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.
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.
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.
The rain let up enough for me to get out to check on all three loon families this week. And, I only got caught in a shower once.
The League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s Fair is coming right up, August 5th through the 12th. I’ll be down there with lots of wildlife and other photos. Stop by booth 726 and say hello. All the details for the fair are here.
I visited the Middletons last night. They’re the ones that lost their chick. On the last visit, they showed signs they might be courting again. That was before the heavy rains and flooding. We were spared the worst of the flooding, but did get significant rain. A friend on the pond has kept me updated. She says the loons have had one or two intruders on the pond regularly. When I visited, the hummock where they’ve nested the last several years has been washed away, with no sign of another nesting spot. There was an intruder on the pond, with some circling and posturing but no outright fights.
This morning, the forecast was for rain and thundershowers. When I got up, there were stars visible. I headed out to check on the Westons. One of the adults and two chicks were foraging not far from the boat launch. The other adult soon came down the pond to join them. They were in shadows, I headed up the pond to see who else might be about. The rain held off until I got to the other end of the pond. I had a soggy retreat.
On Wednesday morning, the forecast was mixed and there were a couple stars between clouds when I got up. I took a chance and headed east to visit the Eastons.
Bad weather and too many chores kept me from checking on the loons for a time. When the weather cleared this week, I was quick to hit the water.
I’ll be down at the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s 90th annual Fair in Sunapee, NH, August 5th to the 13th. Stop by to have a look. All the Fair details here.
Let’s start with a few pix of the Eastons from the day after my last post. The chicks are two and three days old. This is the pair where dad is banded, allowing me to tell them apart – sometimes.
That evening, I made it over to check on the Middletons.
The next morning, I returned to visit the Eastons. They spent most of their morning feeding the chicks.
The morning of the sixth, I headed west to check on the Westons. Their pond has steep hills on both sides of the southern end of the pond. The family spent most of the morning foraging in deep shadows along the side of the pond. I headed out to see who else was about.
The usual suspects were out and about, kingbirds, red-winged blackbirds, lots of warblers seen not heard. But the best find was a trio of tree swallow fledglings and their parents feeding them.
The last three years, the Eastons have hatched their chicks the third Friday and Saturday of June. I’d visited last Friday without any sign of chicks. Monday’s forecast suggested a chance I’d not get rained on. I headed out to visit the Eastons in a thick fog.
The weather improved throughout the day, I went to visit the Middletons in the evening. Our off duty parent was preening for some time before giving a series of four stretches.
I’ll try to keep up with all three families through the summer. If you know someone who might be interested in following along, please share my blog with them.
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.
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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Today was another beautiful day to get out to check on the loons. I headed to the pond where the chicks had yet to hatch when I visited Friday. This is the westernmost pond that I’ve been watching, so these birds are the ‘Westons.’
There was a single loon floating by itself near the boat launch, and a long way from the nest. This is the pond that has had intruders challenging the home team for the territory this spring.
A ways down the pond, I found the home team lazily foraging with two chicks.
Our family drifted out towards the middle of the pond when things got exciting.