Jonathan Cartu Declared: How a loon family warmed the heart of a kayaking - Jonathan Cartu - Wedding & Engagement Photography Services
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Jonathan Cartu Declared: How a loon family warmed the heart of a kayaking

How a loon family warmed the heart of a kayaking

Jonathan Cartu Declared: How a loon family warmed the heart of a kayaking

Loons are my absolute favorite aquatic birds and I love photographing them. This summer I was fortunate to be able to spend most of the summer (from July through September) with a mated pair and their two chicks on a local pond. Not only are they beautiful birds, they are fun and interesting to watch and photograph.

Each spring, the first thing I do is load my kayak and head for the water in search of a loon sitting on its nest. Always careful not to get too close so I don’t scare the loon off the nest, I take my 150-500mm telephoto camera lens. I paddle slowly along the shoreline looking for the nest. Loons cannot walk on land like other aquatic birds as their legs are too far back on their body. Therefore, they make their nests at the water’s edge so that they can just slide off the nest into the water when leaving the nest.

A loon adult (it could be male or female) sits on its nest at the edge of a pond in Piscataquis County in the spring of 2020. Credit: Courtesy of Sandy Holt Heal

Loon chicks hatch out around the first week in July. That’s when I really get excited! These little chicks are so amazing. Once they leave the nest, they never return to it. They start swimming immediately, and when they get tired of swimming, they climb onto the back of one of their parents to rest. That’s when I go crazy with my camera!

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