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  • Pamela Underhill Karaz

Drama at the Pond

When you hear a loon calling incessantly, you know something is up. I was watering the garden at my house when I heard the loon calling. At the time I thought that's unusual to hear it call this early in the evening, 5:30, the calling went on and on and didn’t stop, I jumped in my car and went the 1 mile to the pond. As I slid my canoe into the water, I saw that the female was off of the nest and still calling, seemingly frantically. As I paddled, I wondered what could be invading the nest, not sure of what I’d find or what I’d do when I reached it. She was not far off the nest and as I paddled in her direction, she didn’t move and continued calling. I reached my usual nest observation spot, a submerged tree along the shore that is protected from the wind and has an unobscured view into the nest, got my camera out and could see one of the eggs and no apparent intruder.

This spot has become my sit spot so to speak, it's protected from the too often incessant and annoying wind that is most often during the day at the pond. I sat, then thinking I saw a fuzzy area in the nest perhaps a chick was hatched. Is this the mother loons way of announcing this to the world? Naive thought as of course she would want to keep the birth quiet... THEN, a huge bird flew from a nearby tree. I immediately knew it was an eagle, an immature one. It flew to the far side of the pond and the mother loon immediately came back to her nest and stopped her frantic calling. It is a fact that eagles do attack loon nest where the loons and chicks are extremely vulnerable.

I left that evening feeling uncertain with the eagle stationed in a tree at the far end of the pond, and worried that the loon as long as she had to sit on her nest and incubate the eggs, would be a "sitting duck" for the eagle. I also now realized why the seagulls were no longer at their nest on top of "gull rock" in the pond as my friend William had proclaimed it, the nest now vacated, no eggs, no hatchlings. I feared for the loon mother and the survival of her young...

The next morning I woke at 5AM to catch the solar eclipse of the sun as it rose... at 5:45 I heard again the incessant call of the loons. I raced to the pond, again the mom and dad were near the nest in the water, and as I approached the eagle who was in a tree over the nest flew to another nearby tree. I paddled in its direction and it took off and left the pond...

The mother loon immediately got back on her nest, the dad swam to the middle of the pond, I took up my usual sit spot and shortly after took this photograph...

In the midst of all of this craziness, or perhaps just before, one of the loon chicks came into this world, broke through its shell and hatched. I sat in awe....

Copyright Pamela Underhill Karaz

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