We headed to the research blind in the morning as it was cloudy. We didn’t get on the Refuge till 6:35pm. It was 85 degrees and sunny…but the winds were changing coming out of the north.
The front F Pool trumpeter swans were out with their two cygnets. F Pool osprey was in the nest. H Pool had at least a dozen yellowlegs. The J loon was out far with its chick. There was one greater yellowleg on J pool. G Pool loons…one on the nest and the other was out guarding. The D Pool loons were near the island feeding and preening. We made a quick run through the Marshland Drive. The winds had picked up. The west E loons were hanging out close to the island. I’m sure they will stay there all night. There were three vehicles at D Pool photographing the loons so we let them be. We left at 9:00pm in a cloud of dust. It is way too dry.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal July 10, 2018
Since I knew the west E loons would be back by the island…I opted to check out I pool in the sunrise. I was given an amazing sunrise with a few clouds making for some beautiful shots. I did find the I Pool loons in the rising sun…way back by their nesting island. It didn’t matter…just being able to sit in the quiet of the morning with nature all around was worth getting up early for.
I walked to the backside of J pool where I watched the trumpeter swans chasing off an intruder. The loons were in their usual spot. I walked to H Pool where a pair of sandhill cranes flew to the backside of the pool. Then I heard sandhills on J…so I back tracked…but never found them. So back to H and down to F Pool…which was very quiet. The loons were out socializing. I heard them flying all around the Refuge deciding where to party.
The East end of E Pool has more trumpeter swans. It’s always a joy to watching them in the early morning light. I ran into Andy and a friend going to check on the loons. I found them photographing the east E chick which was close to shore. The parents made their way into it. I shot a few pics then moved on. The merlin screamed at me….a pair of sandhills walked down the drive with me. Then I found the spotted sandpiper…and a chick? It ran across the road in front of me. I did snap one shot of it.
The west pool loons were hosting a party of six other loons. I watched them as they one by one flew off. The parents then came back in to the little ones that were near the shore. It’s always a joy to watch the little ones trying to get on their parents’ backs. The bigger they get the harder it is.
As I got to D Pool…two loons took off. One of them was Z4 the D female. Then another one took off. Then Z4 returned landing on the backside of the pool. I decided to walk back to see if the chicks were back there.
I had two merlins screaming and flying around. I just sat down and watched the show. I did get a few photos. I found a few cedar waxwings. The loons had two visitors and spent their time along the front of the island. The chicks must have been tucked away at the other end. I walked back quite a ways and didn’t spot them. But it was pleasant to just get away from all the traffic. I love my alone time on the Refuge.
Michael picked me up at 10:30 and we took the Marshland Drive again. I saw ABJ and V4 making their way to the cove. So I back tracked…settled into the brush and was rewarded with ABJ coming up in front of me preening. Oh my…these are the moments I cherish. These are gifts from Nature that can never be achieved with money. Then as we rounded E Pool near the spillway we met a traffic jam. The little east E loon was near the shore. I got down in the brush and watched as one of the parents came in to ‘rescue’ it. The lighting was perfect in the still waters. Great reflections. We moved up and parked to let the crowds move on. Then we just sat and watched the parents feeding it. The little merlin was still screaming around. While we sat there four ospreys were flying high above. One was carrying a fish. We thought it might be the parents trying to get the young to fish for themselves. The west loons were out farther…the one adult was further west preening. There were tons of people and the dust was flying. We decided to head out and have lunch with our other Refuge devotees…the Rautiolas.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal July 8, 2018
What a gorgeous morning!! 60’s with a slight breeze and clear skies. Michael dropped me off to spend the morning hiking. I sat to wait for the west E loons to show themselves. I spotted one out behind the island. But as the sun rose…I found them in the shadow of the island. They slowly worked their way into the shore. I love photographing them with the sun rising behind them casting amazing glowing silhouettes of the babies on their back. I spent almost an hour with them. They eventually came up to the shore where I was feeding their two hungry babies. Priceless.
I finally left them to enjoy their solitude. I walked back to the east along E Pool…enjoying the sounds of the creatures as they greeted the new day. I found a spotted sandpiper around the swan observation deck. A juvenile merlin screamed and flew all around me further down. It even let me get a few pics. A huge snapping turtle was lurking just under the water like an alligator ready to snatch its unsuspecting victim. The beavers were out busy in the early morning. The little east E loon chick was out and about. Others were photographing him…so I let him be and continued my walk. As I got to the end of E Pool five loons flew over. The ones without young are now in party mode.
The milkweed is full bloom and filling the air with its sweet fragrance. The monarchs were swarming all around me as I walked along.
The F Pool trumpeter swans were out with their three growing cygnets. Snipes were flying and winnowing all around. The common terns were swarming me and screaming on H Pool. The J Pool loon was out with its little one further down the drive. It was the closest I was able to see it. As I walked back down toward I Pool a loon landed then took off as another one flew over. I was so excited to find I Pool had two chicks. They were out too far for good pics…but just great to see they hatched.
Michael picked me up at 10:00 so we took the Fishing Loop to see what was happening. An osprey was fishing on H Pool…common terns and one female blue-winged teal. J Pool loons were out far with chick as an osprey flew over. G Pool was on its nest. We found two loons on D Pool but didn’t see the chicks. C Pool has a momma and baby pied billed grebe and several ring-necked ducks with ducklings. The C Pool loons were at the far end of C Pool. We left at noon.
We returned at 6:00pm to 81 degrees and strong winds. The trumpeter swans on the first part of F Pool only have two cygnets left. Both ABJ and his mate were out swimming along F Pool along with a ring-neck and her six young.
H Pool the common terns were the only action. J Pool had five Caspian terns…and the trumpeter swans with no cygnets. Last year was a great year for the cygnets…not so this season. Sad.
