Birds on the Lake — Two Loon Chicks Hatched

The News of the Lake is that two loon chicks hatched and were riding around on the back of one of the parents, most likely the mother. The nest was in the Heath and people were concerned that if the lake level came up too much, the nest would be under water. Now, the chicks are swimming so if it rains, they will just float with the rising water. Yeah! But there are other birds around….

At least one other pair of loons is nesting as this picture taken (with a very long lens) shows. They were not at the nest site on the 18th of June but were 5 days later. Observe from a distance and if a loon comes toward you dancing, you are too close, move away. 50 yards is a good distance for viewing……  (This picture was taken from far enough away so that the loon on the nest never moved and the “guard loon” never swam toward me. A long lens is a wonderful thing.) Remember also, the chicks cannot dive until they are older so if you see a loon as you drive a motor boat, be careful. The adults can dive but the chicks can’t. Don’t run them over.

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Below is a parent eagle and the one chick. Seems to be only one this year and it is probably getting near its first flight. That first flight can be traumatic and if it ends up on shore, don’t approach it thinking it needs to be rescued. The parents will take care of it and coming close will only stress it. This is the sixth chick produced by this nesting pair. They had two chicks the first year, then one, last year there were two and now there is one. Great to have them back!

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We also shouldn’t forget our other birds. The ring billed gull is a regular on the lake although they don’t nest here. They tend to nest in colonies and perhaps it is better that we don’t have one here. There really isn’t a good place for a group to nest anyway. The gulls we see are ones who are not “breeders” as they don’t breed their first few years. The ones we see here, because they have basically adult plumage, will probably nest next year on an island somewhere without trees and lots of other gulls in the colony.

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We are now into real summer. The weather WILL be warm and sunny. Enjoy the lake, take care of the lake, and when you are here, relax.

One other thing that might be of interest is about other loons. Loons, as a family have legs far back on their body so that they are very efficient at swimming underwater. The problem is that they don’t move well on land. The loons nest on lakes and not the ocean where they spend their winters, because there are no tides. (We always hope that the lake level doesn’t rise too much like a tide when they are nesting.) When you travel off shore on the East Coast in the winter, you see another kind of loon although it is in drab winter plumage just as the Common Loon is in the winter. The Red Throated Loon likes to nest on tundra where there are no trees and some of them nest on Iceland were I have just been. It is interesting that the posture of the Red Throated Loon sitting on a nest below is exactly what the posture of the loon shown in the picture above looks like. Try to hide, depend on the camouflage to keep you hidden. This loon is hiding its red throat patch but they are a good looking loon.

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