Date: 1/29/18 10:12 am
From: Sara Caulk <srsttsclk...>
It was a fab day, indeed. Even the less-productive loon searching stops we
made at sites farther away from the dam along the Loon Loop were wonderful.
The early morning sunlight starting to clear the fog on a glass-like water
surface invited eyes to far away vistas that were seemingly undisturbed by
humans in some places. The irony, of course, is that Lake Tenkiller
reservoir is manmade. The colors of the geologic formations of islands and
distant shores and cliffs at waters edge were wearing hats of various
shades of green under a cloudless blue sky. This almost dead calm made
possible hearing sound from the water softly lapping at the shore, most
likely caused by the wake from a passing motor boat that had passed by so
far away that it was unheard and probably unseen by us. Tap tapping of
woodpeckers, an American pipit calling, the wingbeats of a white pelican
taking flight, and the yodels of the loons beckoning us to try our luck at
finding them. Utter brain candy for this Natureholic.

Thanks, Joe, for a thoroughly delightful day!

On Mon, Jan 29, 2018 at 8:38 AM, Joseph C. Neal <joeneal...> wrote:

> Bob Caulk, Sara Caulk and I counted close to 240 loons yesterday at
> Tenkiller Ferry Lake in northeastern Oklahoma yesterday. Almost all were
> Common Loons, but we also had views of Red-throated (1, possibly 2 others)
> and Pacific Loon (1). In terms of loon-watching, it was the day made in
> heaven. There was almost now wind, which meant flat water, allowing distant
> views. It was so quiet sounds of taking off wing flaps from American White
> Pelicans were astonishing. Good sunlight meant we could see quite well –
> even the striking red eyes of loons. Few boats overall on a day in which
> the temperature reached 61 by early afternoon.
> Tenkiller loons are now heavily concentrated in the lake’s lower half,
> from Buckhorn to the dam. The water is quite low. Presumably, whatever
> fish-wise loons prefer in Tenkiller is more available in the deeper waters
> closer to the dam. Highest numbers of loons were visible from boat ramps at
> Chicken Creek and Blackgum. On a good calm day like this you can see a lot,
> even with binoculars, but of course a lot more with a scope. Also, a scope
> extends the ability to turn almost any very, very distant bird into a
> Yellow-billed Loon.
> For those of you don’t live in western Arkansas, we make Tenkiller trips
> by choice because good winter loon lakes in Arkansas like Maumelle and
> DeGray are a much longer drive. Loons don’t recognize the state line
> anyway, so an Okie loon is as good as an Arkie loon, or at least that’s how
> I see it on the 72-mile drive from Fayetteville.
> Finally, it is hard to spend a day looking at loons anywhere and not feel
> deeply disturbed by the Interior Department crawfishing on environmental
> protection. They’ve undertaken a new interpretation of the Migratory Bird
> Treaty Act in regards industries that inadvertently kill birds. Big killers
> have involved oil drilling (birds trapped in wastewater pits), wind power
> and communications towers (millions of migratory birds killed annually in
> avoidable collisions). Some far-sighted industries will likely continue
> their efforts to protect birds. Others will take the low road and save
> money by ending bird-friendly practices.
> Protective laws like Migratory Bird Treaty Act should not be political
> footballs. Since time immemorial, Earth has intended journeys like loon
> migration to be “bird-friendly.” If we don’t protect their journey, we
> endanger our own journey.

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