The 2014 loon chick flies

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This is Long Lake’s only 2014 loon chick, in about mid-September. Its parents had either recently departed for places south or were about to. We saw the adolescent spending a lot more time alone as fall approached. The adolescent loon regularly came quite close to our kayaks. This one has seemed a bit more independent a little earlier than most of the chicks we’ve met before on the lake.

By late September, we still weren’t seeing the loon fly. But, as shown in this sequence, we got the feeling the young one was feeling his (or her) oats in the flying department. The loon wasn’t going anywhere, but there was an awful lot of wing flapping and stretching going on.

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We were definitely rooting for flight. The nights are pretty cold. The little guy is all alone with only the lethargic black ducks for company. The goofy buffleheads will be here soon. This loon needed to get moving south.

Then, on October 8th, Steve saw the young loon dive in the southern smaller part of the lake. It surfaced and then started doing the wing flapping thing. Pretty soon the loon was kind of skipping across the surface of the water, doing one of those very ungraceful takeoffs that loons do that make you wonder if they’ll ever get airborne.

Then, suddenly, this year’s chick was in full flight. It headed north eventually up about 50 feet and has not been seen since.

babyloon_flies1_lowresNot the clearest of photos on this last one. But it’s definitely the adolescent loon. Hopefully this one makes it safely south to its wintering grounds.

Curious loon inspects new pontoon boat

We have taken the plunge into powerboats. Can you call a 13.8 foot pontoon boat with a 15 horsepower outboard a powerboat? Anyway, it should suit.  This is a Qwest fishing compact pontoon, which is a bit of a spiffed-up Gillgetter.  It’s manufactured by the St. Louis, Michigan company, Apex. It has a live well, a fishfinder/GPS, a sound system we intend not to use, comfy couches and two fishing seats up front. We are hoping that this will mean that occasionally we shall catch a fish. Maybe even “one fish, two fish, walleye fish, blue(gill) fish” this season.

And even if the fish turn out to be totally safe from us, it will at least provide an interesting platform for viewing fish, turtles and other aquatic life. Kayaks are still likely to be the boat of choice for early morning visits to Ghost Bay for morning coffee. But we are looking forward to enjoying this addition to the “fleet.” We like the idea of being the smallest pontoon on the lake. The only somewhat embarrassing thing is that we have to ride around the lake on a boat with a misspelled name. Apex, please, the name should have been Quest, Quest with a “u,” not a “w.”

The first day our boat arrived at the lake, this curious loon inspected it repeatedly and at close range. It was so unusual to see a loon this close to our dock that I wondered whether it was possible loons know the lake so well that they know when new shiny things appear. Not likely. But loons do seem to be very aware creatures. So unlike the dull-brained Canada Goose armada that only knows to patrol around the lake looking for nicely mowed expanses of lawn (like ours).

 

Puzzling

puzzleThe only place I make time to do an occasional jigsaw puzzle is at the lake.   This 550 piece loon puzzle made for a fun quiet day at the coffee table.  Until.

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Sealed-in-plastic puzzles never have pieces missing, do they?  Once, when I was a child, we got a thousand-piecer with one duplicate piece and one missing piece.  But that was 45 years ago.  There’s quality control now, right?  I looked everywhere.  The piece, it is missing.  Missing. As in not in the box.  How’s that for green apples?  Kim Norlien (“the painter of peace and tranquility” TM) probably cares.  Before he sold rights to his loon painting to the puzzle guys he must have made them promise that when they chopped it up into itsy bitsy pieces and packed it in a plastic bag before stuffing it in a a box and then wrapping the box with cellophane, that they’d not leave any peace out.

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