Two sandhill cranes were on the backside of J Pool. We found a doe with two fawns on the west end of the Fishing Loop with two fawns!! The G Pool eaglet is finally branching….hopping up on the branches above the nest. The loon was on its nest…its mate was attacking a common merganser with her nine young. He had them cornered…but just bolted out of the water and didn’t actually attack them. Momma took her brood along the shore as fast as she could to get away from him. They are competition for the loons’ food source.
The D Pool loons were on the backside again. One sandhill crane was in C marsh.
8:00pm we took one more run through the Marshland Drive to check on the loons. The sun was out but everything was hunkered down in the wind. The east E Pool loon was out with its chick. But I did get a little time with the west end loons as they feed their young. While I was photographing the loons Michael spotted sandhill cranes with two very large colts in C marsh…and a northern harrier. The clouds moved in and obliterated the sunset…not even an afterglow. We did spot a single loon on B Pool and the two at the end of C Pool. We left to 72 degrees at 9:30pm
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal July 7, 2018
We arrived on the Refuge at 7:45pm to sunshine and 75 degrees…a gorgeous evening.
We found an osprey fishing on E Pool…two loons on east E Pool but didn’t see the chick. It definitely appears E pool eagles have lost their eaglet. We didn’t see or hear it last week either. Sad it was over two months old. Now the eagles aren’t even in the area.
The trumpeter swans are moving to the east end of the pool as they continue to devour the vegetation.
I was so excited to find the west E Pool loon family was close enough to shore to capture some lovely sunset shots with them. There is truly nothing more awesome then to spend up close and personal time with these magical creatures. They were working their way in to where I was hunkered down in the brush. But others were on the drive photographing them…moving behind me. They worked their way slowly away from the shore.
We then found an eagle at the west end of E Pool. It had just lifted off the shoreline and landed on a tree snag. I was able to get some sweet shots of it backlight in the setting sun. The cobwebs on the snag looked like frost in the light.
The D Pool loons were on the backside of the pool with their little ones. The C loons were out too far for shots. And the mosquitoes are back. Oh joy. We did see a few cedar waxwings and a little muskrat waddled across the drive in front of us before we headed out. We didn’t wait for the sunset…we had to get up early for the sunrise.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal July 2, 2018
Michael drove me into the Refuge just before sunrise. It was a gorgeous cloudless morning with temp at 63 at 5:35am. I decided to start at D Pool to check on the loon family. They were near the island so I hoped they would work their way into the cove. No luck. They moved out to the middle of the pool instead…so I moved on toward E Pool.
An osprey flew into the abandoned nest on D Pool and posed for a rosy silhouette…as a lone loon flew over. There is truly no better way to greet the day then the call of a loon. As I continued along the drive I heard the G Pool eagles chattering. The female was on the feeding tree as the male came and landed. The poor trumpeter swans with there with there with their sole cygnet.
I continued to hike back toward where we had seen the West end loon family. I was able to get some lovely shots of them silhouetted in the sunrise reflection. I hunkered down in the brush to sit and just enjoy observing the family.
The dad eventually moved off as the female kept her little ones close…one on her back the other under her wing. As I watched them the trumpeter swans also gave me some sweet photo ops as the feed in the dark green shadows with the light hit them.
Three loons flew over…the momma went into her defensive mode…then dived. The one chick which at this point was hidden under her momma’s back wings went down still on her…but eventually popped back up.
The dad eventually flew back in to join his family. They started to feed the growing family…inching closer to shore as they did. I was so excited to have them feeling comfortable with my presence. Unfortunately a car stopped to watch them…leaving their car running…moving ahead...then stopping again. This caused stress to the loons so they slowly made their way back out to the center of the pool. But I had an amazing hour with all to myself…making it so worth getting up early for.
As I continued walking east…I enjoyed lots of trumpeter swans along the way. I found a pair of sandhill cranes in the drive. They walked ahead of me for a ways then finally flew back over E Pool heading out to an island. I enjoyed the calling of Wilson snipes and soras along the way, too.
The East E Pool loons were out with their growing chick. I then took the Fishing Loop heading back west. I didn’t see any signs of ABJ or his mate. I did enjoy a little time with a pair of Canada geese and their three goslings…along with the trumpeter swans and their four cygnets.
The milkweed is flowering and making everything smell heavenly. The daisies…black eyed Susan…loosestrife etc are all blooming beautifully.
I enjoyed watching the red-winged blackbirds trying to teach their fledged young ones to fend for themselves. The youngsters of course insisted on being fed by their beleaguered parents.
I spotted a young hooded merganser in the channel across from J Pool. As I checked on the J Pool loons…I waited and there was the chick! They are still hanging out by their nesting island…but at least they have a healthy little one. That makes six chicks…so far.
I then decided to walk to I Pool to check on the pair of loons there. One loon was napping out in the middle of the pool…so babies there yet. I also found the trumpeter swans. They still have six of their nine cygnets. I ran into a fellow photog facebook friend, Andy Siegler. We headed back to the Visitors Center where Michael was waiting to pick me up for a quick run through the Refuge in the truck this time.
We found ABJ and V4 together at the start of F Pool. That wasn’t a good sign. More than likely they have failed the second attempt at nesting. So sad…especially as they are aging…they don’t have too many more years of producing beautiful babies.
We found the West E Pool loons down further and a little closer to shore. So I was able to enjoy a little more time with them. The male has an orange band on his left leg and silver band on his right leg. We didn’t see the D Pool loons. They were probably enjoying the quiet on the backside of the pool. The C Pool loons were not visible either…possibly off ‘visiting’ other loons. We left at noon to sunshine and 70’s.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge June 30, 2018
We are on the Refuge at 8:05pm to 82 degrees…high humidity and clouds.
The east E Pool loon chick is doing well. We have two new loon chicks on the west end of E Pool!!The west E Pool trumpeter swans have only one cygnet left…not surprising since they are right under the eagle ‘feeding tree’.
