Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal September 10, 2018
I was on the Refuge around 6:50 am. 38 degree I watched the sunrise on F Pool with the Canada geese and a pair of swans.
J loon chick and a pair of sandhill cranes were out too far for pics. I did find a couple of wood ducks near the end of J…one in full breeding plumage. As I was driving along the channel...I thought "wouldn't it be lovely if I had a pair of sandhill cranes in this gorgeous lighting?" And there they were. Seriously.
The sharp-tailed grouse were in the same are along J channel. There were two pairs of sandhills along the back drive…they flew to the backside of H Pool. The cobwebs throughout the Refuge were gorgeous. I am always amazed at the intricacy that such a small insect can create. Loons on G Pool were close enough to the shore for some decent photos in the morning fog.
Sometimes we are in such a hurry to go forward...we forget to look back at the beauty we just past. I find that I'm in such a hurry to see what's around the next corner...that I, too, can miss out on something I just drove by. If I hadn't stopped and glanced behind me I would have missed this beautiful scene. The rising sun was reflecting the green of the trees on the water while this pair of trumpeter swans was sharing a meal. A simple but perfect moment.
I found thirty plus wood ducks in C Pool close to the shore but the lighting was too dark for decent shots…but at least they are here.
I did find one at the end of C Pool in the light as it crossed over a downed log and swam away.
8:45am I found more little pied billed grebes on F Pool…and throughout the Refuge.
The eagle was sitting in its tree on E Pool. I was treated to an American bittern in H channel. The family of sandhill cranes were on the shore of J Pool. As I stopped they flew...but just across to the spit of land. I was able to spend a quiet half an hour or so with them as they feed along the spit. Another couple of people arrived but didn’t disturb them. Another pair of sandhills flew to another island. The dad didn’t like them there so he flew over to chase them off. It’s always fun to observe nature. The other pair squawked and flew across to H Pool. I finally left the family as they moved further away. I did see the sharp-tailed grouse again. This time I was able to get a couple of photos before they flew off.
The G Pool loons…father and child were still out and about. But the adult is always unhappy with anyone’s presence. It calls to the young and then move away from the shore. I also found a young merlin along the drive near B marsh.
10:30am I found a pair of sandhills close to the shore on H Pool. As I was photographing them I spotted a great blue heron further down. By the time I stopped and tried to quietly get closer…it spotted me and flew. Oh well…at least I saw it.
As my magical day continued...once again I thought..."wouldn't it be great if the American bittern was in the channel again?" And like magic....there it was. And...it let me photograph it as it worked the whole channel. Unfortunately some people taking a brisk walk around the drive walked right up to me...crunching gravel nosily. They stopped pointed at the bittern with their walking stick...and poof...it took off. URGGHHHH!! Seriously??? People if you see someone quietly...intently photographing something...quietly wait...or quietly take a wide berth around them. Thank you.
It was getting hotter but I really wanted to spend a little more time with the J Pool chick and make note of its bands. It was along the straight away enjoying it new freedom with the higher water levels. I stopped to get some shots when…of course…another car came up behind me. I decided to pull ahead…park and walk back. I ended up walk clear back to the channel and then back to the truck. But it was worth getting some nice shots of the chick and its new banding. J dot white band on his right and red left band with an invert triangle delta symbol.
I left around noon and returned at 6:30 to 70 degrees and sun. I made a quick run through the Fishing Loop to check on the loon chicks. Everything status quo. I found a doe and fawn near the end of the drive. I made my last run through as the sun was ready to set. I had a doe jump out of F Pool and run in front of me. Then I spent the sunset with the east E Pool loons and a trumpeter swans in the reflections of the setting sun. Perfect.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal September 9, 2018
I arrive at the Refuge around 6:45am to a few clouds and a slight westerly breeze. There were a lot of wood ducks throughout the Refuge…along with a few hoodies on D Pool. Unfortunately my autofocus was acting up on my big lens so I had to manually focus. But I did get some cool shots of the eight young common mergansers on D Pool later. One had caught a fish and the rest of the siblings were chasing it. It finally was able to swallow the quite large fish before the others got it. Very cool.
I found one lone sandhill in B marsh. Later I found eight sandhills around H Pool…along with two deer.
Little J pool chick was out and about…along with a couple of yellow legs….and a pair of sandhill cranes.
Another pair of sandhills at the west end of E Pool. The sandhills are starting to migrate through. Hopefully we will be getting more of them gathering in the area. Love spending a foggy morning with them as they all prepare to head off to feed.
I sadly had to leave to head over to the research blind. It’s always hard to leave on such a gorgeous day.
I’m back at 5:45pm to 66 degrees and sunshine. Everything is quiet as a southwest wind blows. Still sandhills on J along with the young loon.
I finally see that G Pool loon chick is banded. It is right leg yellow K…left band red?
I was so excited to find a great blue heron stabbing a bullhead in C Pool surrounded by wood ducks. GBH have been very scarce this year.
6:50pm two pairs of sandhills were on the east end of E Pool. I was also excited to find a pair of sandhills with a full sized colt on J Pool. Then I found eight sharp-tailed grouse in the drive along the J channel. Nice to see so many. Then either another GBH or the same one was further down toward the end of the drive. A little sunset moment and home.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal September 3, 2018
We spent the morning at the black bear research blind witnessing the interaction of a young female wolf and an older female black bear.
