Updates and photos as Ian follows the local loon families
Dawn yesterday found a cloudless sky and with the temperature here on the hill at 32°, I figured I could get the kayak around the pond. I headed north to check on the Westons. This is the family that faced intruders for several weeks in the spring. They hatched two chicks and one survives and is 15 weeks old.
I’ve got a couple appearances coming up. Wednesday October 26, I’ll be at the Bugbee Senior Center at 1:00 p.m.with my slideshow An Uncommon Look at the Common Loon. The show is open to the public, see the details on their site: https://www.bugbeecenter.org/activity/special-events/bugbeetalks/.
There’s a photographic print version of An Uncommon Look which I’ll be hanging at the Kellogg-Hubbard Memorial Library in Montpelier on November 1. It will stay up until November 30. I’ll be giving An Uncommon Look at 6:30 p.m. on November 9 at the Library. Free and open to the public.
And, I’ll be at Craft Vermont November 18-20, 2022 at the DoubleTree in South Burlington. Come on by and say hello.
When I got to the loon’s pond, the sun had yet to hit the tops of the trees along the west side of the pond and it was a refreshing 29°. There was only the slightest trace of ice along the shore, no problem for a kayak.
While I was launching the kayak, I noticed what looked to be a large hawk land in a tree towards the other end of the pond. Too far away for a good ID and with the loons talking I headed out to find them.
I had a chance to check in on two of our loon families this weekend. Let’s see what’s up.
The Paradise City Arts Festival in Northampton, MA, is this coming weekend, October 8, 9& 10. I’ll be there in booth 220 with lots of photos of loons, owls, fox kits and other critters.
Friday morning, after scraping ice off the windshield, I headed east to check on the Eastons. This is the family that last I saw them, the chicks were practicing takeoffs, but were not yet airborne. This pond is almost 2,000 feet above sea level. The loons usually depart from this pond much earlier than the nearby ponds at lower elevations. This year, I wondered if fish were scarce; the parents seemed to feed the chicks more crayfish than other loons and in the last couple visits, the parents delivered only a couple fish of any size. Anecdotal evidence from fisherpeople also suggests that fish are scarce, but when has anyone fishing complained of there being too many fish?
One loon flew over the pond about half an hour before sunup, and that was the only sighting for the day. The loons have moved on. They’re likely to have moved to a lower pond where they’re likely to stay until the ice starts forming. Once the ice appears, they’ll head to the coast.
Our heron was around to give me the consolation prize.
This morning, I visited the loons to the west, the Westons. Their pond is much lower, about 870′ ASL. And, much warmer, at 47 when I arrived. There was one adult and the surviving chick on the pond. The chick is 13 weeks old this weekend.
One of the residents on the pond tells me that the chick has had a busy week with an juvenile eagle repeatedly harassing him. No sign of the eagle this morning, but I wasn’t out long.
Anyone have a bear coming after the last of the apples?
This pair of loon chicks is 11 weeks old this weekend. There was thick fog on the hill this morning when I checked the weather. Hoping the loons would be above the fog, I headed out. We went from fog to haze before a beautiful day broke out. The chicks’ big project continues to be to learn to fly.
I’ll be down at the Capital Arts Festival in Concord, NH September 24 & 25 with lots of wildlife photos and note cards. Come by and say hello. The event is free, much of the activity is on Main Street. You can find the details here.
This morning provided better weather for visiting the loons than Friday. I headed out before dawn to see what they were up to. The chicks were ten weeks old this weekend. They’re mostly foraging for themselves now, they can make prolonged dives. But they’re still happy to have their parents rustle up a meal for them.
This morning, I was able to pay a quick visit to our loon family where our chicks are now ten weeks old. It was a brisk 38° when I put the boat in, with a light breeze making it feel colder. It seemed a long time before the sun crept up to light the pond. The wind only got worse, making photography difficult.
Are you in an organization that needs programs? I’ve got several PowerPoint presentations available. Under Steam gives a look at many of the US’s surviving steam locomotives, Puffin Stuff is about visiting and photographing the Atlantic Puffins on Machias Seal Island, Photographing the Critters in Your Yard is geared towards camera clubs and gives lots of ideas on how to get started with wildlife photography. And, An Uncommon Look at the Common Loon rounds up my best loon photos.
For educators, I’ve got a PowerPoint on Careers in Photography which introduces many lesser known career paths in photography. Students usually have interesting questions about my time managing NASA’s Photographic Section.
