A common loon caused a bit of a commotion -- and delight -- in Waldwick this week.
The migratory bird, typically seen in North Jersey only in fleeting views overhead in the spring and fall, parked itself at the base of the dam by Whites Pond off Hopper Avenue.
In full breeding plumage with red eyes and an iridescent black/green head, the loon caught the eye of passersby, local fishermen and photographers.
Occasionally, he'd make a brief yodeling call.
[For more on loons, including vocalizations, try this link: http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/Common_Loon.html]
Loons can scarcely walk on land and can’t take off without at least 100 feet of open water. So when the loon did not fly away by Tuesday morning, several people grew concerned -- even though the loon was a photographer's dream.
The clearly healthy loon was so easy to photograph that I got off several clicks.
A local fisherman called the state Department of Environmental Protection, which suggested that he don his waders and use his fishing net to coax the bird into the Hohokus Brook at the base of the dam.
Mission accomplished, the loon floated serenely down the brook toward Hopper Avenue — with plenty of room to fly.
Waldwick DPW employee Bucky Joaquin said he first saw the loon last Thursday, when it was swimming on the pond with a mate.
The birds, with their distinctive calls and amazing diving abilities, breed in the summer in Canada and parts of New England and the upper Midwest.
They typically spend their winters along the coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Sounds pretty appealing.
I stopped by around 6 this evening to see if the loon was still hanging around -- but no sign.
I do recall a report of a loon landing on a pond in Ho-Ho-Kus several years back, but he had hit the sky before I just before I got there.
Ain't that always the way?