I forgot to mention in my first post that we saw a sparrow fly up from a pine branch on the ground as we walked on the esker. She/he was sitting on a branch above my head when I found her with my camera lense. The angle is a bit unusual because of my position beneath her, so I could be wrong about my identification of this bird. From what I have learned, she is a white-crowned sparrow. True, they don't hang out in NY, but I am thinking she was just passing through. Here is the photo:
Once back on the water, we saw the resident loons again and entertained ourselves for a few minutes trying to guess where they would pop up next or how long they would stay underwater. They kept an eye on us and often swam in the opposite direction we were taking with our kayaks. As we entered an area near the southern shores of the lake I saw a splash in the water and watched a bird fly off-- a belted kingfisher! I was very excited since I had never seen one dive. My husband had at Stillwater Reservoir a few years ago, but I only saw the kingfisher as he flew away. We watched this belted kingfisher for at least 10 minutes and he graciously showed off his diving skills 2 more times. We were staying away from the shore so that he would continue to fish, so I don't have any photos of him. After a while, the bird took off toward the southern shore where we were headed, so we followed. And then there were 2! We watched with binoculars (but it was difficult to keep up with them that way since they didn't stay still for long.) We are assuming they were a pair and were courting, based on the chasing and landing they did. We enjoyed their antics as well as their call, which I can't describe, but is distinct. They put on a show for us that lasted more than 15 or 20 mins. Then they flew further into the woods at the end of the lake, out of our sight.
Here is another photo of the lake taken that day:
I'll be back soon with a description of our next paddle. See you then!