I arrived on the Refuge around 4:30pm to 79 degrees and partly sunny. There were way too many people. But by the time I came back through most of them had cleared out. I had fun with the pileated that are hanging out along the Entrance drive. Everything was being very quiet. I did eventually enjoy a quiet few moments with G Pool loon as it chillaxed along the shore. Sadly the clouds moved in to obliterate the sunset. But…I waited…just in case. The sun had just set as the clouds lifted…making for an amazing afterglow!!! I’m so happy I waited.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal September 2, 2018
I arrived at the Refuge around 6:30am to fog and clouds and a southwest wind. The trumpeter swans were waking up...and fishing osprey.
Little J Pool chick was just catching a crayfish as I approached. I left it in peace to enjoy its breakfast. With the pool shrinking its hunting space is disappearing being forced to be close to the shore where people have closer access to it.
There was also a pair of sandhills and lots of Canada geese enjoying the low waters on J Pool.
There was another pair of sandhills at the end of H marsh. G Pool momma ring-neck with her four large ducklings was being steered by the female loon away from her mate and chick. The loon then floated by quickly getting to her mate and young on the far side of the pool.
There was also a dozen or more trumpeter swans and a pair of sandhill cranes at the far end of the pool with the loon family.
There was a young osprey fishing on D Pool along with four young hooded mergansers.
I found the American bittern by the C sign around 8:00am. There are more and more wood ducks on the pools but the males are still not decked out in their fall breeding plumage.
I spotted a 4th year eagle fishing on C Pool. It flew across to B and landed in a tree to dry its wings. Seven wood ducks and several pied billed grebes were at the end of C Pool.
I spotted a great blue heron in the middle of the drive by the last marsh…but it saw me before I good stop to photograph it.
8:45am I find a great egret out in F Pool near the osprey nest on a dead tree. Hopefully it will stick around. The kingfishers are waking up and flying every which way. I also found a lone pied billed grebe on H Pool….as the sun tried to peek out.
I was out checking the shoreline on J Pool to look for shorebirds or bittern when the loon chick popped up out of the water. It went up on the shore to defecate…as we’ve seen it do in the past. But I’ve never been this close to it. It’s usually across the channel. Loon specialist, Damon McCormick from Common Coast said they do this to mark their territory. From the sky another loon flying over can see that this territory is taken. Interestingly this is the only pool I have witnessed this action.
The 4th year eagle was still on its tree on B Pool. Just as I pulled away another bald eagle came in to knock it out of the tree…a chase took place…no pics.
10:00 the osprey is screaming from the nest area…the east E Pool chick and one adult were out and about. A single common merganser was out on E Pool. I got to spend a few minutes with the west E Pool loon and chick before the swan observation deck.
A pair of sandhill cranes was on the west end of E on a spit of land with a trumpeter swan and gull. The bittern was still in C pool.
Then I was happy to find the American bittern in the beaver marsh. I’m always happy when I can see these elusive waders.
11:30 I was hoping to find the egret close but it was out in F Pool too far for photos. There was three pair of sandhills on H Pool. The loon chick was near the pier but too many people. It is 80 and humid…and way too many people out and about so I head out. But not before I got to see my bittern one more time.
As we were heading back toward the Refuge from dinner the sun just started to drop below the clouds. Michael drove me for one run through the Refuge to catch what sunset I could. It was amazing. As the sun set the afterglow was like the sky was on fire. I enjoyed some quiet time with the west E Pool loons as the parent was being dinged by the chick. So many gorgeous moments to capture…so glad we stopped.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal August 28, 2018
After a stormy evening and rainy morning I decided to head to the Refuge to check on the wildlife. I arrived at 10:30am.
The J Pool loon daddy was with his young…so that made me happy. A pair of fishermen on J Pool spooked a pair of sandhill cranes that I was ready to photograph. They were close just hanging out on the sandbar. That spooked the G Pool eagle that was fishing from a tree just down the drive. Not a good way to start my gloomy morning.
There was nothing else exciting to write about. The wildlife was all still hunkered down from the storm and rain. I left after an hour.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal August 27, 2018
We spent an exciting morning along the tracks of the Toonerville Trolley. I decided since the sun was shining and storms were predicted for later tonight that I had better make the most of the nice day. I arrived on the Refuge at 3:30pm. Southwest winds…humid and partly sunny.
The F Pool trumpeter swans still have their one little cygnet…whether a second clutch or a new nesting pair…hope it grows quickly.
The J Pool loon chick was further down the channel by itself. I didn’t stop to bother it. I found an American bittern in the marsh across from J Pool. It’s been a bittern weekend. There were quite a few warblers along the back channel. I also found a lone double crested cormorant on G Pool. Lots of wood ducks along C Pool…still not in their fall breeding plumage.
At 4:30pm I found one eagle in the trees near the nest on E Pool. The east E Pool loon and chick were near the spillway. The winds were picking up…very gusty. At the end of C Pool I found three young hooded mergansers lounging on a sandbar amongst the trumpeter swans.
I did find a pair of sandhill cranes by the C/B spillway…they walked down the drive and flew into B pool. Then I found a young osprey fishing along the end of C Pool. It appears the parents have left…heading to South America…leaving the young to fend for themselves. Tough love.
Yeah…another bittern in the marsh. It was so close I had to pull back my zoom. I was able to follow it down the marsh as it was hunting. What a special experience. I left it alone hoping it would be there on my way back through.
5:45pm I took the Fishing Loop. The winds were dying down a little but the clouds were moving in.
One poor osprey young was in the old nest screaming for some attention. Sad…this was a late nest…the parents still left them…ready or not. They are flying but it takes a little time to hone their hunting skills.
J Pool was quiet…a few terns…Canada geese…two pair of sandhill cranes and the loon chick.
I was excited to find a momma sharp-tailed grouse and four young at the big curve across from G Pool. These are first young STG that I have seen this season.
