Catching Up with the Usual Suspects

I’ve been able to get out a few times to visit two of the loons’ ponds. The loons are out and about, along with the full cast of the usual suspects.

The Vermont Institute of Natural Science in Quechee is hosting my exhibit of loon prints through the end of July. There will be a reception where I show my slideshow, An Uncommon Look at the Common Loon, on Saturday, May 11 at 3 p.m. There are more details at https://vinsweb.org/event/artist-exhibition-ian-clark/ and https://www.facebook.com/events/454025283855444.

And, I’ll be presenting An Uncommon Loon again at the Lakes Region Art Association Gallery in Laconia, NH at 6 p.m. on May 20. The talk hasn’t been posted on their site yet, but details about the Association are at https://lraanh.org/.

Do you have critters around? While I do a lot of scouting on my own, tips for finding critters are always appreciated. I’m always looking for mammals, if you’ve got bobcats, coyotes, fishers or bears that show up more than once, I’d love a chance to photograph them. I’m also looking for owls, woodpecker nests and scarlet tanagers along with rarer species that may not visit feeders regularly. Places where I can come and go early in the morning or late in the evening without disturbing you or the critters are best.

And now, the critters. Here’s a skunk that doesn’t seem to appreciate my trail camera.


Last Friday, I caught up with some volunteers from the Loon Preservation Committee (LPC)
as they deployed their loon nesting platform on Post Pond in Lyme, NH.

Nesting platforms have been a huge success in helping restore the loon population. The LPC put out their first platform in 1977. Since then LPC volunteers and staff have floated loon nesting rafts on New Hampshire lakes 1,685 times – not including this year. Nesting loon pairs have used these rafts 917 times, and hatched 976 chicks on the platforms – an incredible one in four chicks hatched in New Hampshire. You can learn more about LPC at www.loon.org – and check out their loon cam watching a nest in the Lakes Region at https://loon.org/looncam/. Sign up for their newsletter to keep up with New Hampshire’s loons. Vermonter’s loons get assistance from the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, check out their site, https://vtecostudies.org/

Volunteers Jim Mason (orange kayak), his wife Dale Mason and Wayne Pushee (blue kayak) towing the loon nesting platform. Loons on Post Pond have used the platform for several years.
Wrestling the platform in to position.
The platform ready for the loons to move in.

On April 23, I made it out to check in with the Westons. (For new readers, to give the loons some privacy, I named the loons on the pond to my east the Eastons. The loons to my west are the Westons, and the pond in the middle hosts the Middletons.)

Getting ready for the day, both loons did some quick preening, ending with a stretch and a shake of the head.

And a stretch from the other loon.

The Canada geese have – mostly – claimed their nesting sites and many of the females are sitting on their nests. This brings some peace and quiet to the pond. Here’s one of our geese heading out for the morning.

This pond hosts at least three pair of beaver. This fellow popped up in close to my boat.

He was too close for me to get a good photo of his tail slap.

But, I got a great look at his back feet as he dove. They’re HUGE!

The pond also hosts a variety of ducks. Here’s Mr. Mallard posing nicely.

Female red-winged blackbirds have returned. Males have returned about three weeks ago to stake out territories to be ready for the ladies. This was the first female I saw this year. Her appearance had the males singing and displaying with gusto. The females are perfectly colored to blend into the reeds while they sit on the nest, they don’t have to be flashy like the males.

On my way out, the loons were doing a thorough preening. They usually finish with a wing stretch. I waited a few minutes and was rewarded when they both stretched.

A nice finish to the morning.

There was another mallard drake posing by the boat launch when I arrived. As I was putting my gear away, an immature eagle dove on him and his mate. The both dove and lived to quack another day.

Last Friday, I visited the Middletons. They were busy foraging, apparently having to work for dinner. They were making long dives and covering lots of territory underwater. I went to see who else might be around the pond.

There was a large number of painted turtles basking around the pond.

