Friday, August 12, 2011

Cottage Surprises

August 6/7, 2011

As we would not be visiting the cottage for quite some time, an August loon count was needed.

This time, there were no more pairs, but at least there were seven teenagers, as we call them, loafing and fishing in the middle of the lake. 

We found the first pair  at the end on the Reserve.  The male put on quite a distracting show, dashing back and forth, and even doing the penguin display. 
But we could not find the female or the baby!   Eventually we spotted them on the other side of the bay - mother and baby doing well.  We went into Deep Bay to have our lunch, and Barbara spotted a hawk that we flushed.  We could hear it calling, but did not see it again.

Next we visited Seagull Rock, and to our amazement, saw the adult slip off the nest.  It had been weeks, so we thought perhaps the egg was not viable.  But on close look at the photos, I believe that one can see the baby poking it's way out of the nest right at the moment of our visit!
We quickly went on to discover the last pair with twins doing well at Pike Bay.

We were thinking about that hatchling, so decided that a return visit on Sunday was called for.  Sure enough, the broken egg was all that remained at Seagull Rock. 
But where was the family?  We spotted a pair quite far off in the middle of the lake.  This is surprising behaviour for a pair with a newborn.  We looked and looked with our binoculars, but could not be sure if those bumps on the back of the adults were chicks or not.  When we got close, there was no sign of young.  But loon parents are very adept at hiding their babies.  Another Common Loon showed up, the one in juvenal plumage that we had seen weeks earlier - another surprise.
After a while, we realized that there would be no newborn sightings, so we decided to go into Deep Bay to check on the hawk.  I was sceptical, but it was there!  This time it reappeared circling overhead and was even joined by a second one.  After looking at the photos and listening to the calls, we concluded that it was a Red-shouldered Hawk.

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