Fall, Glorious Fall-part two-getting Loony out here!
A few days ago I woke up early, (the cats who wanted nothing more than a treat soon retreated back to the bed after getting their early morning crunchie snack to keep Mike company;) ha!) to some serious fog. I couldn’t see past the deck at first but then the clouds slowly started to lift. I grabbed my camera, canoe seat ( the padded one is SO nice!) and headed down to the water.
I have wanted to paddle around in the fog for awhile, trying to capture the sun breaking through, how it mysteriously shrouds the trees and water slowly giving way to the rising sun. As I pushed off I couldn’t see much further than the front of the canoe. An eerie feeling but hard to get lost on this lake!
I made my way along the South side of the lake, slowly paddling among lily pads, it was SO still, not a breathe of wind. I went and checked out Gustav the beaver’s house, no one apparently home, or he was ignoring me as usual, so drifted back across the bay as the sun was doing it’s best to push away the fog. And as I looked across the bay up popped baby Loon with a minnow in his bill! Good job!
Talk about a bonus to a spectacular morning! So I sat and watched. I only paddled occasionally to keep the sun at my back and the Loon between us. Mother/Father appeared, although I’m leaning towards father after reading a survey of Wisconsin and Minnesota Loons that are tagged and have been watched for decades! Mothers leave first there, Fathers follow once baby Loon is deemed to be able to take care of him/herself! This one is a beggar as well. Poking and prodding, Dad! I’m so hungry-poke some more-it has it’s desired effect when once again the adult dives down to look for a minnow.
The parent dove and looked, sometimes coming up empty handed, most of the time with a small minnow in his mouth for junior. When he came up empty handed junior would poke some more, sometimes pulling out a small feather! Once he came up with a minnow and some nice lake salad, a well rounded meal! Keep that kid healthy, he may make it to 35, so far the oldest banded Loon, a female, they know of! Wow!
What a delightful nature show! The colours on the adult are starting to change. Only a faint blue/green band around his neck glimmering in the sun and under his beak is turning white. What a spectacular pair of birds. I was hoping for a nice wing flap or stretch but it was fish, fish fish! Such affection between the two as well, and the noises! Another lake dweller called them wheezes which is good explanation of the sound. It sounds like a cross between a wheeze and a squeak every time Dad resurfaced. So soft yet such a subtle communication between the two. As the sun lifted I decided to leave them to their fishing. They had been so quiet. The parent never made a sign he was worried or threatened, he never moved off. Baby once popped up a few feet in front of the canoe and quickly swam to the parent but not in a worried manner. It is amazing how much you can see if you sit quietly and watch:)
The LoonProject.org website is definitely an interesting read if you’d like to learn more about these stunning birds. They now have decades worth of research on just about all you would like to know about them, from territory selection, fights to the death, breeding ages, when and where they return to…so many fascinating facts! I will miss that wail come Winter, it is the definitive eerie sound of the North. Sadly, as with many studies they are learning the population is in decline. Part of their research is focusing in on the changes happening in the populations. Think about donating if you want to help!
Hope you enjoyed my morning with the Loons-Stay tuned for the rest of the feathery adventures around the place soon! Saludos amigos!