This painted turtle seems to be giving me some attitude…..

There was a small flock of warblers foraging for insects high in the trees. I tried to tell them that the black flies were available at my eye level, but they didn’t seem interested. This is a yellow-rumped warbler, known as a ‘butter butt’ to birders.

And this explains how they got their name.

There were several pine warblers in the flock. I’ve yet to get a good photo of one. They tend to forage deep in the brush, making it hard to get an unobstructed view of them. It turns out one of my skills is photographing branches on which pine warblers were very recently perched. (My other talent is stalking heron-shaped sticks.)

This time I got lucky enough to actually get the bird before it flew. Looks like I’ll have to keep trying…..
The Middletons finished dinner and cruised not far from the boat launch as I headed in. Once again, one beached and called – it looked like the female presenting, but the other loon did not respond. It is still a couple weeks early for them to be mating. I didn’t get a shot of her before she returned to the water, but here she is checking me out.

Saturday morning found me visiting the Westons once again. The weather went south rapidly and I left when it started raining.

The loons were busy preening when I caught up with them, both ended with a big stretch.
And the other loon stretches…..

Eastern kingbirds were out in large numbers. They’re insect hunters – they love dragonflies in season. They perch just about eye level on the edge of the pond and dart out to nab insects passing by.
Another kingbird perched along the side of the pond.
One of the loons stretching a leg. This gives a great look at how far back their legs are and the size of the foot.
Of course, I was willing to pause in the rain to get one last nice wing stretch….

Spring Has Arrived

After several false starts, it looks like spring has arrived to stay in the Upper Valley. Of course, I’m not taking the snow tires off until the second week of May.

Along with the ice going out, our summer residents are arriving back in droves. I spotted six loons on the Middleton’s pond on March 31. By the time I put the boat in the next day, they’d moved on. My bet is they’d been scouting the territory to see which ponds were open and just stopped for a rest and a meal before heading back south. But there were other critters out and about.

One of the resident osprey had a good perch overlooking the pond.

A bald eagle hauled several sticks into a tall pine that looks over the shore. I’m not sure what he? was up to – too late for this year’s nest and seems early to be starting on next year’s. When I check again yesterday, there didn’t seem to be any progress on a nest.

My next trip took me to the Weston’s pond last Sunday. A friend on the pond told me that one loon had arrived back on the April 9. There was still only one loon on the pond.

The first loon back on the Weston’s pond. He? spent the morning cruising lazily, occasionally foraging.

Most of the action on the pond was from the Canada geese. They’re sorting out territories. This requires lots of honking, hissing and wrestling. Here’s another coming to join the fray.

Just as the tail feathers touch the water…..

And splashdown!

Eastern Phoebe
There were several eastern phoebes hunting along the edge of the pond and lots of tree swallows swooping over the pond.

I got back to the Weston’s pond on Tuesday for a brisk paddle – it was 39°F when I put the boat in. We still had only one loon and the geese were causing a ruckus.
There was one hummock just off shore that was a treasured spot. It changed hands several times during the morning. The goose on the right has just abandoned it at the suggestion of the goose in the middle.

The fight wasn’t settled and moved out into the water. The goose being chased eventually conceded and moved off down the pond.
Male red-winged blackbirds are back and staking out territories. I haven’t seen a female yet, they usually wait a while after the males head north.

Wednesday morning found me back on the Middleton’s pond. And missing the balmy day before. It was a chilly 28°F as I pushed through a skim of ice to get on the pond. As soon as I cleared the ice, there were trout feeding at the surface. The osprey both made quick work of finding breakfast. And, there were loons.
The loons slept in a bit before waking to face the day. They spent some time preening, ending with a nice stretch.. Then decided the day could wait and went back to sleep.

There were lots of ducks of several sorts around the lake. And what seemed an endless of mergansers suddenly flying around. Here’s a pair of ring-necked ducks, a nice catch.