The D Pool loon chicks are doing well. They were off their parents backs being feed, A ring-necked duck on C Pool has nine duckings….as six sandhill cranes flew over and one lone pied billed grebe chick surfaced. It still has its calico head feathers. The C Pool loons were way out in the middle of the Pool.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal July 1, 2018
We spend the morning at the research blind along the Toonerville Trolley. We finally arrived on the Refuge around 2:00pm. It is 82 degrees and mostly cloudy and humid. We decide to take the Marshland Drive to check on the new loon chicks on west E Pool. First we find the F Pool trumpeter swans with four cygnets. Three loons are socializing…not a good sign for ABJ and his mate that were nesting there.
We spotted a momma ring-neck duck taking her nine little ducklings across the east end of E Pool. When we crossed the E/C spillway we found the loons with their chick. All of a sudden one of the loons went after the ring-neck family. It bolted out of the water underneath them…scattering them everywhere!! But it didn’t stop. It kept belly swimming after them bolt and attacking. The other loon got in on the action…chasing the momma so she couldn’t retrieve her little one. Finally they were satisfied that they were no threat. And the poor momma went about trying to round up her little ones. I think she got them all back…shook up but safe.
Near the swan observation deck we found a common merganser and her nine chicks. They saw me and all scurried across the water to a safer distance.
Then just past there we found a single loon. We followed it back to the west end of E Pool where it met up with its family…two adorable chicks. The D Pool loons were on the backside of the pool. C Pool had a ring-neck with six little ones….an adult pied billed grebe…another ring-neck with eight…the loons way out and another ring-neck with seven. We left at 4:00pm with a storm moving in.
After a thunderstorm and rain finally worked its way through we headed back to the Refuge for a quick evening run at 8:15pm 73 degrees. There were still three loons on F Pool socializing. The trumpeter swans with four cygnets were out and about. We sat and watch a single loon on J Pool. I though its wings were puffed up. Sure enough the other loon came over and out popped a little head…just for a moment. They were back by the island we though they had nested on. Exciting to have another chick.
We also saw an osprey fishing and wood duck on J Pool. The G Pool loon was on the nest. An eagle was on the feeding tree at the west end of E Pool. I found the D Pool loon family in the cove…but it was too dark for pics….so I just enjoyed the moment.
C Pool an osprey flew over…and ring-neck with twelve young…the adult pied billed grebe and the loons out too far for pics. The clouds moved in to obscure the sunset. We left the Refuge at 9:30pm.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge June 26, 2018
The Refuge is still closed due the prescribed burn. So we decided to take off for Driggs River Rd. and hike back to C 3 Pool. It was a quiet peaceful hike. There wasn’t a lot of action but we did enjoy the time away from the crowds. A pair of bald eagles were fishing along the pool…they have a nest not too far back off the Pool. Six trumpeter swans…one pair did pose for us as they preened. A pair of sandhills flew to the backside of the Pool. A lone wood duck flew over…a 2nd year eagle soared over…and lone loon wailed as it floated across the pool. Hope to be able to get back to our regular routine on the Refuge…and enjoy the loon chicks this next weekend.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal June 25, 2018
Despite the Refuge being closed for a prescribed burn…I was still allowed to walk back to I Pool . So Claudia dropped me off at 5:30am. I enjoyed the sunrise through a mist rising off the water on F-1 Pool. Then walked back to I Pool to see what was happening. I was thrilled to see trumpeter swans with nine tiny cygnets. They must have just come off the nest! One lone loon was patrolling…so the other is still on the nest. Common terns were fishing. Sandhill cranes flew back across F Pool. A doe went running through the marsh. Several male wood ducks in eclipse were on the backside of F Pool. I could see one of the F Pool loons and trumpeter swans with four cygnets.
At the corner of J Pool I saw two loons midway. I believe one was an intruder…riding high in the water. I left and walked back to the Visitors Center to see if the burn was going to actually take place. Finally the decision was made to go ahead with the burn so Michael picked me up after 9:00am to head out for an adventure.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal June24, 2018
The morning was overcast and cool as we went back to research blind. We finally got to the Refuge at 3:00pm It was 71 degrees and partly sunny. I got to spend some time with the trumpeter swans and their four cygnets on F Pool. The osprey was screaming from its nest. The trumpeter swans on J Pool had two cygnets. G Pool loons…one on the nest and one out farther. D Pool loons and chicks were close to the shore…but harsh bad light…of course. The C Pool loons were together preening at the very end of the pool in harsh light. We left at 5:00pm to take a break.
Back on the Refuge at 7:15pm to 70 degree and sunshine. E Pool adult eagle in the tree and the eaglet in the nest. One eagle flew over F Pool…stirring up the osprey on the nest. Beaver and a wood duck along the back channels as G Pool loon enjoyed the setting sun from its nest.
We found the D Pool loon family in the cove. I was able to get down in the brush and enjoy some time with them in the setting sun. The one adult was just leaving…the other had the one chick on its back and the other under its wing. It’s always a joy to watch the little ones…wiggling around…sleeping…yawning…pulling on its parents feathers. Finally the other came back and started to fish for them. Then the adult with them on its back preened knocking them into the water. We left them in the sunset. It was very sad that we couldn’t spend time with them till next weekend. There will be a prescribed burn taking place on Monday…the Refuge will be closed to traffic.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal June 23, 2018
It is 75 degrees and partly cloudy as we enter the Refuge. The F Pool trumpeter swans have six cygnets near the start of F and further down is a family of four…a couple of ring-necks and the F pool osprey on its nest.
H Pool still has a pair of common terns hanging out…but didn’t see a chick. The trumpeter swans failed to hatch their nest sadly. We found a doe at the end of the channel…no fawn. G Pool loons are on their nest. The west end of E Pool trumpeter swan pair has two cygnets.
Then we find our D Pool loons with their two chicks. One was riding its parent’s back the other was under a wing. Finally the mate came over…twice before deciding to help feed the chicks. So I left them as the sun was disappearing
under the clouds…hoping to get to spend time with them tomorrow afternoon/evening. As I was photographing them one loon flew over…as the loons yodeled a warning. Merlins were screaming around the corner. I’ll have to check on them, too…and five sandhills flew from the backside of the Pool.
