Of Journeys and Reflections at Summer's End

Autumn 2001

Autumn is here and all nature is showing us the colors of the season.  Stars seem more brilliant in the crisp, clear air, and the sounds of the night creatures seem clearer to our ears.  The scents of the ripened bounty of the earth meet us in a sweet confusion, and the voices of wild things flying to find the warmer winds stir our own hearts to wandering.

  This is the time of year when our beautiful Loons take wing to follow the way to the southern ocean.  Over a hundred years ago, naturalists observed that in Autumn the Loons from the mid-western and eastern parts of our country moved eastward and gathered in huge flocks on large areas of water, moving from lakes and bays eventually to the open ocean.  Then they made their way down along the eastern coast to winter in the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico off our southern states, remaining there in large flocks as they spent winter days waiting for the spring and the return to their own territories on the northern lakes.  Still now, as in so many years and centuries past, the pattern repeats as Nature keeps to her own surety of time.

  This is the time of year also when our Loon Rangers and Area Coordinators complete their reports of the Loons' summer activities and habitat conditions for the Loonwatch database.  This information is invaluable to us and to the Loons' protection, preservation and indeed their very survival and future here in Michigan.

  This year has seen a wonderful growing enthusiasm among people here in our state for the efforts to help our Loons and their habitat.  We are actively working with many other groups on many projects and are greatly encouraged with all that we together have accomplished thus far and as we look to the future.

  We have continued working together this season with all the state and federal agencies as well as the many groups that have been an integral part of efforts for the Loons and habitat for many years.  In addition, we are now working with the Michigan Duck Hunters' Association (within our ongoing cooperation with The Wildlife Recovery Association), The Michigan Loon Survey (renewing a past cooperative effort), The Biodiversity Institute, The Nature Conservancy, and many Lake Associations throughout the state as we continue to aid them, along with The Michigan Lake and Stream Association, with protection efforts on their lakes.  The growing network of partnerships with these groups and others is exciting and gives us all much hope as together we address the needs of the Loons in today's world.

So, we can never say often enough:  Thank You! Thank You! to our Rangers, Coordinators and all those others in every capacity who work so tirelessly. . . . for the lakes, for the wild places and wild things, for the Loons and for all that nature has bestowed so abundantly upon our beautiful state.   Each time we hear the haunting call of the Loon and watch earthbound as she answers the ancient voice of Autumn, may it remind us of these priceless gifts that are ours in the Great Circle of Life, the Circle that encompasses us all.

 Joanne C. Williams, State Coordinator MLPA/MLW