A pair of mallard drakes were swimming along the shore when something startled them. They took a very short flight – maybe 15 feet before settling and continuing on their way.
After a time, our loons reawakened and decided they’d face the day afterall. They headed out to forage a bit.

They also spent some time exploring along the shore. The hummock they’ve used for their nest site for several years washed away in the heavy rains last summer. They’ll have to find a new site.

At one point, one loon beached and almost seemed to be presenting. That would be about a month early. The second loon didn’t respond and they soon started off down the shoreline again.

Another pretty good indication that spring is really here is the return of the warblers. Warblers are beautiful little birds. Emphasis on little. They’re devilishly hard to photograph. They’re in almost continuous motion while foraging through the underbrush. This palm warbler paused briefly in the clear.

This morning I headed to the Easton’s pond again. Our second loon has returned. As I was putting the boat in, another loon flew over and was challenged by the loons on the pond. A loon flew over the pond on two more occasions, both times flying off after being challenged. The home team spent the morning foraging and preening.

The highlight of the morning was finding three otters feeding and wrestling on the bank of the pond.

I don’t know that I’ve ever found a pair of otters. When I spot them, there are either one alone or a trio of them. Today there were three. This was the first time I’ve seen this behavior – they were clawing at a tree stump. They didn’t seem to be finding anything to eat and the scratching was interrupted by rounds of wrestling.
One of the trio broke off from the tree and grabbed a perch for breakfast.
The other two otters took time for a couple rounds of wrestling while the first ate.


As I was heading back to the boat launch, I passed the loons foraging together. One started preening, so I stuck around to get the stretch shot.
And, should you have any remaining doubts spring has returned to the Upper Valley, the honey wagons are flocking to the fields.

Our bluebirds are again building in our nesting box. I checked the cameras several weeks ago and all seemed fine. But now the camera in the box the birds are using isn’t working properly. We’ll have to skip watching the first brood – I’m not going to disturb the box to get at the camera until the the chicks fledge. Hopefully we’ll be back online for the second brood.

You can sign up to be updated when I add new posts, if you want to follow the loons through the season, go ahead and sign up. And, please share with your friends that might enjoy the wildlife.

Total Eclipse 2024

Some of you may have heard we had a total eclipse yesterday. I ventured up Owl’s Head in the Groton State Forest in Groton, Vermont to have a look. I was joined by 75 of my closest friends. The crowd was very friendly and I met lots of great people.

I was using my 400mm with a 1.4x extender with Thousand Oaks film solar filter. I used the timer on my phone to time the images, aiming for five minutes between shots. There is a fair bit of variation. I seriously misunderestimated how long it would take me to get the solar filter off and require the sun and failed to capture totality. I’ll be kicking myself for years…..

As predicted, traffic was horrible, I had to follow this guy all the way from Wells River to Groton.

Onset was about 2:15 p.m. I was surprised at how clearly we can see two sunspots with lens with such a modest magnification.

Sunspots are caused by intense magnetic flux (flowing liquid) pushing up from the Sun’s interior. This movement of flux creates magnetic fields roughly 2,500 times stronger than the Earth’s and interferes with the nominal convection on the Sun’s surface. This causes cooler areas – only about 7,000° F (normal is roughly 10,000°F). This causes the dark spots we can see on the Sun’s surface. Typical sunspots are roughly the size of the Earth.
2:27 p.m.
2:35 p.m.
2:43 p.m.
2:51 p.m.
2:58 p.m.
3:04 p.m.
3:10 p.m.
3:15 p.m.
3:19 p.m.
3:33 p.m.
3:37 p.m.
3:54 p.m.
4:01 p.m.
4:14 p.m.
4:29 p.m.
4:31 p.m.

I’ve got a great deal on some eclipse glasses for you……

Hope to see you all at one of the 11,897 eclipses we’ll have before 3,000 CE.

Loons should appear sometime in the next week. I’ll be checking regularly.

