♪♫♪ The heat is on ♫♪♫
It has been a scorching week, temperature records have been broken. It has been a time to move slowly, and look for shade. A Common Loon father was feeling the heat as well, but not from temperatures but from a pair of Bald Eagles. It was the screeching from the father Loon that got me running outside with the camera and down to the water. Holy smokes he can yell! This wasn’t the normal hoot, or the haunting wail Loons are so famous for to find each other and announce their presence, this was a screaming yodel/yell!
I have read Loons have four main calls which they use to communicate with their families and other loons. Each call they said has a distinct meaning and serves a unique function. The wail, a haunting call you often hear at night. The hoot, which serves as communication between paired adults and chicks. The “Yodel” which only the males do when they feel threatened, and the tremolo, which is also a response to threats. Our Father Loon was yodel/temolo-ing! https://loon.org/the-call-of-the-loon/
Father Loon had junior under his wing at one point hiding him. Only after the eagle had flown away he let the youngster off his back to practice a few dives! What a spectacle to watch, we canoed out to look at the eagle and later circled around, keeping a good distance from the father and chick to see if they were alright. 150-600 mm in a moving canoe with vertigo is hell, but I wouldn’t have missed this for the world:) Babies on Loon backs:) Thanks to Mike for roaring me around!
The two eagles had also been calling to each other. I wondered if they were a pair. The head wasn’t completely white on the one in the pine so maybe one was a juvenile. I had no idea they snacked on Loon chicks…:( Thus Father Loons wild response. We paddled over to the white Pine where the Bald Eagle was perched, near the top. He/she preened and did some stretching before flying off in the direction where the other eagle had gone.
It was our first paddle about the shallow lagoon across from the house. The vertigo has kept me a bit wary of the rocking canoe and to admit I wasn’t very comfortable out there but it was so lovely! Not too windy and all those water lillies, sandy bottom, no wonder the fishing guys are always over there! And the Loon!
I could have watched for hours but we wanted to give father some space to see if Mama Loon was going to reappear. The sun came out and it was gorgeous! The day before I had seen a commotion of flapping and bathing so had grabbed the camera and hot footed it down to the dock. The entire family swam by, fishing, preening, keeping an eye on the two kids…magical!
I sat on the edge of the dock, with my friend the dock spider, Mike and his friend Dave (who is NOT a spider fan) and we stared until they had swum off too far for my lens. These are such spectacular birds. They are neither duck, nor geese but their own species. Gavia immer ORDER: Gaviiformes FAMILY: Gaviidae. They are awkward on land. I’ve seen a juvenile try to walk from one spot in the Estero lagoon in Baja to another and it looked like a series of belly flops across the sand. They are also need quite the landing/take off strip like a plane! Over 30 meters to a quarter of a mile to get airborne so they don’t often land on small lakes or ponds, if they do, they can get stranded. The amazing creatures we share this planet with!
I have read that loons have successfully warded off eagles, one even killed one by piercing it with it’s dagger like beak. The rapier vs the broad sword. That would be quite a fight. I’m just hoping in the next few days we see Mother, with the other baby:) Fingers crossed for a happy ending. These birds are long lived and return to the same territories to breed. One female was tagged, and re-caught, she was 29 years old. Most of the juveniles don’t return North until they are three, and don’t start breeding until they are 6. Such a long life span for this world traveler:) For now, I’ll sit my friend the dock spider and keep watch:)
Saludos amigos-be smart-be careful-stay safe:)