|Red fruit on the Bunchberry|
|And on the Viburnum|
The summer wildflowers also add to nature's rainbow to brighten the day.
Sometimes the palest of colors make a delicate scene on the calm lake.
|The oils on bird's feathers keep them from absorbing water|
I'm no expert on feathers, but I wouldn't be surprised if this is the soft down from the inner feathers of a loon left behind from preening itself in middle of the lake, as ducks and geese usually do their grooming close to shore.
On the topic of loons, there are still five on Lake Wicwas, two pairs and one rogue, trying to work things out among themselves. For years I have always seen these beautiful birds as such quiet and peaceful animals, but the last two years have taught me that they are just as fierce as many other creatures when it comes to protecting their territory and ensuring the propagation of their genes. The first lesson came last year when another loon killed the chicks of our long-term nesting pair. And throughout this summer we have watched the behavior of the loons fighting over the lake, preventing either pair from nesting.
They keep a close eye on each other; one game they play is swimming around in a circle in close formation, staring each other down. I call it ring-around-the-rosy, but I don't think it's a happy game for them.
|Ring around the rosy|
Maybe it's the loon equivalent of a staring contest.
There was another behavior I saw for the first time this week. When a single loon or a pair are by themselves on the lake I have always seen them just floating calmly or swimming along slowly and sedately. But one morning, I saw a V-shaped wake far down the cove. It was moving straight as an arrow with a speed and purpose that made me think it was a beaver - beaver always swim with a mission. But as it came closer I saw it was a pair of loons. They steamed straight down the middle of the cove, all the way to very end, where they did an about face and steamed right back out again at the same clip. I expect they were on a mission to find the other loon pair to reassert their ownership of the lake.
Loons as well as humans were treated to some beautiful sunsets this week.
It's no wonder the loons are fighting over Lake Wicwas.