Our loon chicks are now about ten and a half weeks old. I had a chance to catch up with them this morning. Both chicks seem to be doing well. They're growing fast. Both are feeding on their own - as well as pestering their parents for food. They're getting fairly independent, one wander off something like a half mile from the parent on duty this morning. (Only one parent was around this morning, the other has probably headed off for a short break.)
One of the osprey made an appearance as well. It flew over the pond a few times, then settled on a branch to watch. After several minutes, it flew back over with a nice breakfast.
Most of the loon's morning was spent foraging, or pestering the parent to forage. The loons didn't seem to have much luck catching fish. The parent surfaced several times with fingerlings, but never a good-sized fish.
But, crayfish were plentiful.
Here's our parent inbound with another crayfish.
Oh, oh, a fumble!
The crayfish didn't get far, our chick ties again..
Ouch! Looks like the chick got pinched!
The chick is determined and tries again.
Let's see if it will go down this way....
Drats! Another fumble!
OK, this time is going to work....
No! Not again! Once more the crayfish makes a break for it!
But the crayfish's luck runs out....
As soon as our parent surfaced this morning, at least one of the chicks would head over and start pestering the parent for a meal. If the parent was delivering a meal, the chick would eat that and immediately start pestering. The parent was rarely on the surface for more than a few second at a time. The parent was pretty good at deflecting the chick's bill away, but the chicks were persistent and often managed to pinch the parent.
One of our chicks eventually took a break from foraging and did some feather maintenance.
Followed by a stretch...
The trees on the hills around our pond are already turning a little rusty. We've got just a few weeks left before our family moves on.