Brooks Wade, Dan Whitten, Sheryl White & Zach Maddox
chatting with Kit Parks of Active Travel Adventures
Boat Tours, Kayaking, Hiking, Waterfalls, Loons, Wild Flowers, Fishing, Secret Places and more.
ONLY ON JOCASSEE!
An hour like this surely could only happen here.
With Earthwatch scientists and volunteers I have spent my days of late following individual loons for exactly an hour each and recording their behavior every two minutes. This may sound a bit draggy but actually it can be quite a thrill. Like just yesterday. While drifting along at the mouth of the Horsepasture River, watching our chosen bird who, mixed in with a group of loons, was feeding on schooling shad along the shore, a belted kingfisher swooped in just above the loons, and perched on a low hanging branch. From there he proceeded to dive down and catch fish, right in the midst of the ongoing loon feeding frenzy. He flew from branch to branch, staying just above the feeding loons, grabbing his dinner along the way. While this is quite rare and amazing, and never seen before by any of us onboard, in the middle of this one of the loons caught a rather large fish, one he couldn’t immediately swallow. In fact we watched him try for a good ten minutes, when he finally dropped it in the water, directly in the middle of the other loons. And then - you’ll never believe this happened - a bald eagle, a primary predator of loons, swept down into the group of loons and stole the fish! He made no attempt to catch a loon, just the fish. As you might expect, the loons made all kinds of excited and terrified sounds, but just for a minute or two, and then went right back to feeding. Like it never happened. Like no giant, terrifying raptor had just swept down and commandeered their fine dinner. On the way back to the dock, all of us thinking that’s about all we can expect of Jocassee for one day, a big fat otter ran along the shore parallel to us and plunged right into the water. Only on Jocassee.~B