The G loon and chick were out and about. Kingfishers were everywhere but not sitting still for photo ops. I also found a merlin along G Pool.
Yeah…the bittern was still in the marsh…hunting right out in the open. It allowed me to get some awesome shots of it before it realized I was there and flew.
7:00pm the dark clouds were really moving in. I did find a spotted sandpiper on E Pool. The west E Pool loons were in the cove before the eagle curve…encroaching on east territory. The sun was out enough to cast a lovely light on them as momma did a little fishing and baby begged. I’m so glad I early enough to experience some lovely moments with the wildlife. Timing and luck are indeed my best friends…some days.
The sun was sadly swallowed by the clouds before 8:00pm. But I did get to witness the east E Pool loon chick trying to fly….and belly landing. It’s bittersweet to see…knowing it won’t be long and they will be gone. The west loons were just around the corner from where they had been. I wished them well and ended my lovely afternoon/evening.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal August 26, 2018
I did get to the Refuge in time last night to capture a gorgeous sunset…then I arrive at the Refuge in the morning at 6:45am to a quiet foggy 58 degrees. Wood ducks…trumpeter swans…hooded mergansers and a great blue heron…were all that were stirring.
By 8:00am the sun was trying to peek through the fog. The J Pool loons were at the far end along with a pair of sandhill cranes. The G Pool loons were near the shore. Greenie was preening while her mate was further down with the chick.
I found three sandhills in B marsh…lots of little pied billed grebes and woodies throughout C Pool.
I was thrilled to find not one but two bittern in the far marsh. One even posed for me in the fog.
9:15am the fog was still heavy…but it finally started to lighten as I found V7 the male east E Pool loon by the eagle corner. He was quite content to hang out with me…and a few trumpeter swans. I love getting to spend some quiet time with these beautiful creatures.
Even better…I found the west E Pool loon and chick really close to the shore. I was able to hide in the brush as the youngster tried to get its parent to feed it. The adult was more concerned with what was flying overhead. The adults have to be ever vigilant. Sadly we have lost some of the young loon chicks to the G Pool eagles this year.
I was excited to find an American bittern in the C Pool sign area. It was hunting and didn’t even noticed me. It slowly worked its way back into the reeds.
By 11:00 the sun was out but clouds were moving in. I saw one loon on F Pool but not close enough to confirm if it was ABJ. It was sad not to have them be successful with their nest. Every year becomes more precious with this very special loon.
I found a pair of sandhills before the J channel. The G Pool Greenie was out with her young at the south end of the pool out farther. One of the eagles was screaming from the back of the pool. The loon wailed…calling her mate.
By noon I made a last quick run through to meet up with my friends the Rautiolas. I found a small flock of blue winged teals on H Pool. Further down I found another yet another bittern!! It let me get a few shots before it flew.
Then amazingly I found yet another bittern along the shore on J Pool. At first I thought it was a piece of driftwood. It stretched it neck out…hunting…then spied me…and took off. That was the fifth American bittern of the morning!!
I left the Refuge feeling very happy with my morning. But sadly the weather turned on us and I didn’t return for an evening run.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal August 20, 2018
I was on the Refuge around 6:30am to 60 degrees and foggy overcast. The east E Pool loons were all together. The west E Pool loons were just past the swan observation deck. One adult and feeding the young. The young eagle was screaming across the pool putting the adult on alert and calling for its mate. The mate eventually made its way down to the family. The beaver family was not happy with me being near their lodge. They kept slapping their tails on the water to drive me away. I left them so they could tend to getting breakfast.
A pair of trumpeter swans and sandhill cranes were on a point at the end of E Pool. Wood ducks flew out of the channel in the C marsh. The kingfishers were busy screaming and flying everywhere.
As I was turning the curve just past the B Pool drive…a dark gray wolf walked across the drive!! It looked to be a younger adult. It headed off into the woods on the B side. No photos but cool to witness.
Then I found an American bittern and a great blue heron in the last marsh. The GBH flew off…of course along with five wood ducks…but the bittern let me take some photos even though they were at a high ISO.
7:4am I took the Fishing Loop. It was still overcast with no sign of the sun. The little blue-winged teal family was in its usual place on H pool. They dove as a young northern harrier past over.
The J Pool loons were hanging out at the far end of the pool. A beaver was swimming across the channel with a load of fresh branches.
There were a few wood ducks…twelve young hooded mergansers and several Caspian terns further down on J Pool. A doe ran across the drive around the curve.
G Pool is now hosting lots of the younger trumpeter swans. The little momma ring-neck still has her four babies. The loon family was all together, too…nice to see them doing ok.
9:00am still overcast as I take another run through the Fishing Loop. One of the young ospreys flew over F, landing in a tree. But as I got closer it kept flying ahead trying to get away from me. The other young one was sitting in the nest screaming for someone to feed it.
I did see a peak of sun at 9:35am. I decided not to bother the poor J pool loons. I think they have been stressed enough with people and the lack of feeding area. Everything was being so quiet.
I found a half a dozen young hoodies on D Pool…no sign of the loons. C Pool had a pair of sandhills preening on a spit of land with a pair of wood ducks.
I did find a young kingfisher that was willing to be photographed. On the last run through the Marshland Drive I spent a little time watching the west E Pool loons. Mom was to the east of the swan observation deck. Junior was further down. It is banded right blue band E. I found dad further down along the straight away preening.
A merlin flew across the end of C Pool…again. And I found another bittern in the last marsh…but it flew off shortly after I stopped. I ended my short weekend at 11:30am…to mostly cloudy skies.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal August 19, 2018
I decided I needed to see the sun rise on the Refuge before heading off to the bears. So I was on the Refuge around 6:30am to 46 degrees and a slight breeze. I found a young osprey along E Pool while its sibling was in the nest calling for breakfast. Yellowlegs were squeaking on H Pool. J Pool had two pair of sandill cranes. I watched the male loon fly to the back side of the pool where his chick was.
