Happy Summer Solstice! As I sit in my kayak on Highland Lake, on the longest day of the year, I can see that “Mother,” or perhaps “Father,” Loon is diligently sitting on the nest. It is a long 28 days of taking turns incubating the eggs. We do not yet know if there is one egg or two – generally, they lay two eggs.
Today marks the 21st day of the 28 day (approximately) gestation period. By June 28, we can expect the arrival of a chick or two chicks. They usually hatch within a day or two of each other.
About 50% of eggs laid will hatch. Both parents will stay close to the nest site while they are hatching. When they feel secure enough, they will venture out onto the lake with their chicks alongside or on top of their backs and tucked under a wing. They will need to be on alert for predators both above and below the water.
A very large snapping turtle has taken up residency on the largest of the rocks off the north-east side of the island where the black and white buoy is. Snappers have been known to snatch a floating chick, as well as eagles from above.
It is helpful if the loon parents are given plenty of space (100′) so that they can keep their attention on protecting the chicks. Motor boats and especially water skiers and wake tubers will need to keep a close look out for the loon family, as the chicks are not able to get out of the way and/or dive.
We are blessed each year with this pair of mating loons. Not every year do we have chicks to watch. So far it looks very good that this summer we will!
As always, if anyone would like to report a sighting or share photos with either the Beacon or within the Loon News email group, please send to Donna Baker-Hartwell at DonnaBH@nulltds.net or Articles@nullAndoverBeacon.com We would be happy to add you to the mailing.