Thursday, June 25, 2009

Nesting Loons

One of the things I've always wanted to witness was a nesting Loon.

It's difficult for 2 reasons: 1. They're hard to find and 2. You have to be extremely careful and keep your distance, if you get too close and disturb them, they will abandon the nest.

These are my Bradford Lake Loons. This nesting raft was made by my fellow friends and Loon Rangers to help them successfully nest after previous nest failures. I believe this will be the 9th year this pair has successfully had babies. The loon chicks will be hatching this weekend but unfortunately I won't be there to witness the event as I have to go home and pick up my new puppy. Alas, there's always next year.

I used a combination of Lenses. I really need to get a tripod for my Sigma!


Here's mama Loon sitting on the eggs while daddy fishes. Later on in the day, they will switch spots so mama Loon can get her fishing time in!





She's constantly on guard for predators - always looking around her nest.





She likes to keep her nest nice and will tidy up while she's sitting on her eggs.





She keeps her mouth open to help keep her cool while she's sitting on the nest. Loons typically lay two eggs. Here's hoping both babies hatch!

46 comments:

Andy Wilson said...

Great photos of the loon. You are fortunate to get so close.

Mildred said...

Amazing photos and I learned a lot about the loons behavior today. Thanks Shelley.

Richard said...

Absolutely great photos. They should be around the nest for a while after hatching. Hopefully you will get to see the babies.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Amazing,prize winning pictures.Too bad you will have to miss the hatch.
Blessings,Ruth

Leedra said...

This is so great. I had been wondering when we were going to get to see some loon pics. Glad you explained the open mouth, didn't know that. Don't know much about loons, just what you have taught me. And I was late in listening last year.

holdingmoments said...

Great pictures Shelley, and a beautiful bird.
A shame you won't see the youngsters hatch this weekend; I'm sure you'll catch the event another time.

Good luck with the puppy; another special event.

Cindy said...

She's so beautiful. What's it like to hear them wail? I've heard recordings, but I'm sure it's nothing like hearing them in person.

Fantastic photos. Thanks for sharing them.

Cindy

itsJUSTme-wendy said...

Now they are really award winning shots! Have you ever entered in photo contests? There are lots of them on the internet.

Tina said...

Wonderful photos, Shelley! You are really lucky to get such great shots of her. I ,too, wish you could be there for the hatching of her young.
You've waited so long...but how neat to be picking up your puppy this weekend! I bet you are excited about that!!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

That's almost as exciting as Scout, isn't it Shell????? What great pictures. How close were you??? Were you in your boat or onshore?????

All I can say is WOW... Keep us posted.
Hugs,
Betsy

Dorothy said...

Shelley, these are great shots!!! I really like the pattern of their feathers!

The Retired One said...

She is so beautiful...and the shots you got are crystal clear.
Sorry you will miss the hatching, but Scout will be forever grateful!

This DVM's Wife's Life said...

Shelly, Those are awesome pictures! Which Sigma lens do you have?

Rural Rambler said...

Beautiful pictures and a great learning experience for me. How great is it that friends and Loon Rangers made the nesting raft and then this pair is in their 9th year with babies?

Sorry about missing the chicks hatching. But you have to feel good about helping it happen!

jalynn01 said...

Oh what great pictures! Mama Loon is a beauty. Her head looks like velvet to me and the eye is stunning. I know you will get the babies after they are hatched. Can't wait for that post.

Beautiful Creation said...

Amazing photos! I really like loons, but have yet to see one in person. Thanks for sharing your experience with them.

Elaine said...

Wonderful photos and interesting post! How exciting to watch them nesting. I hope you'll be able to get some shots of the babies. Thanks for sharing this.

Cathy Clementz said...

The shots are awesome! The feathers are so smooth.

Can't wait to hear about the puppy but do hope you get some baby loon shots!

HANNIBAL said...

Your best pictures yet of the loons, and bonus, a nesting shot! Can't wait to see the babies, and sorry you will be gone for the hatching event, but new puppy? Very exciting as well...Will need pix of your lil addition too!

troutbirder said...

What an intrepid photographer. These are really special pictures. I miss the loons of our canoe country. Especially at dusk in my tent.

Ginnymo said...

Beautiful photos Shelly!!! So clear!! Hope you do see babies soon..Awesome!!

NCmountainwoman said...

Great photographs of the nesting Loon. I'm so glad we have you there to watch them for us.

Daisy said...

Fantastic pictures, Shelley! With the beak open like that, she looks like she is laughing or talking or something. Cool stuff! Thanks for sharing these. :) Have a great weekend!

Montanagirl said...

Oh Shelley, this is a wonderful series of photos. You're so lucky to be able to see Loons.

Heather said...

How wonderful it is that you get to observe this. And also how wonderful that the Loon Rangers have banded together to make a special nesting place for these birds. It seems to be working very well for them. My hats off to the Loon Rangers.

Amy said...

You lucky duck!!!My favorite bird, loved this post!!great pix, can't wait to see more updates on the Lifestyles of the Loons!!!!!

Deborah Godin said...

Those nesting rafts seem like such a great idea. Depending on their placement, they must eliminate several land-based nest predators.

Coralie Cederna Johnson said...

Oh how I love the loons. Growing up we had them at our cottage on Hagerman Lake in the U.P. Their haunting calls are with me still. These are awesome photos!

(Yippee, new puppy is coming to your house!)

(Come sign up for my giveaway when you have a moment!)

Adrienne in Ohio said...

Amazing shots, Shelley. I love that last one!

Jenny said...

Fabulous shot Shelley. You must have been chuffed to get so close (but not too close)! (-:

Kelly said...

Shelley....these are absolutely gorgeous. Totally melts me heart seeing her on the nest. I wish you could see them hatch out too....

dAwN said...

Gorgeous photos.Shelley..I was wondering why you had so many shots of the bill open!
Thanks for explaining that.

fishing guy said...

Shelly: Spectacular photos, I would just like to see one in person. Those red eyes are really a show in itself.

Chris said...

Fantastic observations Shelley. Let's hope it is gonna be successful. I've tried to find nest here but no chance. They are hiding very well in middle of lakes!
Your pictures are beautiful!

Rambling Woods said...

I really enjoyed seeing these photos of the loons. I like that you are an ethical photographer. Some people don't care how they get a photo...

Matt Latham said...

Brilliant stuff - those birds are just awesome looking.

Rene said...

She's a beautiful bird Shelly. How long have you been birding?

JRandSue said...

Shelley your Loon Images are just fantastic, outstanding capture.
Top notch,well done.
John.

Mohammed said...

lovely picture, i wish i could experiance all those moment in real. here it is 45 degrees, with a C infront of it and not F :) makes it difficult for our friends to be around us

Ms. ~K said...

What an interesting post...and the photos are amazing...I feel as if I can reach out and touch!
~Kit

Jain said...

I just discovered your blog and consider my timing superb! Beautiful shots! I'm off to explore your archives now....
Jain

Mary said...

They are so beautiful! Too bad you have to miss the babies. How nice of your friends to provide a nesting place for them.

Bird Girl said...

Oh my gosh, Shelley! These are fantastic!!! Something tells me this is the year you will have little loons riding piggy back! I can't wait!!! WOW!!! Congratulations on these gorgeous pictures!

Knatolee said...

Magnificent photos, Shelley. Truly!

Willard said...

Superb! I can see why you like loons so much, they are fascinating birds.

Jayne said...

Oh, these are so wonderful Shelley!

*For some reason, you fell off my RSS feed for a week or so, and I've missed your posts. Glad I realized I had not had a loon fix in a while!