The G Pool loons were on the far end of the Pool. I decided to park and walk down along E Pool to catch the sun rising through the fog. Perfect morning. Momma common merganser was out with her eight almost full grown chicks. Two young kingfishers were chasing each other around. The trumpeter swans were farther down…but still able to get them in a shot or two. It wasn’t a very heavy fog. And sadly it was all gone by the time I got around to the end of C Pool. I love to shot the rays of sun piercing through the fog…but not today. Actually that was fine…I had to get back to pick up Michael to head to the research blind. I did have a merlin fly over the end of C Pool. Then a broad-winged hawk was perched in a tree along the end of the drive. Of course it flew just as I got the camera on it. A great blue heron flew out of the ditch at the end of the drive and flew across the road to sit in a tall pine tree. I decided to check out the Show pools just for the fun of it. I was happy to find a co-operative pair of sandhill cranes enjoying the quiet morning.
I was back on the Refuge at 6:00pm to 80 degrees and very hazy. Everything was so quiet. J pool loons were at the far end of the channel. The trumpeter swan pair…and seven Caspian terns…along with two hooded mergansers and a pair of sandhill cranes were the only entertainment.
Nice to start seeing a few more wood ducks…still in eclipse along with more pied billed grebes…mostly in Pool.
7:30pm I was thrilled to find the two pileated woodpeckers hanging out along the Entrance Drive again. They were so entertaining. The one seems to like finding food on the ground while the other is a true woodpecker…getting its food from the dead trees.
I took the Marshland Drive. One lone sandhill flew over E Pool. The west end E loons were near the swan observation deck. The other loon was down further…calling. I was very disappointed. The sun disappeared behind a bank of low clouds around 8:25pm and never made another appearance.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal August 18, 2018
We made it up to our trailer in time for me to make a quick run through the Refuge. It’s always nice to just take a quiet moment and destress from the work week.
I arrived at 7:45pm…to cooler temperatures…lovely. A cormorant was in the eagle tree along the Marshland Drive .The west E Pool loon family was out together. Then I settled in to enjoy the still waters and quiet sunset. Yet another gorgeous red setting sun over still water. Perfect. The sun sets earlier and rises later shortening my precious moments out with nature. Always bittersweet.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal August 14, 2018
I arrived on the Refuge around 6:30am to 62 degrees. Another foggy morning…with a loon wailing…perfect. There is truly nothing like being out with nature as it awakens…especially on a foggy morning. The sounds carry…sandhills cackling…the trumpeter swans trumpeting…the loons wailing…the ospreys crying to be fed.
The sun finally broke through the clouds as I was at the west end of E Pool. It was perfect to have a pair of trumpeter swans to photograph as the rising sun reflected on the water. The rest of the first drive was filled with amazing scenery till the end. The sun breaking through the fog…fragmenting rays bursting through the pines…pure magic.
Love seeing more wood ducks and pied billed grebes. The loons were together on both west and east E Pool loons. . As I went down the drive I found an eagle in the tall pine in the C marsh. I stopped to snap a photo. It flew off…down the drive further…into another pine tree where another eagle was sitting. By the time I got up there…the one had flown across the pool. The other one stayed and let me take me a few shots before it lifted off and flew.
Then I found a pair of sandhill cranes in the drive. They let me take a few photos before flying off across E Pool. I found an American bittern in C Pool near the sign…but the lighting was bad…but still great to see it. I found the D Pool loon with the chick in the cove. It’s good to at least get to see them. They have been so elusive.
On my last run through I got spend a little time with J Pool loons. Daddy drifted up so close to me I felt I could touch him. Yellowlegs…plovers…hoodies…terns…sandhills…all enjoying the eats on J Pool. I was thrilled to find a pair of sandhill cranes with their one large colt in the marsh past Gray’s Creek. It was a great way to end my three day weekend at my Happy Place. I left sadly at 11:30am.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal August 13, 2018
I entered the Refuge around 6:30am and 53 degrees and fog. I enjoyed almost two hours on J Pool watching sandhill cranes…kingfishers…yellowlegs…great blue herons…sandpipers…hooded mergansers and of course the J Pool loon daddy and chick. I enjoyed my time with the loons who are pretty much stuck in the channel since there is an issue with spillway leaking. The Refuge is working on remedying the problem. I was able to capture them as the Red sun broke through the fog. It is truly a magical time to just be able to quietly observing nature as its best….like a father tending his young chick.
The cobwebs throughout the Refuge were gorgeous!! A little fog and sun makes them glisten like diamonds. The G Pool ring-neck momma with her four growing chicks are still doing well. We are starting to see more pied billed grebes and wood ducks throughout the Refuge, too.
At 10:00am I took the Marshland Drive. One of the adult east E Pool loons and their young were out farther in the pool. I had a northern harrier fly out of the woods along the drive by the eagle tree. The west end E Pool chick was near the shore all alone. The parents were no doubt partying somewhere. Poor baby.
Yes…I was right. I just caught the end of a loon party on D Pool with six loons. Three of them flew off as I stopped to watch. One came up near the corner of the observation deck. I thought it would fly…but instead it belly swam almost half way across the pool along the shoreline where I tried to keep up with it. When I looked at my photos I saw that it was the female west end E Pool loon. Then one the male D Pool loon worked its way down to the end where she was hanging out. They had a little mini party…peering…pointing and diving. The worked their way down along the shore right in front of me. All of a sudden she started to take off…then belly landed right in front of me. Then in came another loon. It was Z4 the female territorial D loon. She joined the party…long enough to cut the party short. The west E Pool female took off and the D loons flew back to where I’m sure their chick was hanging out…away from trouble. What a cool thing to experience. I love being able to have my quiet time with these amazing creatures.
