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.
This morning was a perfect morning to be a loon on an Upper Valley Pond. Well, I can’t know that for sure, but it was a great day to be a loon photographer… The family I visited – I’m going to call them the Eastons – had the chicks hatch Friday and Saturday a week ago.
I’m trying to follow three families again this summer. Last year, I kept trying to sort out which family we were looking at by the number of chicks. That’s not going to work this year, the first two families each hatched two chicks. (The third is due… yesterday.) So, This family, that had the two chicks last year is now the ‘Eastons.’ The second family in the last post is now the ‘Middletons.’ And the family still sitting is now the ‘Westons.’ (I’ve learned the hard way to be circumspect about where I’m working. I’m now getting something like 10,000 visitors a month and not all of them have the loons’ best interest at heart.
Let’s take a quick peek to see how the Westons are doing.
Moving east to this morning’s outing, one of the great blue herons on this pond usually gives me two nice photo ops a year. I think I collected one of them today.
Many of the birds around the marsh are nesting, there are lots of parents hauling groceries back their nests, others still sitting on their eggs. The Canada geese have mostly moved on, making the local ponds much quieter places. Let’s see who was out and about this past week.
And, of course, no visit to the pond is complete without a couple photos of the loon stretching.
Many of the loons around the area have laid their eggs and are sitting on their nests. I’ve been out on several ponds this last week, checking on them and in some cases, putting out the loon nesting signs. Let’s see what I saw along the way.
Just a reminder to let the loons be. You may have the best intentions, but the loons don’t know what you’re up to and approaching them may stress them. And, while it may be harmless for you to approach the nest to have a quick peek, remember you could be the 20th person getting close enough to stress the loons. All the photos of the loons on or near their nest were shot with a 800mm lens and cropped – I’m back well over 100′.
I hope to follow a couple of loon families for the rest of the summer again. Sign up for post updates to keep up with how they’re doing.
You can learn more about loons and conservation efforts on their behalf on the Loon Preservation Committee’s site, the Vermont Center for Ecostudies site or the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation site.
The four chicks that stayed in the box yesterday held out until after lunch today. Just before 1:00, three of the four departed one after the other. The fourth left within the hour. They’re hiding in the shrubs by the deck. In years past, the parents moved them off to the brush along the side of the yard within a few hours. We’ll likely see them foraging around the yard for much of the summer. If the parents try for a new brood, these chicks may help feed the next ones.
The first brave little chick left the nest box just before dawn this morning. By the time I realized it, the chick was hunkered down on the deck under the railing. It was easy to image it may have been wondering if it had made a mistake… The other chicks are busy looking out, but haven’t made the jump yet. Mom and dad are perched near the box calling to them. They’ve cut back on delivering food to the chicks still in the box to encourage them to get going.
We’re watching eastern bluebirds in a nest box that has a camera built in to let us watch without disturbing the birds.
We’re having a hot day, about 90°F, today. The chicks are taking turns looking out the window of their box. Mom and dad are perched nearby calling for the chicks to come out. They’re likely to wait until at least tomorrow (Monday May 23) before heading out, but we’re watching.
We’re watching eastern bluebirds in a nesting box with a camera built in to let us watch without disturbing the birds.
Today is day 15 for our bluebird chicks. They’re stretching their wings, jockeying for position in an ever tighter space and they’re beginning to peek out of the door of the box to see what’s in store for them. They could fledge as soon as Monday.
We’re watching eastern bluebirds in a nest box with a camera installed to let us watch without disturbing the birds.
Today is day 14 for our baby bluebirds. They’re active, fidgeting in the nest and testing their wings. Haven’t seen mom around the yard today, but dad has been working overtime hauling in groceries. The chicks are getting loud. Their box is mounted on the deck at the front of the house, they’re easily heard in my office at the back of the house.
A pair of tree swallows explored the second box on the deck, but a third swallow objected.
We’re watching eastern bluebirds in a box with a camera built in to let us watch without disturbing the birds.
The chicks have progressed to testing their wings. Things look like they’re getting cramped in the nesting box. The chicks should be with us until at least Monday.
We’re watching eastern bluebirds nesting in a box that has a camera installed to let us watch without disturbing the birds.