Photographs by Frank

8 May 2021

The Loons Return for 2021

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Spring,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 11:15 AM

Stalwart readers will remember that 2020 was a year to be remembered in Gregg Lake loon-dom… we had the first loon chicks hatched and fledged in living memory.

The loons (presumably the same pair as last year) are back again this year!

On the first of April this year (2021), Joan observed a single loon on the lake during an early kayak excursion. A week later (8 April) she observed a pair of loons. About a week ago (on 2 May) we had the first report of nest building behavior and a day or two later we observed this ourselves.

Late yesterday afternoon, I packed up my camera gear into the truck and made the mile drive down to the bridge to see what was up. I spent a couple of hours observing the loons. Or, more precisely I spent about forty five minutes waiting for the loons to make an appearance and a bit more than an hour watching the loons. The weather was cool (upper forties) and there was a bit of a breeze. Thus the black flies were not an issue and I never donned the bug jacket I brought along.

I first spotted the pair swimming together on the main part of the lake. They dove in unison, swam under the bridge and headed for the far ‘shore’ where they nested last year. They spent a short time adding nest material to the site they used last year and one of the birds climbed up to try out the result. The pair then explored two other sites nearby. At one of these sites they began to make another nest and, again, one of the birds climbed up to test things out.

Eventually one of the birds headed back to the main part of the lake. The second individual spent a few more minutes working on the nest before it headed off for the main part of the lake as well.

Twice, while the loons were hanging out near the nascent nest site(s), I observed a behavior that I had not witnessed before. One of the birds appeared to jump out of the water and pounce on something. The water by the nest sites is much too shallow for a loon to dive. Thus, I wonder if it was pouncing in attempt to catch prey, much like a fox or similar animal does when hunting rodents in a grassy field. I captured this behavior in two photos made a fraction of a second apart.

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The Pair
The Pair
Nest Building #1
Nest Building #1
Nest Building #2
Nest Building #2
Testing It Out
Testing It Out
More Nest Building
More Nest Building
"Pouncing" Behavior #1
"Pouncing" Behavior #2
Stretching One's Wings
Stretching One's Wings

1 Comment

  1. Interesting behavior from the loon – I’m sure someone in your circle of outdoor people will know what it was doing for sure. Looking forward to seeing more of these birds and their chicks.

    Comment by Joe Kennedy — 8 May 2021 @ 1:29 PM

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