Thursday, December 11, 2014

Are They Loons?

We are having a little mid December warming trend.  At least temperatures in the 40's are considered a warming trend for us in Wisconsin.  If this continues we could be without a White Christmas which would be sad.  However, weather here can change in one day so who knows what will happen in the next two weeks.

The ice is melting on our pond.

Because of the warmer temperatures, the ice is melting on our pond.  It is attracting migrating ducks.  They are very difficult to sneak up on, but today I saw something that looked like a loon fly by.  Yesterday I saw it too, but when I tried to get a picture, it flew away.  We get a loon every now and then in the Spring.  The Common Loon spends the summer in Northern Wisconsin and Minnesota.  It is very common to hear them on the northern lakes and see them with a young one riding on their back.

A loon that spent two days on our pond before moving on to the North.

Loons are usually solitary when they pass through in the Spring.  That's why I wondered whether what I saw flying by today were loons.  They landed on a small body of water that doesn't ever freeze no matter how cold it gets.  Last winter we had minus 20 degrees, and the water remained open.  I put on my boots, grabbed my camera and made my way to the water.  I tried to get as close as I could without scaring them away, but the snow left in the woods crunched very loud.  I managed to get pretty close.   There were five of them, and they really looked like loons to me.  If anyone has another idea, I would like to know for sure.  I looked up their migration habits, and they do migrate in flocks.  This wasn't exactly a flock, but maybe more than two could be considered one.  The photos aren't great but if you look really hard, you can see them through the cattails.

* It was brought to my attention that these may be Golden Eye ducks.  It could very well be.  If they return, I will try to get a better picture.  

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