As I did last year, I will be helping Biodiversities Research Institute (http://www.briloon.org) monitor the common loon population at Quabbin. We conduct weekly surveys to keep track of the local loon population. From time to time I will stick a few updated photos here.
This is a long distance photo but I took it today on 4/19/15. The loons are back and the numbers should be building over the next month. Surveys will start on early May.
Here is a heavily cropped photo of a common loon landing in the early morning and you can see her bands on her legs. These will be used to tell where this bird came from and where it has been and lots of territorial info about this bird. 4/23/15
This is the flying loon in the last photo. She was working the shore today when I stumbled upon her fishing. We checked the band data base and it tells us she and her mate raised a chick in Moore Island / Snell Island territory last year. 4/24/15
Here is the same female taken at the same location as the landing shot, only a month later. You can also see the white feathers in the face around the beak. 5/13/15
I took this early this morning as a pair of loons worked their way up a channel along side some green conifer trees, thus the green reflection in the water. Not a photo you will see to often! 5/4/15
Loons eat fish but once in a while they will grab something off the bottom that looks good. I watched this one eat 2 or 3 crayfish for breakfast,,,5/4/15
Most loons beaks are black but some will vary in color. 5/14/15
These loons were actively fishing and took a break to move along. The female is on the right. 5/14/15
I went in on foot looking for them and found them in a small cove. The female is in the back. Maybe looking for a place to nest or just puttering about on a sunny spring day. 5/18/15
Quabbin loon in the early morning sunlight. 5/21/15
A beautiful male loon in the early morning Quabbin sunshine. Taken from over 100 yards away and cropped with 1.3X in the camera, Then cropped again in Lightroom 5. Its important to stay away from these guys as far as possible. 6/3/15
A female loon defends her territory against another loon intruding in the early morning fog on the Quabbin Reservoir. These birds are great to have on the Quabbin but are still considered "endangered" in Massachusetts by Masswildlife. This was taken from about 100 yards away also. 6/3/15
This little puff of coal is a day old common loon chick taken on July 2nd, 2015 in the west branch of Fever brook cove.
This is the same chick with both parents. Quabbin Reservoir, 7/2/15
Loons love a good stretch of the wings and a good wing flap after a dive or preening. Quabbin Reservoir, 7/2/15
Because loons legs are far back on their body, they can not walk. They pull themselves out of the water and just pull brush and moss around them to make a bowl for a nest. Quabbin Reservoir, 7/2/15
A loon preens in the summer sun at Quabbin, 6/26/15
Common loons usually end preening sessions with a stretch and and a flap of the wings that can be seen for quite a ways on the water. 6/26/16
A group of common loons are just having a good chat together at Quabbin. 6/26/15
A pair of loons floating about Quabbin. You can see the leg band identification on the right hand side of the photo on the rear leg. You gotta love loons ! 6/26/15
A pair of common loons with their chick that are about 3 weeks old. July is chick time for both loons and eagles at Quabbin. 7/21/15
A day old loon chick hooks a warm ride with dad under his wing. They will do this for 2 weeks or so after hatching. 7/29/15
Common loons need a long way to take off from the surface of the water. Here is a loon getting up speed to take off. You can see the research bands on this legs of this bird.... 7/6/16
Down the hatch !! well, maybe. We saw this female loon struggling with a sunfish this morning at Quabbin. When we left her she was still working on the fish. When we returned to the area 3 hours later she was still there but the fish was gone. This was taken with a Nikon D810 and a Nikon 200-500mm lens.
Young loons stretching their muscles. They will do this all of their lives. These two are 4 weeks old. 7/29/15
Just like the young ones. This also helps them realign their feathers after preening and diving. 7/29/15
A flying loon at the Quabbin Reservoir. Note the research bands on this birds legs. 7/14/16
A female loon takes off. It takes a loon about 50 yards to get airborne. Here this female heads back to the male with the two chicks back in their territory at Quabbin. Notice the colored bands on her legs used by researchers for identification. 8/12/15
A common loon and her chick eating breakfast at Quabbin. This chick in 9 weeks old. 9/28/15
Here is the female loon and mother of the chick in the last photo driving an immature loon who dropped in for a visit away from her chick. These encounters can some times be intense with injures to either birds. 9/28/15
The female loon here is puffing itself up to look larger and chasing the young loon away. The young loon can't get away fast enough!! 9/28/15
A juvenile loon bobs about on the windy Quabbin Reservoir on October 1st. This bird is probably a year old. It was once thought that young loons spent the first 2 years at sea. New research shows that some don't. Some come back inland after 6 or 8 months at sea.
Here's the loon I was watching when the bear in the previous photo popped out of the woods. This is also the same loon thats further on in these pictures. When loons are actively feeding they will swim between dives with their beaks partially open. 11/10/15
While watching loons this morning at Quabbin I saw this loon try to drop by for a visit with an adult that had her chick with her... as you can see it wasn't a good idea!! This is the quick getaway from the visitor. Loons will wing their way across the water instead of flying when it comes to a quick getaways.... Quabbin Reservoir 11/16/15
A 6 month old loon chick testing the wings before the ice forms on the Quabbin for the winter. 11/29/15
A 6 month old loon races away from its mother with about a 6 inch yellow perch. Loons seem to catch lots of yellow perch at Quabbin. 12/4/15
This chick was born on July 29th, 2015 and is still hanging about its parents territory where it was raised. The parents have left for the coast. This chick will be gone itself any day now..... 12/31/15
The loons have all left the Quabbin for the winter. The chicks are the last to leave and they leave a few days before the ice sets in. The adults will return in early April for the summer of 2016 breeding season. 2015 was a record season for successful chicks being fledged.
An adult loon at Quabbin cruising along on a calm summers day. Did I mention I love these birds ! 7/8/16
A juvenile loon finishes off a preen at the Quabbin Reservoir with a good shake to get all the feathers realigned. 7/6/16
Its that time of year when the loons at Quabbin are starting to group up after nesting. These birds have either failed nesting , lost chicks to predation of just didnt nest. Its common to see groups of up to ten loons hanging out together. Taken on todays loon survey. 8/8/16
Here's a shot of a common loon taken today on the Quabbin Reservoir. Most shots I see are all side shots of loons. Here's one you don't see to often. 8/17/18
A pair of loons preening and shaking to straighten the feathers back aligned where they should be. They are in their winter plumage right now and will soon be heading out to the coast for the winter. 11/15/16
It wont be long before the common loons all head for the coast for the winter. There are still some hanging in there at Quabbin. Note the beautiful black and white checkered breeding plumage has all disappeared until spring. 11/27/16
I spent 3 hours this morning watching 5 loons interact with each other. I was very comical and they were very vocal. He's one at the end of a preening session. In a month they will be heading to the coast for the winter. Notice their breeding plumage has disappeared for the winter. 11/3/16
Loons will be on the Quabbin until late December. I watched a group of 9 this morning. Now they have lost their bright breeding plumage and are a dull brown and white. I guess this loon didnt know Quabbin is closed for fishing now until next April. 10/26/16
The second week of loon surveys found these three loons just hanging out and fishing together on a warm, calm, late spring afternoon. I love these birds!
Another pair of common loons fishing on another part of Quabbin and the female struck it rich! A beautiful rainbow trout that went down the hatch all at once !
I met a couple old friends this morning. These are two of the loons that are mated in the north part of the Quabbin back on their territory again after a few years on the same place. I was able to see their ID bands on their legs for certain confirmation. Spring is really here ! 4/19/17