UPDATE: I was able to get back out to visit this family again Sunday morning, and the weather was more cooperative. More pix at: Another Visit With The Loons.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by at the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s Fair. Nice to know people are actually reading the blog. My next show is the Capital Arts Fest, September 24 & 25 in Concord, NH.
Yesterday, I got a chance to check up on the Eastons. The chicks are now eight weeks old and seem to be doing well. They’re big – nearly as big as their parents. Their feathers have grown in and their bills have elongated. They’re diving and foraging for themselves, but still expect their parents to feed them. They’re getting independent, for much of the morning the family was spread out over something like a third of a mile.
Two of our loon families chicks are now six weeks old, the other family’s chick is five weeks. Let’s check in to see how they’re doing, as well as seeing what a few other critters are up to.
I’m going to miss posing next week, I’ll be down at the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s Fair in Sunapee. I’ll have lots of new prints and cards, I’m in booth 725, stop by and say hello.
And, yes, yes that bee hovering above the swallow from my last post did survive to buzz another day. Apparently, I should have added that to the caption…. Surprising how many people were concerned for the bee…
The Weston’s remaining chick (on the western pond I’m watching) is doing well. There was an intruder in the neighborhood again, the parents were alerted and searching for him. I didn’t see any interaction with the intruder and the chick made only brief appearances while mostly hiding in the brush. There were a few other animals around.
I made three visits to the Eastons before getting good conditions for photography. The first two mornings were peaceful, this morning they faced an intruder.
The intruder stayed at the far end of the pond for the remainder of the time I was on the pond. I’m looking forward to getting back up to visit them again.
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The loon chicks to my east are five weeks old this weekend. All four on both ponds, the ‘Eastons’ and the ‘Middletons,’ seem to be doing well. The pond to my west, the ‘Westons,’ has sad news, the parents have lost a chick.
Our bluebirds’ second brood is ready to fledge. Wednesday afternoon the adults started calling to the chicks to leave the box. Thursday they were more insistent. Friday they sounded impatient. Saturday morning, two of the four chicks left the box. This morning their are still two chicks in the box. Mom and dad have stopped calling, they’re busy feeding the two that fledged. The two in the box are looking out the door, trying to get up the courage to make the leap.
The League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s Fair is August 6-15, I’ll be there with lots of wildlife prints, cards and more. Other images are available through my web site, www.IanClark.com. It takes me some time between capturing an image and getting prints made. If you see a photo that you’d like in one of my posts, send me an email and I’ll bump that image to the head of the queue.
The Weston family couldn’t be found during last week’s census. They’ve been under pressure from intruding loons all spring. They’re on a small pond, not being found in 90 minutes of searching was worrisome. I love how people watch out for ‘their’ loons, I heard from folks who live or have camps on the pond, worried that they hadn’t seen the loons for a couple days. A couple that live on the pond set out Monday to have another look and found the adults and one chick hidden in a remote part of the pond, a much better outcome than we’d feared. I visited Friday the pond Friday morning.
We’ll never know what happened to the missing chick. There are lots of threats, eagles, otters, coyotes if they get too close to shore and more. The intruding loon is also a likely suspect.
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Sunday morning was a beautiful time to pay a visit to the Eastons – the loons in the eastern most pond I visit regularly. The chicks were four weeks old this weekend. Both seem to be doing well.
Our bluebirds have four chicks in their second brood, they should fledge this week. There are at least three chicks from the first brood still around. The like to hunt from the roof of the house, they come and go past my office window regularly.
The loons had another visitor before dawn.
Our loon chicks were two and three weeks old this past weekend. I got out to visit the Eastons and the Westons (the families at the east and west ends of my travels) this week.
This coming Saturday, July 16. Loon conservation organizations ask for volunteers to count loons on their ponds and report how many there are. The Loon Preservation Committee for New Hampshire info is here. For Vermont, see the Vermont Center for Ecostudies info here. For the Adirondacks, the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation info is here. For other states, a quick web search for ‘loon census 2022’ should find the info.
The League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s Fair is coming up August 6-14 in Sunapee. I’ll be there with lots of prints and note cards. Lots of loon images, many more critters, landscapes and some of my steam locomotive photos. Stop by and say hello.
Thursday morning, I headed east. Our loon family had a quiet morning.
Saturday took me to the pond on the west end of my range. The two chicks there were two weeks old this weekend and seem to be doing well. This pond has had at least one intruder most every day I’ve visited. The morning started off quietly, with the parents foraging for the chicks. Just as the sun was clearing the hills, an intruder flew in.
Sunday found me back on the east end. The morning started out foggy, with our family lazily foraging, snoozing and slowly swimming around one of the coves on the pond.