Thursday, September 27, 2012


Young Loon at Big Brook Bog

I love his eager eyes and what seems to be a faint smile on this young loon's face.  Born in mid-June, he has grown from a small, brown fluff of feathers riding on his mother's back to the adolescent we see in this late August photograph taken on Big Brook Bog in Pittsburg, New Hampshire.

On that morning, he shadowed one parent and then the other -- fishing, surveying the bog below the water's surface, diving, and finally flapping his wings in anticipation of flight.

Now, in late September, he's ready to fly from the small bog in the northern woods to the sea where he winters.

We have followed three young loons this summer, one on Hermit Lake and two in the far north of New Hampshire.  The three have survived predators -- bald eagles, snapping turtles, humans in boats, and human debris such as plastic bits, lead sinkers and fishing line.

They've built their strength on small fish and learned the tricks of their species from their parents.

We've watched the parent loons surround their babies when danger is near.  We've heard the warning calls from one parent to the other. We've seen the male loons fly close by the large raptors and people in kayaks.  They taunt and tease to bring the threat on to themselves, not their young.

Here is the reward of all that care.  The time will come through weather and instinct.  The three young loons will leave, alone, for new horizons and unfamiliar waters.  They face  enormous challenges -- survive the winter, find a mate, and return in spring to dance the dance and continue the cycle of life.  

There are lessons here, if we choose to watch and listen.  

Spring 2013 -- with a bit of luck