Loon Chicks Now Nine Weeks Old

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to say hello at the League of NH Craftsmen Fair. Nice to know there are actually people out there looking at my blog. My next show will be the Fall Crafts at Lyndhurst in Tarrytown, NY September 8, 9 & 10.

The weather and my travels have kept me from checking in on the loons since July 24 when I found the Eastons fighting with a pair of intruders challenging them for the pond. Sunday morning dawned without rain and only a light breeze. I headed back to check on the Eastons.

There was a loon wailing when I put the boat in. I had to paddle down most of the pond before I found the first loons. Mom was feeding one chick. This is the pond where dad is banded, letting me tell who is who. I checked the pond with the binoculars, no sign of any more loons. I settled in to watch.
Our osprey showed up to hunt for breakfast. He? circled low over head for several minutes before diving and coming up empty. While I was watching the osprey, dad and the second chick snuck up on me and joined mom.
Shortly afterwards, the adults gave sharp calls and the chicks flattened out on the water as an intruder arrived. The three adults circled briefly before things escalated quickly to a wing rowing chase. One loon repeated displayed the penguin dance. I lost track of the third loon. Our pair formed up and swam south.

Sometime later, they headed back north and rounded a corner out of sight. A loon flying south appeared and circled to gain height to clear the hills as it departed. Mom took off and followed a few moments later.

Dad gathered the chicks and headed back south, foraging along the way. One chick was almost exclusively feeding itself while the second was putting dad to work.
Adolescent loons will crowd their parents and nibble on them to let them know their hungry. Which seems to be almost all the time they’re not sleeping.
This chick is trying to explain to dad the the horrors of not having been fed for the better part of a minute and urging dad to action.
Dad didn’t get the hint, our chick grabbed a few feathers and pinched him. Dad finally caught on and dove.
Dad came up empty, the chick returned to explain his plight. Dad’s luck improved and he was able to deliver several fish and crayfish to the chick.
Our osprey reappeared and circled the overhead for a few moments before settling in a tree to watch for breakfast opportunities.
Our chick took a break from the buffet to stretch.
You can see the flight feathers growing in on the underside the chick’s wings.
Dad popped up right next to the boat with a tasty crayfish.
Our chick made quick work of the crayfish.
Still hungry, the chick grabbed a bunch of dad’s feathers to signal he’s ready for the next course.

Our osprey made another dive that missed and circled a few times before heading off to the north.
Our chick took a moment to preen and then went up for a stretch. He spun something like 560 degrees while stretching. I have no idea why, but he looked like he was having fun.
He’s up and starting his stretch and spin.
Spinning to the right…..
180 degrees……
Coming around to 270 degrees…..
And around again…
One last shake and time to get back to breakfast.
Dad took a moment to stretch.
Our chicks faced off momentarily, it appeared they were working out the pecking order.
Just a little pushing and shoving to figure out who’s the boss.
The chick that looked to have come out on top of the skirmish finished with a stretch.

It was time for me to head out and I started paddling towards the boat launch.

I caught up with the osprey making yet another try for breakfast.

A friend on the Middleton’s pond tells me they’ve had intruders regularly over the past few weeks. I’m watching the weather and will get out to check on them and the Westons as soon as I can.

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  1. Reply
    Ruth Stewart August 22, 2023

    WHAT A FANTASTIC SHOT of the diving Osprey!!! – to say nothing of the entire photojournal post.


  2. Reply
    ROY PILCHER August 22, 2023

    Fantastic photography as usual!
    I was particularly interested in the “head-on” osprey image showing the forward looking spread of the eyes, thus providing precise triangulation of intended prey.
    Also, relative position of osprey’s talons and eyes when in a dive.
    Cheers, rwp84

  3. Reply
    Pete Pappas August 23, 2023

    Great pics. Amazing view of that osprey in a dive.Thanks much

  4. Reply
    Rita Pitkin August 23, 2023

    Awesome captures. The first time I saw a juvenile loon I thought to my self: wow, that loon is really sick looking! Been a long time since then.

  5. Reply
    Gail Richards August 24, 2023

    What a wonderful photographic record of the loon family’s interactions on a sunny morning at the pond. I love the close-up view you bring to us of all the activity at the pond. Your willingness to get out in your boat at the crack of dawn with the cold air and the biting insects is much appreciated by a bug averse individual like me. These photos and your entertaining captions would make a lovely book about loons.

    • Ian Clark headshot
      Ian Clark August 24, 2023

      Thanks! I think I’m close to having enough for a book. Need to find the time to sit down and put it together. Then I can spend a decade looking for a publisher…..

  6. Reply
    Karin Bonnett August 25, 2023

    Wonderful images. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Reply
    Tala Lindaro August 25, 2023

    I felt like I was right there with you…. thank you so much!!!

  8. Reply
    Lawrence Lowndes August 25, 2023

    Beautiful way to start my day. Thanks!

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