Category Archives: Photography

Loons and Chicks

Loons and Chicks

story and images by Alan Boucher 

All-in-the-Family
On Monday, June 9th, for my early 50th birthday present, my lovely wife sent me on this Loons and Chicks Workshop. This workshop was led by Professional Wildlife and Nature Photographer Nathan Lovas.  Nate brought me and other photographers up close and personal with many loon families on Clearwater Lake in Annandale, MN on his pontoon boat.  He gave us pointers on camera settings and told us when a great moment will be coming up for a photo shot, without even picking up his own camera to shoot.  He even let me use his Canon 100 – 400mm lens the whole time.

Nate’s philosophy for wildlife photography is something like this: Pick a species, learn what it eats, where is sleeps / nests, and its breeding behaviors. Then you will be ready to go out and anticipate when a great moment will occur to capture fascinating images.

So here is what I learned about loons using my favorite images.  Click on each image to see in full screen.

Both male and female loons dive under to catch minnows and worms to feed their chicks. Here is a male with a nice catch!
 Feeding3  Here is the female loon bringing a worm to her chicks.
 Mom feeding a minnow to one chick.  The other chick wants a piece too.  Feeding4
 Feeding2  Here you can have one too.
 Here are a couple of plump, happy identical twins.  Mirrored-Chicks
 Chicks-Playing  And another pair of chicks at play.
 When the chicks are full they like to rest on the comfort of mom’s back.  
 Chicks-Riding-on-Mom  Some chicks find extra security under their mom’s wing.
 And some chicks just can’t get enough to eat. Feeding-while-on-Back
  The chicks learn to dive within the first week of life.  This one’s wondering where everyone went.  Seconds after this shot, he joined his twin under water.
  The adults routinely preen to keep their feathers clean.
  Once they are done preening from head to tail…
  they breach,
  spreading their to wings to stretch and dry them.
 Loons continue their activities during the evening hours, such as feeding…  
  and breaching.
 And also just enjoying each others company.  
  As the sun sets,
  they sleep over deeper water, away from land for protection from predators.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my loons and chicks adventure almost as much as I enjoyed learning about loons and capturing images of their daily activities. I also took photos of Red-necked Grebes, American White Pelicans, Great Egrets, Yellow-headed Blackbirds and even an Osprey. You can see these images at Alan Boucher Photography.