Fall is progressing and birds are migrating or at least thinking about it. Colors are changing a bit early because many trees have been stressed by the dry conditions but some of the trees seem to be as vibrantly colored as ever.
Below are some mallards, a male and female, and some common mergansers. Most likely it is a mother and one of her ducklings which is now full grown. The males are not seen on the lake after about the beginning of June so the ladies have to take care of the kids alone. The male mallards have gone through their “eclipse” phase where they look like females and are now back to their normal colors.
Kingfishers are still around and generally you can find them after they make their characteristic call. You then see them flying and land in another tree. This bird is on a black gum that has changed to its characteristic maroon color in the Fall.
Migrating common goldeneyes are around the lake now. You can identify these birds at a distance as the males wings make a whistle when they fly. When a duck flies by and you hear that whistle, it is a goldeneye.
Non-migrators seem to be more common and are in larger groups. They young have been raised and are now just part of the flock. At times groups find an owl or a hawk and make a racket as they harass it but that is normal for the poor harassed bird. It happens, you deal with it.
The loon chick hatched on the east end of the lake is now almost adult size although it doesn’t have its flight feathers yet. The loon chick hatched on the west end of the lake, about a month earlier, is getting ready to fly.
Below is an adult loon who has been flying places.
It was seen in a bay off of Mount Desert Island, Maine which is shown in the picture below. On a half hour boat trip to an island off the coast, about half a dozen loons were seen. The adults migrate earlier than the chicks, often one or the other of the adults leaves quite early in September not to return to the lake until next Spring. Loons could not breed successfully in these Maine waters because of the tides which would wipe out nests as the loons nest close to water because they have a hard time moving on land, they legs are far back on their bodies to make them better swimmers. Our lake generally doesn’t have its water level change much during nesting season, so they can nest on our lake and many others. An immature loon was also seen but this loon was most likely hatched in previous years and is not of breeding age so it stayed on the ocean.