Peregrine Falcons Have Returned

Peregrine falcons have returned to Vermont and are getting ready to nest. I was able to visit a pair in Caledonia County this morning. They spent some time seemingly discussing their nest site, with one promoting last year’s site, the other agitating for a ledge a couple dozen yards to the north. They interrupted the discussion to head out for a flying courtship display. Unfortunately, the display was out of camera range.

Peregrines were extirpated (locally extinct) in Vermont after the introduction of DDT. The state started a recovery effort in 1975 and the population is increasing again. The last year I could find figures for was 2022, when there were an estimated 60 pairs nesting in Vermont.

Peregrines are thought to be the fastest animal on earth. They can dive in flight. Estimates online range from 200 to 240 mph, without my finding anyone who claims to have actually clocked a flying falcon. But, seeing one dive is indeed impressive and the estimates are believable.

When I arrived before dawn, this bird was on last year’s nest site, the other was about 50 feet to the north on a different ledge. They repeatedly called to each other, seemingly promoting the benefits of each site.
The second bird moved up to a tree more or less over the old site and the discussion continued.
The second bird swooped the first while it was on the old nest, probably the beginning of his courtship display.
Another swoop. Both birds soon flew off to trees to the south where they repeatedly called and answered. After a bit they flew, with one somewhat lazily circling while the other swooped and rolled. Unfortunately, they were too far away for pix.
After the courtship, the both settled in trees for a bit before one headed out, probably for breakfast. After a time, the bird returned to last year’s nesting site and sat for a bit.
Still sitting on the old nest site, the mate was still in the trees to the south.
Time to fly some errands, the bird headed out and off to the east and I headed off to get my errands done.

Northern Hawk Owl

The Piermont, NH, Public Library will be hosting me to present my slideshow, An Uncommon Look at the Common Loon, next Sunday, March 3, at 2 p.m. in the Old Church Building in Piermont. That’s right across Route 10 from the Library, not far south of the Route 10 and 25 intersection. Free and everyone welcome.

Northern hawk owls are small owls that live in the boreal forest, mostly north of the US. They’re occasional visitors to New England. I’ve heard of two in New England this winter. One has been persisting in Pittsburg, NH for the last couple of weeks. I went up to visit last Sunday.

Northern hawk owls are daytime hunters. Many owls have ears that are asymmetrical – they’re a bit offset from center on their heads. This allows them to pinpoint noises and allow them to hunt by ear. Northern hawk owls have symmetrical ears which lessen their ability to hunt by ear. They behave more like hawks and use exceptional eyesight – they seem to be able to see small rodents at half a mile. This means they’re out and about during the day, making photography much easier.

Easier, not easy. The owl visiting New Hampshire seems to prefer telephone poles and wires for perches – hardly photogenic.

This seems to be one of the owl’s favorite perches. It allows a good view of fields on both sides of the road and isn’t very far from a thicket of trees should it need cover. The owl didn’t seem to care about the small group of photographers patiently waiting for him? to show up. He flew in with us standing around in the road.

The owl went about his business while we waited. He took time to do some preening.

And cleaning his talons. Those are pretty big talons for a small bird.

Hawk owls stand up straight and try to make themselves skinny when there’s a predator in the air nearby. There were several eagles in the area, one flew by not far from the perch. I suspect that this helps hide the owl when perched at the top of the tree. A tall skinny shape may make the owl less conspicuous to predators.

The owl seemed to be determined to taunt the photographers. After a time at the top of the telephone pole, he flew to the wire almost directly above me.

We got great looks at him perched on the wire.

Late in the afternoon, he headed across the field to a row of evergreens and took up station at the top of one of them.

I suspect he’s spotted me.

There were a couple flights of ducks along the river in Pittsburg. And, the bluebirds have been busy inspecting our bird boxes, we’re hopeful we’ll host them again this spring.

Upcoming Events

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Just a quick update to let you know about a couple upcoming evenings.

