Daily Snapshot: Loon is long from home

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Posted: July 30, 2013

This common loon is thriving on Lake Frederick after being rehabilitated and released there by the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center. Last month, while the photographer was paddling his kayak on the lake, he spotted the loon — and was surprised to see it because it is an aquatic bird that normally inhabits more northerly latitudes like New York’s Adirondack Mountains. He then learned that the bird was found along an exit ramp off Va. 28 in Chantilly. According to information provided by the photographer, a loon’s legs are located so far back on its body that it walks clumsily on land, and can only take flight from the water. It needs about 30 yards to take off. During migration, a loon will sometimes mistake something like a parking lot for a body of water and land on it — only to become stranded. This may have been what happened to this particular loon. (Photo by Ed Granger / Special to The Star)