The C Pool loons were together at the end of C Pool along with a wood duck in eclipse. The clouds moved in as we left at 9:20pm.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge June 19, 2018
Claudia dropped me off at the Refuge around 5:30am. It was 56 degrees with a slight breeze. A few clouds made for a gorgeous sunrise. I spent some quiet time on my H is for Happy Pool. I love my mornings on this quiet pool. One never knows what one will see. As I was settling into my hidey hole…an osprey flew out of a pine tree and flew over the water…right in front of me. The rising sun was shining on it as it past. The common tern was flying in and out of its island. Still hopefully that we see a little one next week. The goose family with one lone gosling swam across the pool in front of me…not even caring that I was there.
I decided to hike back down the Marshland Drive to see if I could find the E Pool loon family. I was treated to a lovely scene. A trumpeter swan in the shadowed waters with greenery and downed log as a backdrop…priceless.
I processed around the corner…and there was one of the parents with the chick on its back. I made my way into the pucker brush to sit and enjoy the moment. The chick fussed and waggled its leg as the patient parent kept watch. The adult suddenly went into the defensive mode. It sank into the water leaving the chick bobbing alone. It eventually disappeared out of sight. I knew there had to be an intruder around. But…there were also two eagles sitting in the trees on their nesting island. I kept vigilance guarding the chick. Suddenly…quietly three loons flew right over the chick…which dove under the water. I knew at least one of those had to be a parent chasing off the intruders.
Sure enough after a few minutes with the chick crying…the parents flew in…facing me…right in front of me! Awesome!! They are both banded…one is right band red K7 the other is right white band VZ or VT. The red banded adult was the one chasing the two nonbanded intruders. The one loon went immediately to the young while the other dallied. When the two adults came together they had an altercation. The one poked it peak at it and got quite high in the water. It appeared it wasn’t happy with its absent mate while the intrusion was going on. Typical family dynamics. Then the scolded parent started fishing and feeding the young…all was well. And the upset parent eventually took its turn at a break from caring for its young.
I decided to head back down the Fishing Loop to see if I could find ABJ or V4. I did find two cedar waxwing feeding on some pine nuts and service berries.
I found one loon on the backside of F Pool. It eventually took off flying. So I decided to move on. I found a lone sandhill crane on an island standing guard. As I was watching it…in swam one of the loons. It was ABJ! I watched as it finally accessed the nesting area. Eventually a lone came out from the nest swimming low. It dove and disappeared out of sight.
After the loon disappeared…the F Pool nesting osprey flew out of the nest squawking. It didn’t take long to find out why…a bald eagle was flying over the area to fish over on I Pool. It finally settled back into its nest.
Michael finally came to pick me up to take a run through. When he stopped he looked across the drive and there was a sandhill crane with a tiny colt mucking/swimming through the lily pads. Our first colt of the season. At G Pool the loon is still on the nest as an osprey catches a fish and flies away with it to D Pool to eat. The C Pool loons are still out together…not looking good for a nest. We left at 11:30am.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge June 17, 2018
It was rainy and gloomy when we got up so we didn’t take a run through the Refuge. We spent midday at the research blind along the tracks of the Toonerville Trolley. When we were ready to head in to the Refuge for the evening the rains returned.
Seney National Wildlilfe Refuge June 18, 2018
It was still raining in the morning so we headed into the Refuge around 11:00am to overcast skies. We wanted to check on the loon nests after the heavy rains we had received last night. The Western U.P. in Copper Country was devastated with flash floods.
There was a lone loon out in F Pool so hopefully that means they are still on the nest. Two Caspian terns were on a spit of land on F. A common tern on H Pool…along with Wilson snipes flying around. We spooked up a wood duck on J Pool…and harrier flying along J channel along with Canada geese with four goslings and a pair of trumpeter swans.
The G Pool loons are finally on a nest. Hopefully they will be able to have a successful clutch. A little common tern screaming as it was fishing.
The west end of E Pool has a pair of trumpeter swans and a quiet kingfisher. D Pool we found a pair of trumpeter swans with six little cygnets. They were feeding close to the shore so I was able to get some sweet shots of the little ones.
The two loons were out together further back on D Pool. Hopefully they were just taking a break from nest duty. Time will tell.
We found a doe out in the edge of the marsh on C Pool feeding. We were hoping to see a fawn but nothing.
We checked out the show pools. The South Show Pool trumpeter swans have three cygnets left. We found a momma mallard on the North Show Pool with five ducklings. The sun is starting to break through around 1:00pm.
We started our second run through. It is now 63 degrees and breaks in the clouds. The F Pool loon is out bathing.
We decide to take the Marshland Drive to check on the E Pool loons who have one chick as of Friday.
We found one of the E Pool eagles fishing along the drive from a big pine tree. I was able to get some nice shots of it before it flew away back to the nest island. As it flew we heard the loons calling. We found them out from shore with the chick. It was great to finally see our first loon chick of the season.
The young trumpeter swans were out farther on E Pool near the swan observation deck. A lone kingfisher went whizzing by. They are busy tending their nests…and keeping very quiet about it.
We watched a pair of Eastern kingbirds attack a crow…that was probably trying to rob their nest.
We sat and observed the C Pool loons. One was near the nesting site…but the other was just wandering up and down the pool without a care in the world. It looks like they may have lost their nest to the heavy rains. Time will tell.
We left for a break at 3:00pm to sunshine and 70 degrees with northwest winds at 9 mph.
WE came back at 5:00 to 77 degrees and sunshine. I was lucky to find ABJ preening closer to shore. I was able to spend some quiet time with which has been few and far between this year. We found ring-necks and the trumpeter swans on H Pool. J Pool had a pair of common terns and Canada geese with one gosling. A kingfisher flew over J channel as the pair of trumpeter swans was feeding.
