Family Time On A New Hampshire Lake

A peaceful family outing on a quiet New Hampshire lake, a pair of common loons, accompanied by their young chick, searches for a meal.

Family Swim

While one parent watches over the chick, the other will dive in search of a fish. Having been successful, the adult will in turn feed it to the young.

adult loon feeding its young chick

With a full belly, it’s time for an easy ride.

Week 13 - New Beginnings

49 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Family

    1. They are so cute and cuddly looking. I’ve known that the chick will ride on one of the parents backs, and had really wanted to photograph it for a long time. One thing I didn’t know and which really surprised me, was how the chick got off when the adult went under water. Well, the parent just dives right out from under the chick, leaving it bobbing on the surface. Very cool to watch first hand.

    1. Thank you Tina. Yes, they can be very challenging, though to be honest, this family was very cooperative and I was able to photograph them with only a 150mm lens. In fact, several times I had to back up my kayak to keep the bow out of the frame.

  1. Great series of images. Do loons sit as low in the water as this all the time? They seem to sit lower than other ducks.

    1. Thanks Lee, yes they do. As graceful as they are in the water, they are quite large and extremely ungainly on land. Their legs are so small compared to their body that they don’t move well on land at all.

      About the only time they actually come out of the water is to build and sit on the nest. Even then, the nests are very low to the water. They also need very long taxiway to get that big body out of the water too. Any and all grace is lost when they are moving on land or trying to take off.

      1. Thank you Jeff. I’ve never seen a loon apart from in photos and you don’t get the idea of size from them.

        1. You’re welcome Lee. You know, you’re right, you never get to see loons with other birds to give you an idea of their size. I was surprised about it as well. That and just how deep bright red their eyes are. Until I saw my first one up close I had no idea. Obviously I was not a very observant person before taking up the camera, because you can’t go into a craft shop or gallery in northern New England without some form of loon related art. You’d think I would have noticed that eye color at some point. 🙂

    1. Thanks Cris, yes I was. As I mentioned in my comment to Tina, they were often so close to my kayak that I needed to back up to keep the bow of the boat out of the shot.

      I assure you though, that we didn’t pursue them, they came to us. After lots of observation, by myself and several others, we knew the families morning routine quite well. All we needed to do was quietly paddle out and patiently float near their normal morning route.

      I NEVER chase or harass wildlife in order to get a photograph. Preparation and patience is the only way to go.

    1. I could’t agree more, thank you. I’m not much of a bird photographer, but for loons I’ll make an exception. Of course living on a lake and having a nesting pair return every year makes it somewhat easy to go after these wonderful birds. 🙂

  2. I consider myself a Minnesota boy, and the loon is the state bird of Minnesota. They frequent the lake where our cabin is happily situated, and no spring-to-autumn visit is ever quite complete without their haunting calls. I can honestly say that these are the finest images of them that I’ve ever seen. That last one just takes my breath away. I can’t help noticing that one of the adults has lost the tip of its upper beak, but the lower one is as pointy as ever, so it’s likely no significant hindrance in its underwater fishing abilities. Absolutely beautiful, Jeff!

    1. Thanks Gary. Their call is beautiful, isn’t it. I look forward to it every spring.

      That is “Broken Bill,” the patriarch of the family. My understanding is he’s had a bit of bill missing for quite a few years. Also, if you look closely you can see he’s wearing quite a bit of jewelry. Obviously Fish and Game is keeping a close eye on him. 🙂

  3. Jeff, that last one of the parent / child duo is lovely, but they are all great, of course.
    I miss hearing the Common Loon!
    How fun for you!

    1. Thanks LB. That last one was the “icing on the cake” that day. There is something about their call, I know I’d miss it if we ever moved away from the lake.

      1. Will continue to work the Weekend all nighters for some time, though settling in fine. I took my first walk on the treadmill earlier this week. – which has finally been moved into the living area!

        How about things with you? Training going well?

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