Loon Update

Babies are doing well

By Donna Baker-Hartwell
I took these photos about 6:30 this morning. They are dark but you can see that “our” loon family is doing great! The chicks seem to be tolerating each other, too! The lake was very noisy last night with fireworks and I got a call that the loons were calling in distress mode. This morning the lake was so calm and peaceful and the loons were feeding and have recovered nicely. Looks like it is going to be a beautiful day which will mean lots of activity is about to start. Caption and Photo: Donna Baker-Hartwell

July 1: I am happy to report that early this morning two loon chicks left their nest and were seen with parents just off the shore. When I arrived at 6:30 AM, the chicks were in a battle for dominance – pecking, butting chests, flapping wings and rolling over and under each other. Apparently, they tired or perhaps they settled it for the time. One chick stayed hidden under some blueberry bushes for a time while the parents fed the dominant chick. Eventually it swam out from under cover and the adults fed it. Both chicks did agree to share the back of mother loon for a nap after breakfast.

A large snapping turtle swam along the buoys for a quick look. I hope he doesn't stick around! A camera drone flew overhead causing both adults to call out and huddle close.

I will leave the buoys up for as long as the loon family stays in the area. It does give them some extra protection. As always, we will give the loon family lots of space so as not to distract them from taking care of the babies.

July 3: After a very busy day yesterday, I was eager to check on our loon this morning. I found four adult loons visiting while I will assume one of our parents was negotiating with them. The five were clustered together with some chest display and flapping. Hopefully, the four will move on to another lake for the holiday! One loon parent had our two baby loon chicks 1/4 way around the lake at the northern most end (inlet) and was feeding them. The chicks patiently swim above the water as their parent fishes for just the right size minnow or baby bass. The two seem to be getting along fine. Also, I noted two blue herons on the shoreline and an osprey flew overhead.

July 8: The baby loons celebrate their first week (8 days old, today) and are growing beautifully! They are dipping under water, spending more time swimming and less time riding on their parent's back. This morning they were seen near the public beach. The goose family was hanging out on the shore. I was surprised to see that the loon parents were confident enough to leave their two babies floating alone for short periods of time. They appeared so vulnerable to me! But, I am sure that “Mom and Dad” were keeping a close eye on them, and using their “eyes at the back of their heads”.