Martel Loon Chicks and BP’s Gulf Spill
The Martel Loons have produced another set of twin chicks. Here they are at about 2 days old, two little fuzzball Loon chicks between two protective parents cruising by a beaver lodge:
The first time I saw the Loon chicks was on June 4th. I wasn’t sure they’d hatched and was heading to their nesting area when Travis (who likes to range the shoreline while Mika and I canoe) dove into the water after a Loon. I was taking video with my cheap little camera and caught the cries of a parent Loon leading Travis away from the new-hatched chicks. I’m too far away – the Loons and Travis are just dots – but the soundtrack of Loon cries is amazing:
I’ve been staying away from the Loons until the chicks grow bigger because Travis has decided that this is his year for catching something in the lake. He’s spent hours this year swimming after Muskrats and Beavers and Loons.
In this picture a beaver splashes a warning as it dives to escape Travis’s charge:
Last week on a canoe trip Travis ran far ahead and saw the Loon family out for a swim so he dove into their midst about 200 yards ahead of me. I paddled with all my strength yelling, “NO LOONS” and banged my paddle against the canoe. Both parents were in a panic when I got to the scene but it didn’t look like Travis had a baby chick in his mouth. Then the two baby Loons surfaced 20 feet away. Big relief for the parents and for me.
I live between two small lakes and often hear the two resident Loon pairs calling to one another at night. There are just over 3,000 Loons in Wisconsin and I am privileged to live where I can listen to 4 of them.
Loons from Wisconsin winter in either the Atlantic or The Gulf of Mexico. When I hear my loons yodeling at night or when I see the Loon parents swimming protectively with their chicks I feel a pang. Will my Loons die this winter in the oil-soaked waters of the Gulf?
I know that when the ice goes out next spring I’ll be watching for the Loons to arrive. It hurts to think of summer at Martel Lake without the sound of Loons.
On a far happier note I have 2 days’ writing left to finish Channel Zilch!