I finished my drive with a great blue heron flying across C to B pool. It was good to finally see a few of them around the Refuge. When we first started coming here over fifteen years ago the great blues were everywhere.
I didn’t make it back to the Refuge till 7:20pm and 80 degrees. I was happy to find both loons on F Pool. The blue winged teals were still hanging out on H Pool. The J and G Pool loons were out and about. Then I got to enjoy another gorgeous red sunset with the C Pools in the reflection. Perfect.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal August 12, 2018
After our morning along the tracks of the Toonerville Trolley I made it to the Refuge around 5:30pm. It was 85 degrees.
The F Pool trumpeter swans still have their tiny lone cygnet. Apparently they reclutched and managed to hatch one surviving cygnet. Hopefully it makes it. I also spotted one of the loons on F Pool.
J Pool keeps getting lower and lower but at least the sandhills and terns seem to like it…along with some shorebirds. The loons are pretty much stuck in the channel in order to be able to dive and feed.
There was a pair of sandhills in the channel further down. G Pool ring-necked family is still doing well…one adult loon and chick were close enough to check on.
Wood ducks and one loon on C Pool…then I found an American bittern in the first little marsh past Gray’s Creek.
Then the next time the F Pool ospreys were screaming for attention. Eastern kingbirds were feeding on bugs in a frenzy. H Pool the family of blue-winged teals were enjoying some quiet time. Also found some on J Pool along with the noisy kingfishers.
Quite a few pied billed grebes were popping up on C Pool. Then I found yet another American bittern in the last marsh on the drive.
I had the most fun on my last trip through the Refuge. I found a pair of young pileated woodpeckers hanging out along the Entrance Rd. Then I enjoyed see both the east and west E Pool loons. Also the D Pool loons were in the cove. They have been very elusive lately.
I ended the evening enjoying the red sun setting along C Pool as a lone loon wailed. It was a beautiful sight but the red is caused from the wildfires out West and Canada. The red waves are the only ones that do not scatter from the gases emitted from the smoke…causing a very red sunset and sunrise.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal August 11, 2018
I arrived on the Refuge around 7:00pm. It was lovely evening. I found the G Pool loon and chick near the shore. But as usual they moved quickly out. It’s just nice to see the one remaining chick doing well. A small group of blue-winged teals flew over the pool, too.
I found a pair of noisy sandhills in the B marsh. Hopefully that means they have a colt hidden somewhere. I also found a merlin at the end of C and a bittern flew.
I took the Marshland as the sun was setting. I saw the F Pool loons out together and an osprey flying back to the F nest with a fish. I enjoyed the east E Pool loon family in the sunset reflections. And was given a spectacular huge red sunset. The smoke from the wildfires out West and in Canada is affecting the sun. The red waves do not scatter from the gases emitted from the fires…so they are the most intense at this time….breathtakingly beautiful.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal August 6, 2018
I woke up to rain…so waited it out till after 8:30 when the sun finally peeked through. The F Pool swans still have one very small cygnet. It hasn’t been a good year for the trumpeter swan cygnets this year.
ABJ and V4 came swimming in toward the shore. They got into the corner of the cove…and took off flying. Who knows how long they will stay since they didn’t have young this year. Always sad to see these two leave. At their age you never know if they will return…but always hope.
The F Pool ospreys were screaming to be fed…the blue-winged teals were in the same place as last night. The young kingfishers were screaming and flying everywhere. I heard yellowlegs and terns on J Pool carrying on.
I found the J Pool loons in their channel momma and chick sleeping. The pool seems to be getting lower and lower again…causing them to stay in the channel where their limited food source is.
The male took off and swam to the north end of the channel. It started to take off and ended up belly landing but not too close. The female and chick worked their way back and forth just relaxing.
All of a sudden the male took off….walking on water…and flying right by me!! What a great moment…that I was able to capture. The female and young continued to hang out nearby. The common terns and Caspian terns were crashing into the water trying to catch something. They are always fun to watch and listen to.
Finally the female went into the defensive mode…as the male came circling back landed to the north of them again. He eventually made his way back to his family…preening all the way.
The little one went up on shore to defecate…I believe because of not wanted to contaminate their limited food source. Both adults went into defensive mode as an eagle flew over.
The female is banded blue + over Yellow + left leg…orange triangle over silver right leg. The male is banded Green left and Silver over white right.
I found a pair of sandhills in the flats at the end of J Pool. They didn’t like me stopping to take their photo so I quickly moved on. Along the channels I found another pair in the drive. They didn’t seem in a hurry to move…but eventually flew over and landed in the sedge.
I didn’t see any signs of the G or D loon families.
I took the Marshland Drive to check on the other loon families. I found the east E Pool chick almost devoid of his baby down….looking all grown up. The E Pool eagle was near its nest watching over its territory. One of the adult loons came in to make their young was fine with me photographing it. I didn’t stay too long…not wanting to upset them.
I did have a couple of the young merlins screaming over my head…but they didn’t settle down to get let me take a pic.
The west E Pool loons were together in their old area. At first I didn’t see the young…so I thought the eagles had gotten it too. Luckily it was in the shadows near the west shore. I took a few photos then moved on. Happy to see they were doing fine.
At the end of west E I found a momma common merganser with eight growing young sitting along the shoreline. I took a few shots…then quickly moved on…not wanting to disturb their rest.
