Unexpected Action on the Middleton’s Pond

The forecast for this morning called for rain. I happily planned to sleep in. Owing two huskies often thwarts such plans. When I let them out, there were stars to be seen. There was a thick fog over the Connecticut River, but clear skies above. The Middleton’s – the loons that live on the pond between the other two ponds – pond is a few hundred feet above the Connecticut. Hoping for some mood shots, I packed up and headed out.

The pond had a moderate fog and flat water. I had guessed correctly.
There was no shortage of Canada geese on the pond. I noticed nine nests while I was exploring.

It didn’t take long to find the loons, they were in one of their favorite coves. And sleeping in.
And they continued to sleep in….
After a time, they began to stir. They both did a very quick preen and stretched their legs.
Before giving a good wing stretch to get things going.
Loons on this pond have often nested in this cove. Two years ago, they relocated the nest. This morning, they took a quick tour around the old nest site, poking into the brush and hooting to each other.

When loons are courting, they’ll swim quickly along side each other, softly hooting to each other, and they’ll make synchronized dives. This morning, our pair made a quick courting display before heading off to breakfast.

With the loons off having breakfast, I spent some time exploring the marsh. Warblers are back, the pond was surrounded by yellow-rumped warblers and common yellowthroats. I saw a black & white warbler – briefly. And, the spider webs were covered in dew and standing out. Before I could concentrate on photographing warblers, bigger things were afoot.
A bald eagle that had been sitting out of my sight dove on the pond, coming up empty. I wasn’t quick enough to get the camera around for the dive. He? landed in a tree overlooking the pond and I settled in to wait for the next dive.
The osprey on the pond have returned to their nest and were not in the mood to welcome an eagle.
One of the osprey came in and dove at the sitting eagle.
The osprey came in close to the eagle. I’m glad I wasn’t on the business end of the talons.
The osprey pulled up and came around again.
The eagle was standing higher and calling louder this time. That didn’t discourage the osprey.
The osprey made five dives at the eagle. The eagle held his ground. The osprey headed down the pond towards the nest.
Having proved he could hold his ground (hold his tree?), the eagle sat for a time before flying off to a new perch – out of sight of the osprey. He eventually came back, dove for a fish and missed. Settling in a new tree, the osprey started in on him again.

The loons would be rooting for the osprey. Osprey’s diet is almost exclusively fish, they leave the loons alone, while eagles are a very real threat to loon families.

My luck with the weather ran out. A few raindrops remined me that the huskies needed their morning run. I had the boat packed up and was pulling out of the parking spot when the rain hit. The huskies enjoyed romping in the mud when they got their run.

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  1. Reply
    Karan Cutler May 3, 2023

    Enjoyed this immensely.

  2. Reply
    Megan F May 3, 2023

    Thanks for sharing! This is very interesting.

  3. Reply
    Ler May 3, 2023

    Yikes, Ian. Those are amazing images. I didn’t know an osprey would go after an eagle. So glad you decided to paddle that morning. Thanks.

    • Ian Clark headshot
      Ian Clark May 3, 2023

      I was a bit surprised myself. I suspect having a nest close by gave the osprey some motivation.

  4. Reply
    Randall May 3, 2023

    Thank you!

  5. Reply
    Rita May 3, 2023

    Love your pictures. I once lived on a small beaver pond in northern Vermont. Loons first nested there. Spent all of my free time watching/studying them – some of the best days for me then. Thank you.

  6. Reply
    Linda Charron May 3, 2023

    Such great pictures! I really enjoy reading and seeing your blog! Love the Loons!

  7. Reply
    Priscilla Douglas May 3, 2023

    Fabulous!!! Thank you!

  8. Reply
    Gail Richards May 3, 2023

    Nine pairs of nesting geese, 1 pair of loons, and 1 pair of osprey on this one pond seems like a lot. Are these numbers similar to previous summers? Just curious.

    • Ian Clark headshot
      Ian Clark May 4, 2023

      This is normal. The pond has lots of marshy areas, perfect for geese. There are lots of geese around. They nest deep enough in the marsh so that most folks on the pond may not notice them. I suspect the osprey do a lot of their fishing on the Connecticut River, a short flight away.

  9. Reply
    Eileen Ferara May 3, 2023

    Wonderful action photos!

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