1. Loons have just enough feathers to fly. If a loon is missing just a few flight feathers, it can’t fly at all.
2. Loons Molt. When they molt, they lose all of their feathers at once, rendering them flightless for a short time.
3. Loons can’t run on land.
4. Loons can’t fly unless they run good distances on water.
Could Champ be a lost loon in the midst of ill timed molt? Could Champ simply be molting and waiting for his feathers to come in before he hobbles into the inlet one last time, then runs like Jesus on water and flies off? Here’s hoping that Champ is just a molting loon: something you don’t get to see on the beach very often.