Sunday, July 9, 2017

July 9, 2017 - The loons attempt to nest

One doesn't have to climb a mountain or hike to a remote pond to see the beauty that surrounds us everywhere in the Lakes Region; sometimes it only takes a walk down the road in the early light of morning.  I did that after one of those steamy July nights last week and was treated to an array of delicate, misty, sights.
Low rays of sun reflect off the NHEC's power lines

Mist cloaks dead snags in the Chemung State Forest

Moisture collected by the webs of the Bowl and Doily Weaver Spider

First rays on a Milkweed preparing to bloom

Dew drops on fresh Red Maple leaves

You may have recognized these scenes as all are located on one quarter-mile stretch of Chemung Road in Meredith, although scenes like these exist on most any rural New Hampshire street on a hot summer morning.

As the high July sun warms the earth and dries the atmosphere other common summer beauties make their presence known.
Daises and Hawkweed grow wild in fields and yards throughout New Hampshire

Hawkweed about to bloom

Now some hopeful news from Lake Wicwas:  the loon pair has decided it's not too late for them to try and raise a family this year - they have built a nest now that the water level has receded and hopefully stabilized. However, the nest is in a very precarious location on a tiny hummock in open water, exposed to both the sun and boat action.  
Sitting proudly a new island they just built

You can't always wait for the perfect house to come on the market; sometimes you have to take what's available, especially when your family is expecting.

Our resident loon experts Marge and Dave Thorpe, with the assistance of Caroline Hughes from the Loon Preservation Committee, set out markers to keep everyone a safe distance from the nest.  
Please keep outside the buoy line - and no wake south of Bryant Island

We are asking power boats to travel only at headway speed on the entire south side of Bryant Island as even a small wake could easily wash right over the entire nest.  Of course all boats should stay well outside the marked buoy line, and if you see or hear a loon making its presence known, please leave immediately.  Especially in the heat of mid-July, even a few minutes off the nest could kill the egg.  Another sign of distress is when the loon is leaning its head down low trying to make itself disappear.  Please speak up if you see someone overlooking these guidelines.  I took these pictures with a 400mm telephoto lens and then blew them up on the computer - the loon clearly wasn't affected at my distance away, as seen by its head-up position and the fact it was comfortable enough to turn the egg. Nonetheless, I paddled on quickly.

The pair will have to raise their chick (probably only one at this late date) quickly, and there are still many hazards to navigate, but with good boating etiquette, humans won't be one of them!  At least the parents won't have to deal with black flies at this late date.  

A final item of local delight to seek out:  blueberries!  Blueberry season is about to burst out in New Hampshire, and it looks to be a good one as copious rain and hot temperatures are ripening a bumper crop of these delicious, healthy nuggets - find a blueberry bush near you!

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