I was happy to find some cedar waxwings along G Pool. The loon was off the nest but as we sat and observed it went back on the nest and turned the eggs before settling down. There was also an osprey fishing from a pine tree along the drive. I was able to get a few shots before it got tired of me. While we were still there the other loon came up closer to the nesting island. The eaglet was sitting on the edge of the nest…dreaming of flight.
D Pool loon was out near the island. They have been extremely scarce this year. C Pool loons are still out together…so their nest is probably a fail….again this year.
At 7:00pm we made a second run. An osprey was in the nest on F Pool. J pool loon and swan seemed to be in ‘waiting’ mode. Along the back channels we found a recently fledged red-winged blackbird. We watched it till it decided to go back to the nesting area. Two smaller beavers were wandering along the channels.
G Pool loon on the nest in the fading sun. We found a sandhill crane in C marsh with a colt. Two wood ducks in C Pool. Canada geese with four large goslings at Gray’s Creek Pool. We took a quick run through the Marshland Drive before the sunset. An osprey was fishing on E Pool…the E Pool loon family were out together. A harrier over B marsh and a loon at the end of C Pool. We left the Refuge at 9:40pm after a nice sunset.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge June 11, 2018
Another gorgeous morning as Claudia dropped me off to enjoy the sunrise at 5:45am. 48 degrees with a slight breeze. Trumpeter swans flying. I quietly sat and enjoyed the morning on H Pool. An osprey was flying as the common tern fished for its mate. Red-winged blackbird females chased off a snipe on the shore of H Pool then back to their nests in F marsh with breakfast.
I sat on E Pool then and watch the eaglet waiting for someone to come feed it. I was just thinking how cool it would be to have a sandhill to photograph…when out of the brush stepped a handsome fellow. He looked at me then turned and walked along the opposite shore. He took his time feeding, drinking and preening for me. I had quietly found a place to nestle into to photograph him. He was content with me keeping my distance and not being intrusive. What a delightful 45 minutes as I photographed him in the golden light of morning. While I watched the sandhill…the nesting trumpeter swan came in chasing off the young Canada geese.
Both ospreys are now on F Pool….they appear to be nesting….maybe. Still lots of snipes flying and turtles out and about. A lone loon flew over F to E Pool and beyond. It had a red band on its right leg.
Jeannie picked me up and we enjoyed a lovely afternoon of photographing our Happy Place. We found the G Pool eaglet on the edge of the nest. One of the loons was cruising around an island. We then took the Marshland Drive and found a big snapper lying on a log with a little painted turtles on E Pool. We found all the young, single trumpeter swans near the observation deck with a pair of young hooded mergansers.
There is a lot of action but at least we enjoyed the time.
In the evening Michael and I returned around 8:00pm 74 degrees and partly sunny. Goslings everywhere…F pool still on the nest…both ospreys were on the F pool nest with one flying over screaming.
I enjoyed time with my lone sandhill this time on H Pool…enjoying the setting sun. He was the highlight of my morning and evening. I love these gentle souls. Bittern and snipe were calling as I was photographing him.
There are lots of muskrats all over the Refuge. The beavers that working on a lodge have abandoned. G Pool both loons are still together. It is definitely not a good year for our loons again….to late of a spring has thrown the dynamics of the pools off considerably.
We did finally see one of the D pool loons fishing by the island near the observation deck. A pair of beavers were playing…face to face pushing each other around…like they were hugging. We were so excited to finally find a pied billed grebe on C Pool. It was getting dark so I couldn’t get any good photos. But it was great just to see one. C Pool loon is still out in the middle hopefully guarding a nest.
We enjoyed a lovely sunset with some cool cloud formations…and doe along the last marsh as we left at 9:50pm.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal June 9, 2018
We arrived so we could make a quick run through the Refuge before unpacking. 7:40pm it’s 75 degrees quiet and calm. Several Canada geese with their goslings ranging from tiny to a couple of weeks old. An osprey is fishing from a pine tree at the F/E spillway…as an eagle guards its nest on E Pool. F is still on a nest. H Pool has one common tern and three Caspian terns. We finally saw another Eastern kingbird sadly not too many around. There is one sandhill in the J channel. A few ring-necks throughout the Refuge…and turtles are out and about. A harrier flew over C marsh. The loon was far out in C Pool. We were happy to find four male wood ducks in B Pool. We ended early to get ready for tomorrow.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge June 10, 2018
Claudia dropped me off at the Fishing Loop to enjoy the sunrise. It was a perfect morngins ESE winds around 7mph at 5:45am and a few low clouds to add to the sunrise. I love being able to spend this quiet time on the Refuge. The loons wailing…the sandhills cackling…trumpeter swans trumpeting…totally magical.
I spooked a sandhill that flew over to the island on F Pool. A loon flew calling…trying to stir up trouble. Four trumpeter swans flew off E Pool to the far side of F. Eight trumpeter swans were flying over E Pool…out for their morning exercise
One H Pool one common tern was fishing diligently. He would catch something then take it to his mate who I believe is on a nest. A pair of Canada geese have two tiny goslings….but seemed fine with me in the area. A Caspian tern and osprey flew over upsetting the common tern who attacked the osprey.
I was able to watch ABJ up closer then I have all season. He even did a little preening for me. This was about 8:30am. A single loon flew over F Pool but the loons there did not respond. And osprey is at the F Pool nest. I think Dumb and Dumber are still trying to figure out where to nest. Snipes are calling everywhere…and winnowing as they flying. I also heard a sora in F marsh.
I only found one single loon on D and J Pool after Michael picked me up to go the research blind. The G Pool loons are still out together…then one of the ospreys was over at D Pool. Five swan in C marsh. The young ones seem to be spreading out a little. A pileated flew in front of us along C Pool. One lone loon on C Pool and a wood duck. We left at 10:40am to 71 and sun.
