Saturday, June 6, 2009

Loons Displaying

The warm weather continues and even the big drifts around the house are shrinking fast.  The lake level is still high but it is draining and many of the small ponds have their polygon ridges out of the water now.

Today started out with light rain for a few hours then cleared and we reached a high of +56F, the warmest day we have had so far.  Also, it was the Home6june_4287first day with fair weather cumulus clouds, a sure sign of a warm day. Being close to the frozen Arctic Ocean, as the wind turned to the north, we were slowly enveloped by coastal fog.  The photo shows our home as you look back towards the South.

The loons are starting to get quite active and some were seen doing their courting display, running on top of the water side by side, much like photos one sees of grebes.  At least three pair of Red-throated YBLO_land1_4307Loons were in the river by the house or calling from the nearby ponds.  For the first time the male Yellow-billed Loon was heard giving his territorial yodel, as well as their more mournful cry.  Right is the Yellow-billed Loon just landing in the open water around the edge of our lake.

From my evening walks, it looks like it is going to be an excellent year for Semipalmated Sandpipers, as there is a very high density of them on the island this year.  Pectorals seem to be the next most common, then Red-necked Phalaropes, with a few Dunlin, Long-billed Dowitchers, and Red Phalaropes about.   I did see one pair of Black-bellied Plovers this afternoon, so maybe we will have them nesting locally.

BrantPair-2_4312

Left is one of the many pairs of Brant nesting around the local area.

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Arctic Smoke Signals by James W. Helmericks is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.