Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Loch Ness Monster

(Please note that all photographs below are from various sources on the web. See the links below each photo to go to the originals.)

As I was walking along the river yesterday, I saw a small curved neck and head sticking out of the water in the distance. I looked away for a moment, and when I looked back it was gone. Completely gone! Nothing perched on the rocks, nothing flying away, no ripples in the water showing where it had gone. Nothing. It had disappeared.

I'd thought it might have been a bird, but where had it gone? Plus, what was odd about this "supposed bird" was that I hadn't actually seen its body. Just a long curved neck sticking out of the water. So then I thought maybe it had been a snake. Except that I'd never seen a snake stick that far out of the water and curve that way.

I kept walking and scanning the water from time to time, and a few moments later I saw it again, but much further down the river. I caught up to it just in time to see it disappear below the water again and, just like the last time, I could see no trace of where it had gone. I couldn't see its body or a shadow under the water, or ripples letting me know which way it was going, or air bubbles... Nothing. After what seemed like a pretty long time it popped its head up once again, further downstream.

Source: Andy Fan

Source: Andy Fan

So I did the only natural thing I could do. I followed it! And I figured out a few things. Yes it was a bird! (But you already knew that!) It was dark black with an orange beak, it was going very deep under water (because I could see absolutely no trace of it when it dived), it could hold its breath for 23 seconds at a time, and it could swim underwater the equivalent distance of 32 of my paces before resurfacing for air.

I followed it down the river for a bit always trying to guess where it would surface next. Once I figured out the "32 paces and 23 seconds rule" I got pretty accurate in my guesses. Just before we parted ways, I saw it catch a fish. It had probably caught many more but that was the only time I'd noticed the glimmering silver flash that quickly disappeared down its throat.

As soon as I got home I did a little research, starting with a call to my friend K. She knew exactly what it was from my description. (K knows everything!) She said what I'd seen was a "Cormorant." -I've never heard of a Cormorant. I looked it up online and discovered that what I'd seen was, more specifically, a Double-Crested Cormorant.

Then, for fun, I thought I'd google one more thing... It turns out, I'm not the only person who thinks the Double-Crested Cormorant looks like a mini Loch Ness Monster from a distance!

"Another Cormorant was swimming around the lagoon doing a Loch Ness monster impersonation."

"...when I first caught sight of a cormorant I wondered if it might not have some connection to the Loch Ness monster since it rides so low in the water that all you usually can see is its head and neck sticking up."

"If cormorants were just a little bit larger, watery legends like the Loch Ness Monster would be easy to explain... The double-crested cormorants ... have an unmistakable serpentine quality as they weave between the waves in their never ending search for food. With a snake-like neck, a fierce, toothy face, and a body that remains largely submerged beneath the surface, a giant-sized cormorant could easily inspire the type of stories that keep landlubbers and children away from the water's edge."

"The Cormorant is interesting to watch because it swims with its body partially submerged and its head and neck held above the water. When swimming it resembles a miniature Loch Ness Monster."

"looking at this, i think the loch ness monster is a giant cormorant :) "

"...a cormorant circles the dock, eyeballing the fish in the buckets and swimming low in the water with a sinister profile of a little Loch Ness Monster."

So there you have it. My miniature Loch Ness Monster. He was actually pretty cute! I can't wait to see one again :)

Source: Mark B.



Lady Bracknell said...

Welcome to my world....

Melissa said...

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Thank you for visiting!