Back at 8:00pm to 73 and sun…a slight breeze…and perfect. Not a lot happening…ring-necks and wood ducks in F Pool…Canada geese and goslings. Lone loon on F Pool, common and Caspian terns on H Pool, one loon on J Pool. We witnessed a loon fight on G Pool. The territorial pair had an intruder which seems to be what is causing them not to settle down and nest. We found an American bittern at the edge of C Pool. But it was too dark and it flew into the B marsh. But the sunset was pretty…as we left at 9:50pm.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge June 5, 2018
We got to the Refuge at 9:00am 50 degrees still windy but partly sunny. Sandhill in the marsh across from F Pool. One eaglet visible in the nest at E Pool….with an adult guarding from another tree. F loons still nesting…only one visible.
F marsh a male blue-winged teal and snipes calling…also a sora. Common terns flying over H Pool…two Caspians on a spit of land.
Cormorant on G Pool. The G Pool loons were calling…because one of the G Pool eagles was flying over. The eaglet was sitting on the edge of the nest…only one visible.
Snipes calling in D marsh. Trumpeter swan feeding near the shore on C for some nice photo ops.
We checked out the North show pool…a pair of breeding solitary sandpipers was feeding along with the pair of trumpeter swans and Canada goose family with one gosling.
Back along the Fishing Loop…we found an osprey screaming and flying around the old F Pool osprey nest. Two ospreys were in the nest working on it…or else stealing sticks. We think this could be Dumb and Dumber the two very unsuccessful ospreys that have nested in several areas throughout the Refuge for almost five years. They could be who we saw in D pool nest….and possible be the ones working on a nest on A pool that Ranger Jen report to our friends. Time will tell.
This time on H Pool we found six Caspian terns…interesting. Still the G Pool loons together toward the south end of G…eaglet out on the nest…adult flying. C loon near the island….as we leave the Refuge at 12:30pm. Still a little slow on the Refuge. Hopefully there will be more young hatched next week. Always fun to photograph babies…no matter what they are.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge June 4, 2018
Cold west wind at 5:45am clouds covering the sunrise and 50 degrees with a windchill in the 30’s. But I still had Claudia drop me off to hike. Nothing better than to be alone with nature as it awakens.
F Pool loons still nesting. Merlin screaming along E/H marsh. H pool common terns and blue-winged teals. A pair of trumpeter swans flew over H where the territorial pair was out feeding together.
Wood ducks on J Pool…a lone loon on J Pool…along with the trumpeter swans. G Pool loons are still together…then a lone loon flew over…later two loons flew over calling. Kingfishers chattering. Michael picked me up at the top of D Pool. That was a long cold hike. C Pool one lone loon…kingfisher in the swamp at the end of Gray’s Creek Pool.
We took another run through. We saw ABJ at the start of the drive. Eagle on J Pool sitting in a tree but flew before I could get a photo. One lone loon on J Pool. Turtles still out laying eggs. H pool trumpeter swans appear to have abandoned their nest. They were together all day. We found a pair of common terns attacking them. The swans were on the terns island. Hopefully they have eggs there. G Pool loons were finally close enough to shore to see their bands. It appears Greenie the double green banded left leg female has reclaimed her pool after being ousted by another female. She kept returning last year keeping things stirred up. She appears to have a new mate…orange/red band on his left leg…green band on his right leg. The waves were making it difficult to get too many clear shots…but I was happy to see them.
Not much different as we end the run. At least the sun was out more than not…only 56 degrees at 11:00am. Still strong 14-16 mph winds keeping everything stirred up.
We came back at 7:00pm…61 degrees but still windy…but partly sunny. More Canada geese seem to be finally having their young…almost a month behind. I heard an American bittern in F marsh…and more in the marsh along the back side of the Fishing Loop. Hope to see them…last year was not a good year for them.
A male harrier was hunting along J channel…the beavers were still working on their new lodge. G Pool loons were still together…more turtles in the drive.
A lone sandhill in the marsh near the E/D spillway. Took a quick run through the Marshland Drive as the winds picked up and the clouds moved in. Another night without a sunset.
The young swans have all moved to the swan observation deck on E Pool. A lone sandhill in C marsh…a lone loon near the island…two sandhills in B marsh. We were treated to an afterglow of the sunset at 9:45pm.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal June 3, 2018
Typical Sunday morning…rain. We went to the research blind along the tracks of the Toonerville at noon.
7:00pm 55 degrees and a cold northwest wind. Canada geese and their goslings….looks like they lost one of the little ones….probably snapping turtle or pike.
Two wood ducks were on the small pool across from the start of the Fishing Loop. Another wood duck at the start of the Fishing Loop E Pool side. F Pool loons appear to still be nesting…only seeing one at a time.
The snipes are calling and winnowing as they fly. Good to hear so many of them. A pair of common terns flew over F Pool.
We found a sandhill on H Pool along with a Caspian tern. J Pool scouting out the trumpeter swan island. Snapping turtles are out laying eggs in this cold weather. Common yellow throated warblers singing away along J channel and back side of the Fishing Loop. We did find one lone sandhill at the end of J channel.
A beaver family was busy building what looked to be a new lodge along the back channel. Dad brought in the big sticks…mom brought the grass and mud…the kids just got in the way. Fun to watch nature at working.
We found an osprey fishing on C Poo….one of the C Pool loons…one loon on B Pool along with a pair of trumpeter swans. They C Pool swans seemed to have spread out in various areas…like the swam after Gray’s Creek Pool. We ended the day with clouds and 9:00pm.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal June 2, 2018
We arrived in time to make a quick run through the Refuge. It was still sunny but very windy…64 degrees. A merlin was screaming around the offices. ABJ was out preening at the start of F Pool. Beavers were busy. Canada geese with four and five goslings…of various sizes were on F Pool.
We found a lone sandhill on H Pool so the pair are still nesting nearby. J Pool lone loon near the trumpeter swan nesting island. Canada geese with three goslings on the west end of E Pool. A lone sandhill flew over D Pool.
B marsh we found two sandhills out feeding together. Doze trumpeter swans and three pair of ring-necks on the east end of C Pool.
