Birds and Spectacular Fall Colors

Yes, it is toward the middle of October and things are changing. The water is getting cooler, now in the 50’s and you now have to have a “nice” day to really enjoy the lake. When the sun is shining and there is no wind, it is delightful.

Some birds are still around. The ring billed gulls are still finding food. They sometimes come up on shore to find food, they also paddle around on the surface looking for floating food and dive down below the lake surface for minnows. When it gets colder, they will  head to the ocean on NW winds.

The adult eagles are still around and seem to stay most of the year. They also start thinking about nesting in January, lay eggs in late March and they sit for a month on the eggs before they hatch. This is a picture of an immature eagle flying by. They travel around the area but are not a threat to the nesting pair.

The loon chicks are looking very smart with their brown feathering. The parents will leave before they do but, they are loons, they are programmed to fly when they need to.

According to the Loon Preservation Committee “while there is a lot that biologists still don’t know about loon migration, they do know that loons don’t leave New Hampshire because they feel like it, but rather, because they have to. Loons are heavy birds with very large feet and, like an airplane, they need long runways to takeoff. Loons run awkwardly across the water surface for approximately a quarter-mile to pick up speed before
being able to take fight. If the lake is covered with ice, they can’t run for lift-off, causing them to become trapped, and eventually causing them to perish if they aren’t rescued. Loons don’t leave New Hampshire in search of warmer waters down south where the lakes don’t freeze because these waters are too dangerous—alligators and waterbodies that are too warm or too shallow for diving and hunting create big problems for
these birds.

The adult loons generally migrate first in large groups, usually two or three months after their chicks hatch and after their beautiful black and white feathers have been replaced by plain brownish-grey feathers. The offspring stay behind until their flight feathers become long enough to support their weight—this time also allows the chicks to become capable of surviving on their own before they fly to the ocean. Typically, chicks do not leave their birth lake until just before it freezes. Biologists do not know exactly how the young loons know where to go—this is one of many mysteries. Chicks won’t return to their birth lake until they are approximately three or four years old, and they won’t be able to reproduce until they are six or seven.” For more information on the common loon visit www.loon.org.

And yes, the colors are still nice. There are reds and greens and oranges and blues and yellows. Oh, ROYGBIV…..  There are fewer people on the lake enjoying these changes but those who are around are soaking in the scenery before the winter landscape emerges.