Thursday, April 9, 2015

Alone with a Loon at Bogue Lagoon

It's breezy and bright and just a little bit chilly as we stand on the Point at Emerald Isle and gaze to the west across Bogue Inlet at the sand and shrubs of Bear Island, home to Hammocks Beach State Park and more than a few Hoot Owl Karma encounters.

Tide's coming in, and the porpoises are playing just a few meters out along the edge of the channel. 

As we follow the shore away from the surf and toward the sound, the late afternoon glare plays tricks on our eyes;
shadows rise and fall with the waves, taking on a life of their own
as they drift among the glittering specks of sun and foam.

But just there, beyond the next little wave, appears a living shadow; 

dark head bowed t'ward the shimmering surface, eyes intent on the depths below, 

until our lone traveler vanishes as suddenly as he appeared. 

Moments pass, then more and a few more still... 
A full minute elapses, and then...

Up periscope!

Still partially submerged, cruising submarine style, 
surveying the surface with head and eyes and bill barely above water, 
the identity of our water-bound wanderer becomes apparent.

A lonely loon, perhaps pausing for a meal on the long return journey to its breeding grounds in the far north, or maybe a young bird residing here for a longer spell. 

Right on cue, it dives again, spending another minute or so below the surface,

before bursting dramatically onto the scene again, 
directly in line with the incoming rays of the slowly setting sun.

We amble along, and he swims along beside, 

keeping the sun in our eyes and giving the camera's light sensor fits...

and then, a slight curve in the shoreline, 
and with it a brief respite from the cloaking effects of the sun's brilliant rays. 

Our companion's handsome garb emerges in all its black and white brilliance, 
adorned with tiny globular prisms of glistening brine, 
a delight to both eyes and lens, 
and then...

back to the shadows again.

We sit on the sand and wonder, 
as bird and porpoises cavort in their life-filled lagoon, 
how very awkward must we appear,
high and dry and lonely upon the shore.

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