The clouds swallowed up the sun before it set…at 9:10pm One loon around the bend from where they had been nesting. It was still a lovely start to a three day weekend.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge May 28, 2018
Claudia was kind enough to drive me to the Refuge before sunrise. I enjoyed a few moments of the dawn with still waters. But once the sun started to rise the clouds over took it…then it started to spritz.
We drove through the Refuge where we found three loons on G Pool. I had a friend say she had videoed three ‘fighting’ on G the day before. That isn’t a good sign. If they are nesting that could disrupt them. Then the G Pool flew around and around looking for something to catch but ended up sitting in a pine tree.
Michael and I returned at noon to temperature of 78 degrees…mostly cloudy and quiet.
The turtles were out…Canada geese and their goslings. Osprey back on I Pool dead tree. One of the sandills was feeding along the shore of H Pool. I was able to quietly follow it as it enjoyed feeding. Eventually a red-winged blackbird came over and attacked. It walked across the drive and back into the nesting sight. An osprey flew over as I was watching the sandhill.
We found bear scat along G Pool in several spots. Canada geese with three goslings on G Pool. We found the G Pool loons. We watched them as they went island to island still acting like they are looking to nest…maybe the intruders caused them to abandon their nest…or they just haven’t settled on a spot yet. Time will tell. We watched them for almost an hour.
We did finally see an eaglet in the nest on G Pool with its parent nearby. It looks to be 6-7 weeks old sitting on the edge of the nest.
A sandhill appears to be nest in the west end of E Pool marsh. The trumpeter swans are stilling hanging out in their west end, too.
Still a lone sandhill in B marsh…nest nearby? I was able to get some shots of the C Pool loon…no bands present. Sadly I did find an empty loon egg on the edge of the drive. Looks like a predator destroyed the egg. We turned into the Refuge. Hopefully the loons still have another egg to incubate or re-clutched. Time will tell.
We left the Refuge at 3:00 still 78 degrees but partly sunny.
We went home via Rudyard an still found two snowy owls.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge May 27, 2018
We were greeted by an osprey carrying building material to its nest behind the Visitor Center. We found a doe looking like she was ready to drop her fawn anytime. Hope it makes it.
The eagle is guarding its eaglet(s) on E Pool. F Pool loons are still hopefully nesting. We found a pair of common and Caspian terns on H Pool. Trumpeter swans are still on their nests.
A sandhill crane flew out of F marsh being chased by male red-winged blackbirds. It flew to the west where its mate was located. We watched the RWB continue to attack the poor things. But they are just defending their nesting area. The one sandhill lowered itself…settling on to a nest!! Yeah!! Happy to see them nesting nearby.
On J Pool the trumpeter swans are still on their island nest. One loon was cruising around the three stumps on the far side. So hopefully its mate is on a nest.
Yellow warblers and common yellow-throated warblers along the drive. G Pool lone loon along the drive…and the eagle was sitting near the nest. I still haven’t seen the eaglet(s) yet.
The young swans are enjoying their end of E Pool. The osprey was near the nest on D Pool….no sign of the loons. They are all being very elusive this year.
A lone sandhill crane in B marsh…hopefully guarding its nest near the old osprey nesting site. C Pool loon was behind the island…where two trumpeter swans and two Canada geese were sitting.
We left at 3:15pm but returned later in the day at 6:45pm still hot…85 degrees.
A female merlin was sitting in the drive having a dust bath at the start of the Marshland Drive. ABJ was around the curve preening. Of course the lighting was terrible…it’s the closest I’ve seen him all season.
Little Eastern kingbirds were at the start of the Fishing Loop. Good to see they have returned. The osprey was sitting in the dead tree on I Pool. It appears we only have the pair behind the V.C. and the pair on D Pool. We used to have four pairs.
E Pool lone loon at the east end…hopefully its mate is on a nest. The eagle was still guarding its nest. Two ospreys flew over it. One eagle took after one of them. F Pool on their nest. Sandhill in the E/H marsh in aggressive pose…so hopefully that means a nest nearby. We found a sora in F marsh…it gave me a quick shot before it went back into the brush. H Pool a common tern…pair of ring-necked ducks and a lone yellowleg were on one of the islands. An eagle was on the far side of H on a dead tree.
The monarchs are back, too. We found a beaver in the channel along with a pair of trumpeter swans. They are playing house…probably a new couple trying to figure out life.
Bittern glunking in the marsh….hopefully we’ll see more them then we did last year. G Pool was quiet. West end of E Pool…the trumpeter swans gave me some great reflection shots in the lowering sun.
We found the C Pool loon near by the island again with activity by the trumpeter swans. I stopped to capture the sun setting in the perfect spot of C Pool. As the sun lowered in the sky the calm waters reflected its beauty. I was gifted with a pair of swans slowly moving into the reflection. I was able to capture a very magical moment when the pair came together and formed a heart. Priceless. The reason I love to spend my early mornings and evenings on the Refuge.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge May 21, 2018
Claudia drove me to the Refuge so I could hike in before sunrise. My first sunrise of the season. It was a perfect. I enjoyed the sunrise with the sound of sandhills…yodeling loons…trumpeting swans…as nature awakened all around me. I enjoyed quiet time on H Pool with a single pair of Caspian terns and a pair of Common terns. The Caspian male kept bringing fish to his mate. At one point the common terns attacked the bigger Caspian terns. I found one loon on J Pool…yellow warblers and common yellow throated warblers along the drive past J Pool. I made it to G Pool where the two loons were out and about. Michael picked me up at that point. We took another run around and found F Pool loon….a lone J pool loon. We saw our first Eastern Kingbird….several pairs of kingfishers and of course lots of trumpeters swans on west E Pool. We also found about six spotted sandpipers at the end of E Pool, too. There is a pair of common mergansers possibly nesting at the end of D Pool near the E/D spillway. D Pool ospreys are on their nest.
We found a pair of sandhill cranes in B marsh…the trumpeter swans at the end of C Pool on the island…with the loons swimming around further out. We found a broad-winged hawk at the end of the run. We ended our run around noon.
