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The First Loon

first loonFriends, The loons returned to Crex in the last week in April and just as the last of the ice was melting.  The last of the ice is visible in the upper part of this image.  The male and female were cruising the icy edge searching for tidbits and tasty morsels embedded in nature’s deep freeze.  Soon they will start calling and doing their mating flights.  Spring has finally arrived.  til Tomorrow MJ


Summer revisited

Friends, this adult common loon is feeding her eight week old chick, up close and personal.  This image was taken in late summer and reminds me of the warm days of summer that are now gone for this year.  These birds are sitting very low in the water showing how they can raise and lower their bodies by inflating and deflating an airsac inside their body. The wings squeeze the air from the air sacs allowing the bird to dive or sink into the water.  They hunt their food under water and their body is streamlined for underwater life.  Feeding the young is a high priority for both adults and they often can raise two chicks each year on main dike in Crex Meadows.  til Tomorrow MJ


Friends, I took my husband to Crex to watch the loons feeding their babies, as we watched they swam very close to our vehicle.  After one of the dives, this adult bird surfaced within ten feet of me and i was able to shoot this shot.  The morning was cool and the water was like glass.  i couldn’t resist showing you one more loon in a little different pose, but the eye is still there.  Til Tomorrow MJ

Alarm Cry-Danger

Friends, this image is an example of the “decisive moment” in wildlife photography.  The adults are calling an alarm cry and the little chick in the front has dived under the water.  The dumb-struck chick eventually also dived.  After the two chicks had dove, the adults were swimming around with their heads under water and calling for them to come back.  They both re-emerged on the surface. Think the parents are teaching the chicks how to respond to danger, the first day, an osprey was hunting on the pond, so hope the chick learn their lessons well.  til Tomorrow MJ

Weekly Photo Challenge: Close

Friends, these loon chicks stick close to an adult bird for protection from osprey and snapping turtles.  They are also dependent on the adults for food. Both adult birds take turns babysitting and feeding the chicks and they grow very fast.  But for several weeks they ride piggy-back and enjoy the spring sunshine.  Good thing they are cute and cuddly, not hard to keep them close, til Tomorrow MJ

Chick Antics-Loon Style

Friends,these loon chicks are entertaining, the first four images show a chick trying to squeeze into a space between his sibling and the adult’s head, in the first image he is  jumping from the water, in the second image he is trying to fit in a small space, the third image shows him protesting loudly, and in the fourth image he has settled uncomfortably for his nap.  In the bottom image he abandons his napping spot to mount the other adult who happens to be swimming by. I got a few good chuckles, til Tomorrow MJ

Loon Family

Friends, this is a rare image of the whole loon family in one frame.  Usually the chicks are on the back of one parent while the other parent is off fishing, grooming or doing what single loons do.  This pair have very young chicks and are sticking together and both participating in feeding the chicks and spell each other with babysitting duties.  The dark head and red eye are difficult to expose properly and to get both head positions in the right plane takes a great deal of my patience :). But I was patient and after about 40 GB of images over six days, i finally got this image which captures the whole family with good eyes and on a sunny day.  Perseverance pays off. til Tomorrow MJ

Proud Parents

Friends, this proud parent (Common Loon) is stretching his wings while his 5 day old chicks swim around.  In the bottom image, you can see how fast the little ones mimic their parents.  The little chick is stretching his wings (?) .  I  have been camping out with the new parents and now today the chicks are 7 days old.  The parents have always used a deep water channel near a road and i guess they trust me, they seem to be content with me sitting in my car with my telephoto pointed in their direction.  I typically don’t leave the site until they have gone away so i don’t alarm them. Tomorrow back to work in the swamp, til Tomorrow MJ

Common Loon

Friends, this black bird is a Common Loon, but he is far from commonly found. He and she only nest on lakes with no acidity, wilderness birds that rely on clean water and fresh air.  They are difficult to photograph unless the light is directly on them, because their dominant color is black and a very dark green on their heads.  When they are diving for food, they sit very low in the water.  This one fishes in a channel where he passes very close to the road. We thank him for the wonderful image and move on, soon the loon couple will be carrying a chick on their backs as they swim the lake. til Tomorrow MJ

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