I’ve got a slideshow of great loon photos, An Uncommon Look at the Common Loon. The Walker Lecture Series will be hosting me in Concord on Wednesday, November 29, 2023, at 7:30 (I’m the second speaker, I should start closer to 8:30). Free and everyone welcome.

All the details on Walker’s site: https://www.walkerlecture.org/schedule.

And, I still have some 2024 Wildlife Calendars available.

Calendars are $25 and $3 shipping per order. You can order them online at www.IansPhotos.com or email me at UpperValleyPhotos@gmx.com to order.

Last, I’ll be up at the Burklyn Arts Council’s Craft Fair in St. Johnsbury next Saturday. I’ll have calendars, lots of note cards and prints, large and small. Stop by and say hello.

A Visit to the East Broad Top Railroad


In October, I was able to revisit the East Broad Top Railroad in Orbisonia, PA. Pete Lerro of Lerro Productions organized a photo charter with EBT’s 2-8-2 no. 16 and a variety of antique cars and reenactors.

I’ll be giving a presentation on the surviving steam locomotives in the US on Wednesday, November 8 at 7:00 p.m. for the Haverhill Historical Society at Alumni Hall in Haverhill, NH. Free and everyone welcome. We’ll look at a variety of engines operating from coast to coast.

I’ve got a 2024 wildlife wall calendar available. They’re 9×12″ with 13 photos – the cover and 12 months. They’re $25. I can mail them to you for $3 an order if you’d like or catch me around town, I should have some with me. You can order them at www.IansPhotos.com.

The East Broad Top Railroad was a 3′ gauge coal hauler than ran from Broad Top Mountain to the Pennsylvania Railroad in Mount Union, PA. Built in 1873, the EBT ran until 1956. Since 1956, it has run, off and on, as a tourist railroad. In 2020 a new group of railroaders formed the EBT Foundation and brought the EBT back to life once again.

Our locomotive for the shoot was EBT no. 16. She’s a 2-8-2 Mikado, built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1916.
Our goal is to make compelling photographs of historically accurate scenes that could have been. Our train had seven freight cars from the original railroad along with two coaches to make authentic mixed train.
Our first day, the weather didn’t cooperate. We had cloudy weather throughout the day. That didn’t stop the crew from putting on a good show.
Fall colors were muted, but we made the best of the color and clouds.
Our train arriving back at the Orbisonia station. Our reenactors did a great job.
East Broad Top Railroad
Another shot at the station.
Enyart Road was a busy place when the train went by.

Pete always tries to come up with a creative shot after dark. This time he went all in, attempting to recreate O. Winston Link‘s Hotshot Eastbound. Link captured the original photo on August 2, 1956 in Iaeger, West Virginia. The photo required 42 #2 flashbulbs and one #0 flash bulb and was captured using a Graphic View camera that use 4×5” sheet film. The image of the airplane was added in the darkroom. Link’s image:

Pete set up the drive in in the Railroad’s parking lot.
Our second morning dawned with a thick fog. We managed a few moody images around the yard in Rockhill Furnace.
The new management at the Railroad is restoring the buildings the Railroad left. They intend to restore the coaling tower to again coal the locomotives.
The sun was slow to break through the clouds when we got out on the line.
Crossing over the Ronks Turnpike with our reenactors on station again.
A couple of our lady reenactors had some car trouble. Fortunately, a helpful sergeant was around to help.
The sun slowly tried to break through the clouds.
The sun almost cooperated as the day progressed.

Back at the station, our reenactors were again put to work.

Inspiration for this last shot came from Harold M. Lambert Jr.’s shot of a soldier kissing his girl goodbye at the New Hope, PA station during WWII. Lambert’s shot:

Our version.

The new management at EBT has made amazing progress restoring the railroad and buildings. They’re rapidly working to relay the track south of Orbisonia and restoring the other steam locomotives. They run steam excursions regularly. Certainly worth a visit. Get the details on their site: East Broad Top Railroad.