We headed over to Rudyard on the way home where we found three snowy owls
Seney National Wildlife Refuge May 19, 2018
It was cold and wind as we entered the Refuge around 7:30pm We were greeted by a lone sandhill cranes. It was very quiet…trumpeter swans were on their nests on F, H and J Pool. There were still about a dozen Caspian terns on H Pool. The G Pool loons were together. Ring-necks…blue-winged teals…a wood duck scattered around the Refuge. The young trumpeter swans are congregated at the west end of E Pool. One of the C Pool loons was near the island along with a few trumpeters swans…and a lone sandhill crane in B marsh.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge May 20, 2018
It started out cloudy and cool…so we headed to the bear blind to get it set up for the season. Then in the afternoon headed up to Grand Marais to see the two visiting Brant geese that were there. Sweet little guys…very co-operative.
We headed into the Refuge at 7:15pm. Along F Pool we found a pair of Canada geese with four goslings. The E Pool eagles are standing guard on each side of the young in the nest. Two common loons on H Pool…no Caspian terns. G Pool loons were together. Snipes were calling across from G Pool. The D pool loons were way out on the back side of the pool. Enjoyed the setting sun with several trumpeter swans along C Pool. The C Pool loons were still hanging out together.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge May 14, 2018
Another gorgeous morning 50’s at 8:30 getting up to 70 degrees.
I found a beaver casually feeding along F Pool oblivious to my presence. A sweet pair of blue-winged teals was in the channel. The trumpeter swans were way out on E Pool. But my Caspian terns were my main form of entertainment. They gave me amazing aerial shots…with three or four of them chasing each other. I heard a sora across from H Pool. I heard Virginia rails at the start of the drive…and lots of snipes throughout.
I finished my hike by way of the Pine Ridge Nature Trail…still quiet…a kingfisher and a yellow warbler was all I witnessed.
We headed to Rudyard on the way home where we found two snowy owls.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge May 13, 2018
Gorgeous morning 42 degrees and sunshine. I found a pair of hooded mergansers on F Pool. I found one eaglet for sure in E Pool nest. Three pair of trumpeter swans on E Pool with one male chasing everyone off. I found a huge snapping turtle further down trying to get away from me as fast as it could. I found a female merlin on a snag in F Pool. They have a nest across the drive in a large pine tree.
More fun with the Caspian terns on H Pool. The males bringing in fish to attract a mate. Sometimes the female will take it…sometimes not. Sometimes the male won’t give it to the female that wants it…typical. Lots of copulating going on today.
I also found eight long billed dowitchers on the same spit of land with the terns.
I saw the J pool loons again further out. And the I Pool loons actually came in a little closer to where I was taking a break. Also a pair of kingfishers around I Pool.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge May 7, 2018
Another nice morning…but still cold as I hiked in to the Refuge. I was excited to see three white pelicans flying over E Pool. I had a blast on E Pool with the trumpeter swans…lots of challenging going on…young chasing young…pairs chasing off young. I did still see the loons briefly. The eaglet was visible. Over 30 Caspian terns on H Pool along with a few yellowlegs and the trumpeter swan on its nest. I Pool three pair of trumpeter swans vying for territory. I continued along to J Pool and I Pool to finish my hike after four hours. Not much action along the way…a few trumpeter swans…ring-necks…blue-winged teals…still a little slow after a late winter. I did see an osprey on the F Pool nest…but only one…screaming. Also found loon pairs on J and I Pool. As I was leaving the nesting ospreys at the Visitors Center were challenged by another pair of ospreys. I went to the North Show Pool and found 40 + yellowlegs and a few blue winged teals.
On the way home we found five snowy owls at Rudyard on just the Loop.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal May 6, 2018
It was raining most of the morning. So I arrived around noon to cloudy skies and 50’s. There were a few ring-neck duck…a common merganser pair…and of course Canada geese along F Pool. A pileated flew over me further down along F Pool. I found the east E Pool loons together. E Pool eagles also have at least one eaglet…possibly two! There were tons of trumpeter swans on E Pool…quite entertaining. I also found 20+ Caspian terns on H Pool. I sat and enjoyed just watching them. I also found three sandhill cranes were feeding and two pair of green-winged teals…and a few yellowlegs… were at the far end. I decided to back track to check on the F Pool loons. I did see ABJ or V4 near the long island sleeping. While I was watching them a pair of trumpeter swans came up to visit me…up close and personal.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge April 30, 2018
I decided to take it easy and spend some time on the North Show Pool. It was nice to just hunker down and enjoy the wildlife around me. The sun was shining but definitely cold out. Blue-winged teals were vying for the attention of a female…yellowlegs were flitting about. A pair of sandhill cranes appeared on the back side of the pool. An osprey and cormorant flew over. A pair of Northern pintails flew in which was fun to see. I stayed for a few hours then headed out. It was just great to spend time out with nature again.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge April 29, 2018
My first time to hike the Refuge…since my car accident April 17. I have a chipped C5 so have to wear a neck brace. Ice is still on most of the pools but breaking up. I found ABJ and mate out farther…they just returned this week. F Pool buffleheads…common mergansers…and a young eagle flying over. I found the E Pool eagles have at least one eaglet! I found a couple of pair of Caspian terns on H Pool….along with green-winged teals and American widgeons. The song sparrows and red-winged blackbirds are busy and singing. The young eagle was sitting in a big tree on the back side of J Pool. When it flew off…I heard the wail of a loon. Along I Pool trumpeter swan were have a squabble with Canada geese…spooking off a few ring-necked ducks. Then I found a lone loon out past the ice.
I ended my four hour day with a quick trip to the North Show Pool where the territorial pair of swans came up to me. Sadly people feed them…not a good thing to do. They eat vegetation…no bread. But they gave me some great photo ops. Happy to be back at my Happy Place.
All Photographs Copyrighted by Michael & Teresa McGill/McGills Nature in Motion-Unauthorized use prohibited