One Loony Evening

Someone promoting northern Michigan on Facebook posted a photo of lilacs in bloom somewhere on the Old Mission Peninsula. Since the day was dominated by clear skies and light breezes, I decided that neighboring Leelanau Peninsula would make a great evening destination.  We’ve been to the lighthouse on the tip of that peninsula a few times, but until today, only on cloudy days.

That was the plan, anyway, and it was shattered as we ate dinner. We arrived thirty miles north of Traverse to find the Grand Traverse Lighthouse once again shrouded in clouds. Regardless, the lilac bush nearby apple tree were dressed in their Sunday best, and so I was happy. Even under heavy cover, the view there north of Northport is impressive, even compared to the expansive views seen from the Sleeping Bear Dunes to the south.

From the rocky shores, looking southwest, you can see North Manitou Island. The Fox Islands peek above the water to the northwest, and Beaver Island peers down from the north. The Charlevoix Medusa Concrete Company looms to the northeast. Standing in one point, commanding nearly 360-degree water views is both empowering and belittling. (Side note: if you want to command said views, the GTLH has a keeper program, where you can stay in the lighthouse for a week as a keeper.)

Since light quality wasn’t improving as the sun marched over the horizon, we left to explore the Leelanau State Park. We unsuccessfully sought a new place to kayak. Happily though, we did spot several deer. At nearly 9:00pm, I was only going to capture a keepable picture if a deer decided to walk right over and pose. Oh wait..that happened 🙂

Isn’t she a sweetie? She stood still for the shot, and then her curiosity took over. She crept directly in our direction and then stood there sniffing and licking the air before she sprang off.

Down the road we pulled over at what turned out to be a privately-owned conservancy lake. (Sorry for the accidental trespassing!) Its surface was nearly still, prompting me to hop out for a quick photo in the dying light. Just as I closed the car door, a lonesome wail carried across the water. By scrutinizing the lake’s surface, I was just able to make out a single loon. In the complete calm, the loon’s cry was both sad and scary, but also exhilarating. But then, Mama Nature can be like that.

My thanks to Gerry at TorchLakeViews for her discussions of loon-calls, and to my neighbors, Gary and Jill, who happened to have a bird-call app, which was shared over dinner recently. If not for you, I might’ve been truly frightened, if momentarily, instead of amazed.

In retrospect, I think I’ve heard all the sampled loon cries, but the second one down is what I heard tonight

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6 thoughts on “One Loony Evening

  1. What a delight, following you through the evening into the dusk, inhaling the lilac scent and being soothed by the calm night waters. Thank you!

  2. I like the picture of that deer, craning its head. We have loons around here, but I can’t always identify them easily. I love their eerie calls.

    • I am certainly not a loon expert, despite my occasional (frequent?) looniness. If it weren’t for my neighbors sharing the sounds over dinner recently, I would have wondered what made the sound, and been surprised to learn it was a waterfowl. I would love to see one up close sometime!

    • Unfortunately you probably know Gerry better than I do, and I haven’t heard anything from her either :-/ I’ll see if I can put some feelers out, and I’ll let you know if I hear anything!

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