The C Pool loons were still hanging out together. They probably won’t stay too long either…since they didn’t have any young this year. Bummer.
I left the Refuge at noon. It was a short but very productive three hours on the Refuge. But I’ll be back next weekend for three days.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal August 5, 2018
It was storming Saturday night when we got up north…then went to the bears on Sunday morning. By the time we got back the rain had moved in. So finally around 5:30 I made a run through the Refuge. The osprey chicks on F Pool look about ready to fledge. I found a family of blue-winged teals on H Pool huddled along the shoreline. A momma ring-neck duck with four small ducklings on G Pool…and sadly only one G Pool loon chick on the far end of the pool. I heard from the loon specialist Damon McCormick that one of the adult G Pool eagle took the little loon in the shallowing waters. So sad to lose one…the parents had worked so diligently to protect them.
I found a couple of different pied billed grebes on C Pool…a deer in the marsh…and the C Pool loons out together. The clouds moved back in so I headed home.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal July 31, 2018
It was 54 degrees as I entered the Refuge. The fog was thick…again…but it did brighten up a little faster than on Sunday. I spent some quiet foggy time with the J pool family. They were not at all upset with me like they were last night. A lone loon flew over and they didn’t even respond to it.
The scenery all around the Refuge was gorgeous…sparkling cobwebs and glistening grasses…just like twinkling Christmas lights.
The reflections in the still waters were breathtaking…at every turn. It was the perfect morning to just enjoy the sights and sound of nature.
My second run through along the Marshland I found both the east and west E Pool loons doing well. I had fun with four merlins sitting in the eagle tree along the drive. No sign of D loon all day. C Pool loons were out together.
I made a quick third run on the Fishing Loop…where I found the great egret preening in a dead tree in the F marsh. I was able to wade through the tall very wet ferns and reeds to get close enough…without it knowing I was there. I was able to get some nice photos of it…regardless of the soaking wet pants.
What a lovely way to end my three amazing days on the Refuge. A gift from Above for sure.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal July 30, 2018
We headed back to our black bear research blind in the morning. Then the weather changed. We had a storm roll through in the afternoon. I didn’t get back on the Refuge till 7:30pm…right when the sun came back out. The osprey chicks were active. I found the bittern in its usually spot. I was able to some decent shots before it turned and wandered back into the reeds.
J Pool loons were near the shore. But they were very skittish. The male wailed as I got out of the truck. I didn’t want to cause them any further distress so I took a couple of photos and moved on. They are usually so docile when I am photographing them. Something definitely had them on the defensive.
I found a lone sandhill out beyond the bridge The G Pool loons were doing fine. A lone osprey was sitting in the old D Pool osprey nest. Swans were enjoying the quiet and peaceful waters. I made a quick run through the Marshland. All the loons were out too far for photos. I left the Refuge just before the sun set…because I wanted to get up early for the sunrise.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal July 29, 2018
It was 49 degrees just before 6:00am…a low bank of clouds in the east…the full moon shining. But the fog became heavier as the morning progressed. I had to wait till 7:30 am to get a glimpse of the sun. The cobwebs laden with dew were gorgeous in the soft light…thousands and thousands of them throughout the Refuge. The loons…sandhill cranes and eagles called through the fog…magical.
I found a 2nd year eagle in the dense fog sitting on the merlin tree on G Pool. It flew…and the loons starting yodeling not happy with the situation. I found them just down the pool trying to keep their two chicks safe. Then an intruding loon flew over. The juvie eagle was down in the feeding tree on E Pool calling to be feed. The fog was so thick you couldn’t see anything on the pools.
I started the Marshland Drive around 8:30am. The east E Pool loons were in the cove. I sat quietly and brush and enjoyed the moments. The fog was just trying to lift as the male loon came in with a little breakfast for their six week old. This is the oldest loon on the Refuge. The parents have taken very good care and protected their young. The female stayed and watched over the young as it slept. It finally woke back up asking for more food…nudging its momma’s neck to be fed. I spent at least 45 minutes with them. Magical. The chick is now banded right leg white NL or N7…left silver.
As I rounded the ‘eagle nest’ curve…there were the west E Pool loons. This is quite a ways from where they usually hang out. Sadly they have lost their one chick that had recently been banded. As I watched them feed the young…I heard the juvenile eagle calling to the west. I would investigate after I left the loons.
The male loon eventually swam off…heading back toward the east. I followed him. The sun was just breaking through the fog around 9:30am. I was treated to some amazing close ups of this handsome male in the morning light. He eventually headed back to his family…as I did I. I bid them well…and went to find out what was up with the young eagle screaming.
I spotted not only the young G Pool eagle but the 2nd year eagle I had seen earlier on G Pool. They were in a tall pine tree along the drive. I had to access the shoreline in order to get the shot. I was fortunate to shoot them both together before the 2nd year spotted me and flew off. The young one sat there long enough for me to get a nice close up of it.
They were sitting in the area that the west E pool usually hung out…coincidence?
I could hear an osprey crying somewhere…probably not happy with the eagles either.
I found one intruding loon on D Pool. As the D pool loons approached…it took off. The two C Pool loons were out together. No partying this morning. Bummer.
I took one more quick loop on the Fishing Loop. ABJ and V4 were out and about together. The two osprey chicks on F Pool are really growing. I did get to see the G pool loons this time through…up close and personal but heading out as soon as I stopped. At least they are being very protective of their two precious chicks.
I headed out of the Refuge at 11:30am. What a gorgeous amazing morning I had here.
I was back at 6:45pm to still quiet water and warm temps. One of the E Pool eagles is finally back guarding its nesting area.
