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MN Shutterbug

Missed my opportunity.

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A couple weeks ago I was notified about the loon chicks on Lake Mary by Alexandria. I was told they spend a ot of time in the bay, with the babies. When I drove up there, the story was changed. mad Now they tell me that they come into the bay occasionally, but you really need a boat to get anywhere near them. Yep, I saw them, about 200 yards out. I then found a homeowner that offered to take me out the next week, in their boat, if they saw the chicks again. Unfortunately, the chicks were not seen again.

A couple days ago, I called a resort on Lake Miltona. They had just seen a couple chicks with their mama the night before. They graciously offered me free use of their pontoon, to use for photographing them. I was going to go on Tuesday, but they said the lake was really rough. I and a friend headed up yesterday and got to the resort about 6:30 P.M. Unfortunately, the only chicks we saw, were already almost full size and no longer with the parents. However, we had a great time getting what we could, in between the bouncing of the pontoon.

There is nothing unique here, but I'm still happy with what I came back with. I'm also thrilled with the 30 mpg I'm getting with my "new to me", SUV I just got off hsolist, from a car dealer in Iowa. grin

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Pretty shots, Mike. Glad you were able finally to get out there for some on-the-water action. There's always next year, and now you've got some contacts already made.

The chicks are best photographed from 3 to 10 days old. I don't do it earlier because I don't want to disturb the brand new family, and the parents start booting the chicks off their backs at around 10 days.

If the boat you are using has an electric trolling motor, you're in great shape to hang in close without disturbing them for the length of time you'll need to get lots of good images.

Good luck!

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If the boat you are using has an electric trolling motor, you're in great shape to hang in close without disturbing them for the length of time you'll need to get lots of good images.

This is one of the reasons I'm thinking about using my own boat next spring. I'll probably head from lake to lake, and scan the lakes with my binos until I find a family, and quietly head their way. Or, I'll wait until I hear from multiple resorts that loons are out with their chicks, and hit a couple lakes, just in case I receive bad intel. A calm day would certainly help too.

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I use my own boat all the time. No issues with missed opportunities because I'm jacking around with an unfamiliar boat, and with the raised bow platform, deep flat carpeted side rails and remote control trolling motor, it is a veritable loon photographing machine!

If you can find reliable snitches who are actively watching loons nests, you can respond immediately and get on the water fast enough during those early morning and late evening hours when the light is sweet.

I've found that most loon watchers are more casual about those things, and I'm generally liable to find out a few days too late for my needs about the chicks being hatched.

Had a great watcher on a lake near Ely for two years who could see a loon nest right from her resort office window and had me there within a few days after they hatched, but those folks sold the resort, so I'm back to playing catchup.

And on that same lake this summer, while my wife and I were casting and scouting a loon nest with a female sitting on the nest, a mink swam up, chased the loon off the nest and ate the eggs.

Where are the pics, you ask? My wife picked the moment the situation was developing to get snagged in the rocks, and rather than get the boat in position for some good photos of nature's drama (I told her to just snap the darn line!) I ended up backing the boat off so she could unsnag her favorite lure. Grrrrrr.

Anyway, best of luck on the loons next year. I'm sure you'll get into a great family.

And I especially like the first image in your series. The water is neat, and the turn-back pose is just right.

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Nice shots X! I'll have to scope out the scene around Detroit Lakes next year and I'll let you know what's around if you want to make the trip up.

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X-

I took a job in Detroit Lakes, MN. It's about 45 minutes east of Fargo on Hwy 10. It's more or less the far western edge of lake country before you hit the prairie in West Cenral MN. There are 400+ lakes within a half an hour of DL and it sits about 15 miles from Tamarac NWR and 10 miles from Hamden Slough NWR. I'll certainly be scoping these out once I get settled in. There are certainly loons abundant in the area. I would see them daily on my drive into work on Big Detroit Lake and I know there are better spots for them to nest in the area. I'll let you know if I get any good leads next year. As a side note the southern ditch of Hwy 34 between Detroit Lakes and Park Rapids is loaded with lady slippers. There are consistent patches for about a 25 mile stretch.

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Fall might not be a bad time to check out Detroit Lakes area. As far as the lady slippers go, I can't really justify that many $$$ in gas for flowers. smirk

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