And then there was one…

Our Loons Suffer a Loss

Oh these Loons. They can bring you joy and sadness. Friday and Saturday we followed our Loon chicks watching them ride, swim and be fed by their parents.

Saturday, in the late afternoon sun, both chicks were being brought food while resting under a wing. It seemed serenity had returned to Pleasant Lake.

Early Sunday morning, there was only one chick present! It wasn’t clear if the other one was under a wing.

Not long after that an intruder (left in the photo below) showed up and our pair spent an hour engaged in several prolonged encounters with lots of calling, diving and long chases.

During the fighting, a single chick was present near a dock on shore. The fighting never came close to where the chick was. I explored the shoreline during and after the fighting looking for the second chick but found none. That evening, we found the pair, but they still had only one chick. It seems most likely that the second chick, Patience, was lost between Saturday evening and Sunday morning.

Monday morning Jen visited the Loons and all seemed calm. Prosper is now getting all the attention and food and we hope it will live up to its name under the watchful eyes of its parents.

It is not unusual for Loons to produce two chicks and have only one survive. Snapping turtles, large fish, Eagles and Otters are all potential predators and even intense sibling competition can result in a chick being driven off. Our pair has been here before. We’ll take a deep breath and hope the rest of the summer goes well.

The flowers, native Blueflag Iris (Iris versicolor) at the start, and Sheep Laurel (Kalmia anguvstifolia) above, are residents of Turtle Cove. We include them in memory of little Patience.

To be continued… Jon and Jen

Text and Photographs by Jen Esten and Jon Waage

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