I was thrilled to find a great egret on H Pool!! I spent quite a bit of time just enjoying it. The lighting was a little harsh…but it didn’t really matter. It’s just great to have one back in the area.
I didn’t see any bitterns…or the J Pool loons…the G pool loons were out farther…an eagle was sitting in the old D Pool osprey nest. I found a pied billed grebe on C Pool. A loon flew over C Pool loons as the sun was setting. I enjoyed a beautiful sunset to end my awesome day on the Refuge.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal July 24, 2018
It was a gorgeous morning on the Refuge. The sun had a few clouds to start its rise…but cleared and turned into a picture perfect day. The G Pool loons were close to the shore but of course moved quickly out. That’s ok…these a very good parents.
The fledged eaglet was sitting in the feeding tree on E Pool with one of its parents nagging it for breakfast. They flew back to G Pool where the loons of course called frantically.
When I got to D Pool I saw three loons near the observation deck. I decided to sit in the brush and see if others would join the party. It wasn’t long when one…then two…then six had joined the party. They went to the center of the pool to swim…point and dive. They were very quiet…in the foggy morning sunrise. FYI Z4 is sporting new jewelry on below her old leg bands…new bright red with white triangles on them. Interesting.
Several of the loons took off…but eventually all flew back. By the time I had spent an hour and a half with them…I had fifteen loons which of course included the host and hostess. They finally did a little belly swimming and bolting for me before they were done. I left to enjoy the early morning light before it got too harsh.
On my second run through I found the F Pool trumpeter swans with only one cygnet. The G Pool loons were available for a few nice photos before they once again headed out to the middle of the pool…as two loons flew over.
There were still two intruding loons at the end of D Pool. One was harassing the trumpeters swans the other was on the backside in the lily pads trying to hide.
On my 3rd run I took the Marshland. The east E Pool loons and chick were out feeding. I quickly moved on to get to the west E Pool loons. They were luckily closer to shore. I snapped a few love shots before the traffic backed up. The one chick has been banded right red with a white V… left silver. Daddy showed up with breakfast as I was leaving.
I found one lone loon at the far end of E….I found one of the D Pool loons moving closer to shore wailing. I worried they had lost the other chick while they were partying.
My friend Karen and I decided to walk back and check on them and the young merlins. The merlins were being quiet. But we heard a loon answer the other one. They were by the spillway…parent and chick. Yeah!
As we were walking back we spotted one…then three of the merlins…followed by a fourth. We had fun just sitting and watching them fly and scream from tree to tree. We left at 11:30. It was getting way too hot. But then I met up with friend Jeannie and we took a quiet trip around the Fishing Loop….with not a shot taken. But I’ll be back next weekend to do it all over again.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal July 23, 2018
I enjoyed the brief glimpse of sunrise along the back channels. The J pool loons were out but I left them to enjoy their morning. Also the G Pool loons were out busy with their two growing chicks…but the lighting was bad so I moved on. I found the D Pool loon family in the cove…just as the sun made its way out for a brief time. The soft glow in the shadowed waters made for some amazing shots of the family. Sadly they have lost one of their chicks…at almost a month old. Another loon flew over and the parents left the little one to work their way out into the pool…and invitation to the other loon that they were willing to socialize. Well the other loon continued on…and they decided to do their morning preening ritual.
After I left them I found a pair of sandhills in the drive. The sun was still peeking out…so I got some lovely light on them as they strolled down the drive. As I was photographing them…I heard the sound of loud beating wings. I turned just in time to shoot the C Pool male loon AT as he flew RIGHT by me!! Awesome!!
On my second very gloomy run through I found a momma common merganser and her eight midsized chicks feeding on the E side of the F/E spillway. Love to watch the young ones skitter across the water.
The ospreys on F Pool have two good sized chicks. I found a lone bittern in F marsh. Of course the lighting wasn’t the best…but it was such a willing subject. The H Pool common terns and their two squawking fledglings were screaming.
I also found three snipes on H Pool. The J Pool loon and chick were in the channel. As I watched them a lone loon landed on the far side. The other loon made a pass by it family then left. The other loon eventually flew off to party at a more exciting pool.
G Pool loons were in their usual spot and move out as soon as you stop or walk near them. The D Pool loons were up close to the shore. I enjoyed them even though the lighting was terrible.
I found a loon flying…then landing on C Pool…where a party of six was enjoying the morning. I sat and watched them even though photo ops were limited. It’s just a joy to watch and listen to them.
I didn’t come back till 4:00pm when I met up with my friend Jeannie. We enjoyed a young kingfisher along E Pool. Jeannie and I saw a bittern fly and land at the end of J Pool. While we were trying to get pics…we spooked up two more!! The loons were all out farther…not worth stopping for pics. We found an eagle sitting in a pine tree near the old osprey nest on D Pool. The possible assailant that got the little loon chick? We were so excited to find a great blue heron sitting in a pine tree at the last marsh on the drive. It flew circling around but didn’t land in the marsh. Hope we see more of them soon.
We picked up Karen around 5:30 and started another run through. Kingbirds and Cedar waxwings were being cooperative. We found one of the eagles in the feeding tree at the west end of E Pool. Then we found a momma blue-winged teal with six almost full grown young. She had to be one good momma to have that many survive. We found one lone sandhill on the ridge in B marsh…guarding?
On the next go round we were so excited to find a pair of sandhill cranes peeking over the brush along H Pool. Amazingly they didn’t fly. While we were photographing them we discovered why. They had a good sized colt with them. It had gone around the other side of the island. Smart parents. Eventually we were able to follow them as they worked their way back across the pool. It was just such a treat to see the colt doing so well.