One Loon Chick Left

Thursday morning, I headed up to check on the Eastons. When I las visited, the parents weren’t on the pond and the chicks were practicing takeoffs, but couldn’t quite get airborne.

The adults usually stick around this pond until the last week of September, with the chicks departing in the first week of October. Looks like the parents took an early leave this year, with one chick following.

The chick on the pond was foraging lazily when I arrived. I watched for a time before hearing a loon calling overhead. I was expecting one of our parents to drop in to check on things, but the loon appeared to fly over.

Our chick was foraging lazily and swimming, covering a good distance with each dive.

After a time, another loon was calling overhead – or maybe the same one that flew over before. Our chick tried to call. He’s first attempt sounded like someone stepped on a goose. But he quickly found his voice and yodeled.

That’s interesting for a couple reasons. First, only male loons yodel, so we know he’s a he. Second, that’s the response of an adult loon to an intruder. No longer is our chick hiding to protect himself.

The intruder landed at the far end of the pond. The exchanged wails and yodels for a time.
When the intruder came down the pond, our chick took to the air. He circled over the pond for about 20 minutes.
The intruder dove a few times, foraging. Then spent a couple minutes preening before stretching. Our chick continued to circle over head. Eventually the intruder took off and headed out.
Our chick landed and went about his business.
He found something to eat – probably insect larva – on this branch before getting to work diving for a proper meal.
Second breakfast completed, he settled in for a nap.
After a while, he woke up and swam over towards my boat. This may well be the last photo I get of him. With the rest of the family gone, I won’t be surprised if he follows. But, I’m hoping he sticks around to let me visit with him again.

Learning to Fly, Checking in on the Loons

Our loon chicks are now 12 weeks old. They’re almost ready to take care of themselves. This week, they’ve been practicing adult calls, postures and they’re trying to fly. I was able to visit the Eastons twice since the last post.

I’ll be down at the Fall Crafts at Lyndhurst Show in Tarrytown, NY this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Stop by to check out all the new images in prints and note cards. All the show details here.

Last Friday, the Eastons’ pond was above most of the fog at sunup. As I headed down the pond I met one chick coming up.

The chicks are ever more independent. They’re roaming the pond away from each other and mom and dad. Unless they’re hungry, then they’re looking for a parent to provide a handout.

The morning’s big project was working on adult calls. This chick attempted several wails – sounding sort of like a gull laughing and a distressed horse. After a time, the other chick started answering, without much improvement. One of them did get off a proper wail when it counted – a large hawk flew low over the pond. This chick is letting loose with a pretty impressive tremolo.

After a bit, our chicks joined up. They were lazily foraging and taking time to call.

Soon mom started calling back and all three joined up. This is the pond where dad is banded. Dad was nowhere to be found this morning. He may have been off for some R&R at another pond. The chicks were very aggressive in crowding and pinching mom to get fed.

Both chicks were sticking close to mom and would immediately close on her when she surfaced. She popped up on the far side of my boat – away from the chicks – several times throughout the morning. Maybe she needed a moment’s rest where the chicks couldn’t see her?

Mom inbound with another crayfish. The chick’s make very quick work of the crayfish now, no more fumbling with them.

The handoff.

And another crayfish.



A chick crowding mom, just in case she didn’t know he might be hungry.

Both chicks crowding mom.

One of the chicks captured a stick covered in weeds. And, had to taught the sibling with it. The stick proved inedible and the chick dropped it. The second chick immediately picked it up to try it for himself.

One last crayfish delivery before I had to head out.

I returned to the pond Tuesday morning. The pond was mostly above the fog again. Beautiful blue skies and the hills to the west were in full sunlight. The pond was stuck in the shadow of one stubborn thick cloud.

The chicks were alone on the pond, both parents were elsewhere. The chicks were foraging about two-thirds of a mile apart. Both successfully feeding themselves. As the sun came up, a breeze grew and the chicks took time to practice flying.

