Sunday, July 13, 2014

July 13, 2014

Lake Wicwas' newest loon continues to grow under the attentive care of its parents.  There have been numerous sightings of the parents feeding it small minnows, and it has even started to dive on its own, though it surely isn't catching anything yet.  It will be several more weeks before it can secure its own food, though its days of free-rides on its parent's back are probably over.  Brian Matteson took a beautiful picture of the little one with a parent on July 9th (thank you for sharing!).
About 15 days old (Brian Matteson photo)

One of our loon watchers discovered that the Loon Preservation Committee has a live camera focused on a nest where a pair of loons are still incubating their eggs.  It seems a little voyeuristic, but check it out here:  These loons are well behind the Wicwas pair - perhaps they had a failed nesting and had to start again.

There continue to be several other loons on Lake Wicwas, at least three others this week.  I watched two loons acting up at one point.  They were floating very close together, frequently thrusting their heads quickly underwater and then back up again.  When one did this, the other immediately did the same.  They made occasional short, quick dives, making quite a commotion with loud splashes when they went down, returning to the surface close together again.  Maybe one was stalking the other to protect its claimed territory, or maybe it was a pair in some kind of courting behavior? 

On a morning paddle I saw three different single loons around the lake, each minding their own business, including this one stretching its wings as it woke up.
Good Morning!

It was a beautiful morning for a paddle.

The lake's summer colors are filling in nicely now.  Both the Yellow Water Lilies and the pretty white, Fragrant Water Lilies are in bloom everywhere.
Frangrant Water Lilies

The Steeplebush are also blooming along the shoreline.
Steeplebush (Spiraea tomentosa) on Sheep Island
 Did you notice the pile of beaver-debris on the rocks?

Their flowers are a favorite of butterflies, though I saw none this early in the morning.

At the other end of the day, there was a spectacular full-moonrise over Lake Wicwas.  People were calling it a "super moon" because it is larger and brighter than usual.  The proper name is a "perigee moon".  The moon doesn't have a circular orbit around the earth;  it has an elliptical orbit, and this month the closest approach (perigee) occurred on the same day as the full moon.  This will occur for the next two months as well, and in August the moon becomes full in the same hour as it reaches perigee, making it the most super!
Moonrise over Bryant Island

Full Buck Moon

The Native American name for the full July moon is the Buck Moon, because July is the month when the antlers of the male White Tail deer start to emerge.  If you're looking for the next two super moons In August and September, remember that moon rise occurs around sunset.
The end of another perfect summer day on Lake Wicwas

(No bugs this week, RP!)

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