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Update: Thanks to everyone who signed!! CCOBS now have enough signatures to have MP Gord Johns raise this issue in the House. Denman Islanders (and some from Hornby who were able to stop by the bookstore) helped make this happen! There are many good reasons to visit Abraxas, but for those wanting to sign this petition, it will only be available until ~ 3:30 pm tomorrow (Wednesday). ... See MoreSee Less
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Great photos and commentary on the Common Loon in our local waters by Dennis Forsyth.Common Loon and SculpinDennis Forsyth writes: The Common Loon appears on the Canadian one-dollar coin probably because it is one bird that can be found nearly everywhere in the country, at least during the summer breeding season. Winter is another story however, and at this time of year they are pretty much restricted to our coastal areas. Although they are called ‘Common’, they aren’t our most numerous loons here. The Pacific Loon outnumbers them by quite a large margin. Still, we certainly have enough of them too be able to count on being regularly serenaded by their eerie yodels.These are, of course, serious divers. Almost all of their feeding relies on their ability to capture live fish in the water. They are so adapted to this kind of hunting that they have nearly lost the ability to walk on land. They are able to lumber short distances on shore when they are nesting to get back and forth to incubate eggs, but that is about it. When not nesting they spend nearly all of their time on and under the water. They move underwater powered entirely by their powerful and specially adapted legs and webbed feet. And they are surprising agile while doing that. Certainly, well capable of out-swimming a variety of live fish. They will occasionally feed on small crustaceans and other bottom dwelling creatures, but mostly it’s live fish for these birds.These are big birds. They weigh up to 10 pounds and adults are over 30 inches long and have wing-spans approaching 4 feet. Getting that weight off the water and into the air is a serious chore. It can take up to two hundred feet of runway to get one into the air.They share an ability that I find wonderful with all other loons. They can adjust their buoyancy quickly and apparently with ease. So, a loon has air sacs in its body which it can fill or empty at will. Sometimes they dive by turning their body head down and driving themselves down with their feet. At other times it simply empties its air sacs and compresses its feathers to expel air until it achieves neutral or negative buoyancy at which point it simply sinks. Usually dives last only a minute or so, but they have been recorded staying down for well over five minutes.This particular loon was photographed at Gravelly Bay in relatively shallow water where it had captured a bottom dwelling Staghorn Sculpin. Notice that at this time of year the loon is in non-breeding plumage. The sculpin is brightly coloured though. Sculpins in salt water can attain a good size and this one is probably about average. They are bottom dwellers and bottom feeders. I would guess that in that particular bay this guy would have blended in nicely with the weed and rocks on the bottom. Just not well enough to escape the sharp eye of the loon.It took the loon a couple of minutes to actually manage to swallow the fish. The sculpin’s final desperate defense here is to extend its gill covers and its pectoral fins as rigidly and widely as possible in an attempt to make itself un-swallowable. Unfortunately for this sculpin, loons have wide mouths and special backward facing toothlike structures inside those mouths that make the prey’s fate certain. Once the bird gets a start at swallowing it’s pretty much all over but the digesting. Dennis ... See MoreSee Less
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This is remarkable work by a dedicated team. Thankfully, it's a joyful ending for this lucky Steller Sea Lion. The full video (~ 10 min ) can be viewed at: Youtube.com/seadocsociety It's engaging and worth watching! ... See MoreSee Less
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