Early yesterday afternoon I took my daily walk along the shore. Bill Jones was with me. About a half mile down the beach we spied a loon out of the water. I thought, now this would be the time to have my camera, but no such luck. When the loon saw us it immediately started towards the surf.
If you know anything about loons you know they are extremely clumsy on land. Their legs, set far back on their body for superior swimming ability, don't work very efficiently out of the water. Many people, when they see a loon on land, immediately think they are injured. I thought, maybe if we hurry we can get a close up view of this marvelous creature. As we drew nearer we noticed that the loon was moving even more slowly than expected. It was dragging a fishing lure attached to monofilament that was wrapped around its wings and legs.
We had no difficulty intercepting the bird. After a close examination and some quick thinking I took off my jacket and covered the loon's head (every time we had approached, it lashed out and tried to bite my leg). With a firm but gentle grip I could keep the loon still. I pulled my pocket knife out of my pocket and handed it to Bill. He had to cut the fishing line in several places to free the bird, but the wings and legs seemed no worse for the ordeal.
After I removed the jacket the loon lost little time pulling its way to the water. It dove under the breakers and emerged on the far side, gazing around, undoubtedly relieved to be unencumbered.
Bill says that was the best beach walk he's ever had. The loon, it turns out, is his favorite bird, and he was happy to help rescue one of these remarkable creatures.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Sam Jones, Island Legend. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news012111.htm.