Then we found the bittern from last night in the same area. It flew before we got shots but it was great to see it. There were two snipes on the spit of land across from the fishing pier. The we found another bittern at the end of J Pool.
The finally appeared as we hit G Pool where the loons were…in the harsh light. We round the corner on the west end of E Pool and the sun shone on the feeding tree casting amazing reflections against a dark sky. Then we were treated to some awesome prisms.
There was an eagle in the osprey nest on D Pool…and the C Pool loons were near the old nesting sight. They were gorgeous against the dark red reflected from the setting sun…which was a huge red ball. What a lovely evening with great friends at our Happy Place.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal July 22, 2018
Meet up with friend Karen Gritter for a couple of turns around the Fishing Loop. We met up Ken and Jeannie on J Pool…where we just missed a shot of an American bittern in the F marsh. But we did get to enjoy a little time with the J Pool loon family.
The second time around though we were lucky to find the bittern back in the same exact place…with another bittern. We were able to get some nice shots in the golden setting sun. The G Pool loons were also assessable in the setting sun…with the fledged eaglet squawking from above its nest in the glow of the setting sun.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal July 16, 2018
I had planned an early morning on the Refuge…but woke up to rain at 5…then again at 6. Finally at 7 I told Michael I was going regardless of the weather. Well, the sun slowly worked its way out. The humidity and left with the rain…so it was a lovely morning for a hike.
Michael dropped me off at G Pool so I could enjoy the new loon chicks. Unfortunately they seem to like being away from the shore. But it was still a joy to just sit and watch this new family. A pair of sandhills flew across the pool while I was watching the loons. As I hike back along E Pool. The west end loons were out farther but doing well. I found the spotted sandpiper by the swan observation deck. It posed on a few snags for me. As I moved along the drive I stopped to photograph a few of them many monarchs. The young merlin was in its usual spot…flying around enticing me to photograph it. The loons were flying around socializing. Unfortunately I didn’t get to witness any parties…but Michael did as he was leaving the Refuge.
I had a great morning with the east end E Pool loon chick and its parents…as they fed the young. They came up very close to the shore where I was trying to be invisible. It made my day!
The F Pool trumpeter swans still have three cygnets. And the osprey finally have two chicks. I had another great moment with the J Pool loons. One parent and young were near the shore. I followed them as they went to the Fishing Pier where people were fishing. The other adult joined them. I was able to get some lovely shots of them as they worked the area feeding Junior and themselves.
Michael came to get me around 11:30am. As he was back up to get me…the truck totally shut down. We had to push it off the drive. He called our service dept. They talked him through the process. It was the ground cable to the battery. It hadn’t been tightened down from the Collision shop that repaired it after the accident. Thank goodness we weren’t on the express when it stalled out!
We decided to call it a weekend and packed up and headed down to our service dept. so they could check it out and ratchet the fitting down tight. I did get to spend a little time with the G Pool loons on our way out. And we found a lovely doe posing for us along C Pool. It was a nice way to end a very short and strange weekend. Hopefully next weekend I will be brace free and able to drive myself!
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal July 15, 2018
It was a gorgeous morning but we decided to go the research blind on the tracks of the Toonerville Trolley to see if we could see any bears early before the heat drove them into the swamp.
We made it back to the Refuge around 111:30am. I was 85 and hot and humid. We did see ABJ and V4 near the start of F Pool….and lots of people.
We took the Fishing Loop…where we found a common tern fishing along E Pool. The one pair of terns still hanging out on H Pool. There was an eagle on the backside of J Pool which caused the loons to be closer to the shore. I got to spend some time with them even though the lighting wasn’t perfect.
We found a young osprey along the J channel close to the drive. Then we finally found the new G pool loon chicks….two healthy little guys. The parents are banded…one is right silver over green…left orange….the other is right banded white.
They were out farther but as an eagle flew over they moved a little closer to the shore. The other adult came and joined its family as its mate called and called. They rallied around their young keeping an eye upward to make sure there was no threat.
Then we found the G pool eaglet had fledged! It was in the ‘merlin’ tree along the drive. It sat for some time before flying. So nice to see the young ones growing up.
The C Pool loons were out farther…no sign of D loons. We left to take a break from the heat and humidity at 1:30pm.
We returned at 8:00pm to still 81 degrees with a few clouds moving in. The kingfishers are finally out and about with the young ones. The J Pool loons were out farther…with a pair of sandhills further back and along the J channel. We watched the G Pool loons in the golden light for a while. The G Pool adult eagle was in the feeding tree on the west end of E Pool. Two loons were on D Pool…no sign of the chicks…possibly socializing going on. We watched as an osprey landed in the old nest to eat…then a second one came screaming in.
The sandhills and their large colts were in the C marsh. It’s nice to finally see a couple of pied billed grebes in C along with ring-necks and their young. The clouds moved in…so no sunset. We left at 9:15pm.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal July 14, 2018
We got the Refuge around 7:20pm to 84 degrees and basically no wind to speak of. We were delight to find a new fledged eagle in a tree behind the pool at the Visitors Center. I was able to take the trail to get a few nice shots of it in the light.
East E pool chick was out with its parent. The parent was down in the cove closer to the eagle corner. Both West E chicks were doing well with their parents. Everything was very quiet…too hot to be active.
We did see one of the sandhill adults with its very large colt down in C marsh where they have been hanging. Kingbirds…kingfishers and other smaller birds were more active. We did have an American bittern fly in front of us at the last marsh. I still haven’t gotten a shot of one this year. The beavers seemed to be enjoying the quiet evening. I did get a nice sunset. I had hoped for a loon silhouette…but they had all moved when we went through the second time.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal 2018-07-09
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