Saturday, March 31, 2018

Loons Visit Columbia

Common loons breed on freshwater lakes across Alaska, Canada, the Great Lakes region and northern New England.  During the colder months, they migrate to coastal bays and estuaries or to large inland lakes of the southern U.S.

As they move between their breeding and wintering areas, these large, attractive divers often turn up on reservoirs across the country and are frequently encountered on those here in Missouri.  Since the immediate Columbia area is devoid of large lakes, migrating loons are less common here but a few have stopped to rest and feed on Perry Phillips Lake, south of town.

On our walk around the lake yesterday, my wife and I were fortunate to observe three of the visitors, joining a flock of ruddy ducks, a small squadron of coot and a trio of pied-billed grebes on the choppy lake surface.  Cutting a large but low profile, the loons were easy to identify with their attractive black and white plumage and their dagger-like bills.  They'll probably stay for a few more days (if the fishing is good) before the next leg of their northward journey.