You've heard the phrases. "Crazy as a coot," or "You old coot." Until I started birding, I thought a "coot" was simply a derogatory word for someone who was slightly batty. Then I learned that there actually is something named a coot, and it's a bird!
When the heavy bodied bird tries to fly, however, it has to work pretty hard. It runs as fast as it can, flapping furiously, just in front of your boat. Then in a short distance, they decide they are safe enough, drop back down to the lake's surface again, and return to calmly browsing the water plants.
I enjoy watching the Coots at sunset, when they paddle across the lake leaving long wakes behind. What a peaceful way to end the day!