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Loonapalooza on Cochichewick

As far as I know there are currently no nesting loons on Lake Cochichewick. Larry Jay, Executive Director of Rolling Ridge, tells me that he dreams of building floating nests for loons in protected coves, along the shoreline of Rolling Ridge. Loons are gradually becoming more common in Massachusetts, because of dreamers like Larry.

Lake Cochichewick would provide good habitat in that, as a local reservoir, there are no motor boats allowed and much of the shoreline is undeveloped. So, if any loon is reading this, you are invited to make a home with us!

Allow me to share some impressive facts about loons: Loons are agile swimmers and move fast in the air too. Migrating loons have been clocked flying up to 70 mph. Loons are like airplanes in that they need a runway for takeoff. In the case of loons, they need from 30 yards to a quarter of a mile, running across the top of the water in order to gain enough speed for takeoff. Conversely, loons that choose a pond that is too small may become locked in to their location. (Lake Cochichewick is big enough for loons to make a home and migrate too). And, they are simply beautiful, with their black and white speckled markings. Plus, their haunting call is iconic for New England.

Can you tell I get excited about Loons?

One of the many joys of paddling on Lake Cochichewick and surrounding waters, is the diversity of wildlife. Martin Luther said that the sounds, sights and smells of nature, are 'little words from the Creator'. When I paddle I am often graced by the 'little words' of geese, a Great Blue Heron, an ancient snapping turtle (one whom I've met twice, whose shell is two feet in width), the slap of pickerel and bass, the smell of mud, the call of a nesting pair of eagles and the rustle of reeds along the shore.

Little words being spoken for those of us, with the ears to hear and the eyes to see. What are you hearing? What are you listening for?

These sights and sounds remind us that we belong to an ecological community that is truly awe inspiring. I invite you, to join me for a Pray and Paddle, on the waters of Lake Cochichewick this June - September and hopefully into October, as we listen and find our place, in the rhythm of this body of water.

I look forward to a day, sometimes soon, when we will hear the distinctive call of the loon, welcoming us home. We will have a mighty party as together we paddle and add our joyous voices to that of the loon. It will be a true, Loonapalooza!

With you on the journey, Kent Harrop

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