tsimshian story describes how a loon restores a blind man’s sight, for which it is rewarded with the gift of the beautiful necklace of white feathers adorning its neck.
     Strikingly handsome, with jewel-like red eyes and an unearthly yet beautiful call, fiercely territorial while breeding, and possessed of magical powers—clearly there’s nothing “common” about the Common Loon. On the other hand its European name, “Great Northern Diver,” is a name well deserved, for the loon is a master of the aquatic environment. With barely a splash it slips beneath the water’s surface in search of food, propelling itself powerfully and with great agility using its large webbed feet. It dives as deep as 180 feet and, although dives usually average under a minute, loons have been known to stay underwater for as long as 15 minutes.
     Feet set far back on the body make the loon a powerhouse of a swimmer, but hamper its mobility on land. An incubating adult can only shuffle awkwardly to get onto its nest. A chick has a similar struggle to clamber onto its parent’s back to rest or warm up.
     Luxuriating in the warmth of the adult’s body, the tired chick may immediately fall asleep, sometimes neglecting to stow a foot or a wing in its exhausted state. Adult loons sometimes roll over onto one side and hold one webbed foot in the air while loafing or preening on the water. It’s called the “foot waggle” but, unlike the drowsy chick, the adult does it purposefully, to cool down in warm weather.

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