Loons have to run across the surface for some distance to build up speed to get enough lift for takeoff. This chick is giving it a good try.

Further into his run. He doesn’t yet have the strength to get his butt clear of the water.

Here’s the other chick preparing for an attempt.

The first upstroke with the wings for his run.

And back down with the wings. Note how much water he’s kicking up already.

Full extension on the wings…. will it be enough?

Reversing direction on the wings at the top of the stroke. This picture was taken with a shutter speed of 1/2000th of a second, not fast enough to stop the motion.

This attempt didn’t work, he’s slowing and lowering himself back down on the water.

After a quick preen to get all the feathers back in place, he stoop up to stretch. Or his he taking a bow?

The second chick making a second attempt.

He’s really got his wings moving, his butt is nearly clear of the water. Could this be it?

Oh so close! His body – including his butt are clear of the water. But, he’s still pushing off with his left leg.

Rats, not today…. Watching through the lens, I thought he’d made it airborne. Only on the monitor at home did I spot his right leg down. A great try. He’ll be airborne before I can get back to the pond.

The Middletons appear to have scooted from their pond, they haven’t been spotted in almost a week. The Westons were doing well as of this past weekend. Both chicks are growing and getting independent. I’m hoping to get a chance to visit them before they head out.

Loon Chicks at 10 Weeks

Monday morning there were stars above and a thick fog over the river in the valley below. I decided to risk a trip to visit the Eastons. Most of the trip to the pond was slow going through the fog. As I started to climb towards the pond, I rose back above the fog to find a beautiful morning.

Dad was foraging by himself near the boat launch, he paddled in close to hoot softly to me before returning to feasting on crayfish. Mom called a couple times while I was getting the boat in the water. This is the pond where Dad is banded, letting me tell who is who if I can see a leg.

Heading down the pond, I encounter our great blue heron doing some predawn fishing.
And our other heron posing nicely in front of the shadows.

The chicks were keeping mom busy. They’re very demanding, poking and pulling feathers whenever she got near. She didn’t spend much time on the surface, she’d dive quickly when a chick got near. I’m convinced this is why the parents leave the pond before the chicks – they just want some peace.

Mom has just handed off a crayfish that the chick swallowed quickly. The chick started to crowd mom to encourage her to find more.
Just in case mom forgot she has chicks and chicks get hungry, our chick gives her a gentle reminder that it is time to eat.
Mom takes the hint and finds another crayfish.
Mom dives again before the chick can grab some feathers.
Mom is looking good. She surfaces close in, but on the side of the boat where she’s hidden from the chicks.
One of the chicks wanders off on his own and waits for me to look the other way before practicing taking off. They’ll both be practicing, but there’s still a while before they get airborne.
Mom passing by with another crayfish for the chicks.
The crayfish isn’t going to last very long.
Giving a quick head shake after swallowing the crayfish.
Mom serves up yet another crayfish.
Our chick wrangles the crayfish into position.
The chick is trying to swallow this one head first, the crayfish objects.
The crayfish gets a temporary reprieve as the chick spits it out. He’ll flip it around and swallow it tail first.
The chick seems to be pleased with the way that battle turned out.
Mom is inbound with another crayfish, but needs to stop and stretch.
One of our chicks takes a moment to stretch.
Our chicks posing nicely for a pic.
The chicks are still hungry and need to remind mom they’d like to be fed.
Mom comes through with one more crayfish before I had to head out.

Heading back to the boat launch, I pass dad who is lazily paddling along, seemingly enjoying the peace and quiet on this end of the pond.

I was surprised the fog hadn’t shown up on the pond, there’s usually a period where the pond gets foggy as the fog lifts from the valley. Driving back towards home, I discovered why – the fog was still sitting heavy on the river.

Back at the house, the goldfinches have discovered the thistle I left for them.

A small charm of goldfinches are enjoying the thistle as it goes to seed.

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