Sept. 4th 2017 this update came in from Mike Kitagawa on Otter Lake about that single Loon chick @ 5 weeks of age:
The mother (or father) is still around as well but I have only seen the one. The feathers on the chick’s chest are turning white and it was flexing its wings a fair bit. And it swims quite a distance under water.
Sept. 17th 2017 – update from Marilyn Campbell on Little Otter Lake on the 2 Loon Chicks @ 12 weeks of age:
Beautiful sunny afternoon. Lake calm. Just saw one adult with one juvenile. We do hear a loon flying over once in a while, could be the other adult. The juvenile likely is exploring other parts of the lake now as soon the parents will leave them here on their own. We did see this adult feeding a fish to the juvenile.
When do loons molt?
On the breeding grounds in late summer, a loon molts out of its beautiful breeding plumage. It grows plain brownish gray feathers on its back, top of neck, and head over a white belly and throat. Loons molt again in late winter before they leave their wintering grounds, changing from the brown winter plumage to the full breeding plumage. During this molt, all the flight feathers are lost at one time, making the loon temporarily unable to fly. These new flight feathers will carry the loon to the ocean, and back again in the fall. If one of the flight feathers gets broken, the loon will be stuck with it until next winter. But if it is pulled out at the base, the loon will grow a new one even when it isn’t normal molting time.
Thanks for the great photos and updates Marilyn and Mike and all the other Loon watchers too who are keeping an eye out for our Loons!