Thursday, August 25, 2011

Two Weeks Later

It'd been two weeks since I last visited "Loon Lake". At that time we didn't have any idea when the chicks would hatch. All I knew was that as soon as they did I was going to get back up there. I'd seen many pictures of loon chicks riding the back of their parents and I wanted to see that myself. Travis would keep a vigilant eye on the nesting adults by visiting the lake every day.

As the days rolled by Travis started talking like an expectant father worrying about his little clutch of chicks. We knew that the eggs hatch after a 26-31 day incubation period but we had no idea when that incubation period started. We also knew that this was really late in the hatching window and maybe the loons first clutch was unsuccessful.

I had predicted, this isn't one of my more accurate skills, that the chicks would wait two weeks and hatch just before I was planning to return. Well sometimes you just get lucky and this time it was great luck for me.

On Thur July 14 I got a message from Travis that a chick had hatched. It didn't take but a few hours for the second chick to hatch and out into the water they went abandoning their nest. Finally we have babies and the excitement that had been simmering the previous few weeks started boiling. It was perfect for me.

Over the course of the next few days we spent many hours in our kayaks on the lake. "Loon Lake", actually the real name is North Lake, is a small lake surrounded by bog that has just one good area to enter with kayaks. Beavers occupy the lake and have built a dam that increases its size. We were quite aware that our presence on the lake might stress the Loons, so much of the time on the lake was spent exploring the shoreline. Heck it was just fun finding a few dead trees to hold on to and just sitting there enjoying nature.

One thing I noticed right away from my previous trip. During that first trip aLoon was sitting on the nest under a hot sun panting all of the time. We were sitting across a little channel in the shade with our drinks and snacks listening to Thule snap at flies and mosquitoes (we had insect repellent on so weren't being bothered). But this week we were out on the water in our kayaks under the hit sun trying to stay cool. Meanwhile the Loons were on, and under, the water living in their element. Quite a contrast it was.

I finally got to see loon babies riding on the back of their parent. Watching them for hours and hours gives one a little peek into their lives. The plan for me is to return every two weeks and watch them grow into adulthood. So back again in two weeks I will come.