Saturday, June 29, 2013

Loon Yoga

Common Loon stretching his wings (c) John Ashley
An adult Common Loon leisurely stretches his wings on a lazy summer evening
Unfortunately, our Loons (Gavia gavia) have enjoyed a very leisurely summer here at the end of the road. No Loon chicks this year - they didn't even get a chance to lay eggs. After working on a new nest for a day or two this spring, a wind storm from the wrong direction raised waves that destroyed their nest, and this setback apparently caused them to give up on their only chance to breed this year. Loons will often re-nest if they loose their nest or even eggs early enough in the breeding season. But not this time.

Our prevailing wind almost always blows in from the west, and this Loon pair always nests on the eastern or upwind shore - the calmest part of the lake. That is also where the reed marsh is located, and reeds make good cover for a baby Loon, considering the hungry Bald Eagle pair that's raising two youngsters this summer in their massive stick nest that's down along the south shore, in a great big larch tree. One of the adult Eagles nabbed last year's Loon chick.

Normally it's a busy neighborhood by now, full of baby Loons and Eagles and ducks - but we don't mind these noisy neighbors at all. In fact, they're the reason that we moved here many years ago. But there's a few trees between us and the water, so trying to keep track of the neighbors out on the lake requires some bending and peering and stretching on our part, too.

Common Loon stretching (c) John Ashley
The same Loon as above stretches his neck