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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: less than 100000 fireflies, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 121
1. First Fox Sighting in 2016

I collected the SD cards from the trail cameras this past weekend.  I had my fingers crossed the whole way down and back, hoping for some fox footage.

And I got lucky.  There was only one video  and this is it . .. .


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2. Snowman and Friends Bloopers

I had a chuckle today, when this nuthatch showed up at the Snowman’s photo shoot.


I thought he’d be great addition to the Snowman’s friends.  But, alas, he pecked on the poor guy’s head.


He stomped his feet, kinda like, “Hellooooo?  Anybody in there?”


Then he eyed Snowman’s little friend.


Eventually, he saw the seed.


But in his greediness, he slipped and fell!


It scared him so much, he took to flight . . .


and our poor friend, the snowman . . .


just fell apart.

That nuthatch was NOT a very nice friend!


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3. Snowman and Friends




Sometimes I like play in the snow, when I’m stuck in writing my manuscript.

It helps me think.

And this winter, I’ve taken to making little snowman friends for my bird friends.


I think they get along famously.

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The birds seem to like dinner anyway. Although they seem to think it’s take out.


But they always come back to visit.


And they bring new friends with them.



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I’m sure I’ll be stuck more than once this winter.  It happens to all writers, especially in first drafts. Feeding the birds, watching and waiting for them to show up, is another way I clear my mind so I can think clearly and work out all the kinks and dead ends in my story.

But I have new friends to help me get unstuck now. This is going to be a fun winter with the camera!

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4. 2016 Eagle Nest Photos

Back on November 1st, I’d promised to keep you updated on our eagles as they got closer to nesting season.

Well, that time is here.

Yesterday, I donned my snowshoes to trek to the lake. The very first thing I do, is take a picture of the nest to compare.

Here’s the nest last April.  The nesting eagle had been quite upset at a juvenile eagle who’d been flying around the lake that day.



Here is what I saw yesterday . . .


They’ve been adding a stick here and a branch there.


Every year I worry about the weight.  The wildlife biologist who’d come to band the eagles a few years ago had said it weighed approximately 700 to 800 pounds!  Can you imagine!?

I saw no sign of the eagles that day, but they’ve been here.  These pictures prove it.

I’m looking forward to documenting our nesting pair this year!  To give you a timeline, they were sitting on eggs March 24th last year. I happened to be at the lake during one of their mating attempts a few weeks before that. And the eaglets were born a week before we opened the campground May 1st.  We still have a few weeks to go!

But it’s worth the wait.


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5. Gorgeous Cardinals

And here are the cardinal pictures I’d taken at Cindy’s house during the writing retreat. You should have seen me! Sitting *under* a high top table, camera sticking out a slightly open window, while Mona and Cynthia typed away (Cindy directly over me!)

But you see, Wildlife photography is a big part of my writing process. Not only does it give  me the hands-on research I need in the manuscript, but when I get stuck, really stuck, sitting quietly with the camera in the woods or in this case, under a table!) is a way to move away from the words, quiet my mind, and to really listen to what my main character has to say.

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6. Mother and Chick

Sometimes, when I go out in the kayak, I’m intent on finding photo opportunities.  Sometimes, I’m looking for time to to let my mind wander in the quiet around me.

Sometimes I need to “be” one with nature, to clear my head and fill my soul. No thinking allowed – only observing all the marvelous sights and sounds around us. How green the leaves are, the sound the water makes as it laps at the shoreline, the  shapes of the clouds as they float past, the beads of water on a spider web built between two Water Bulrush.

It was on one of those days that I decided to snuggle my kayak up to the shoreline, and just be. I put my paddle down, raised my camera and waited. I saw little bugs dance across the water. A fish jumped up out to catch one, as birds flitted over to get one, too. And then I heard a commotion in the bushes a short way away.  I turned my camera on it and saw a female red-winged blackbird rise from between the leaves, a dragonfly in her mouth.


She hovered there, and at first I wasn’t sure why.


But I understood as soon as a chick rose up to follow her.


She led it on a merry chase to a nearby branch.


The chick hollered and hollered. But Mama bird didn’t go any closer.


Instead she showed off that dragonfly, then turned her head, almost as if to say, “How badly do you want it?”

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The little one wouldn’t budge, so she eventually scooted down the branch to give it the dragonfly, it so desperately craved.

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I know, that with its mother’s patient teaching, it won’t be long before the little one is grabbing dragonflies of its own.


And perhaps on my next moment of “being”, the bird I see snatching dragonflies from the air, will be this little one.

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7. Hummingbird Fever


I swear, I’ve taken over 800 pictures of Hummingbirds this summer.


There isn’t a lot of days off, when you run a campground, but I do find an hour here and there.  Not usually enough time to head out in the kayak to see the loons, eagles or heron. But time to sit in my little corner of the front yard.


From there, I have a front row seat to the Honeysuckle bush. And Hummingbirds love Honeysuckle.

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It’s fascinating to watch them flit here and there, to and fro.  Not a sound is made, but the branches of the bush dance below them from the sheer force of their flapping wings.


Sometimes, sitting quiet on the front lawn yields the best photos of all.

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8. Writer’s Camp and Schmooze 2015

Every year, I look forward to hosting my writer’s group to a working weekend here at Poland Spring Campground.  Fall is the time when I transition from primarily working on campground “stuff” to digging into writing projects.  So meeting with other writers, sharing in their celebrations, hearing their struggles, brainstorming ideas and projects . . . it helps to motivate and inspire me.  Spur me forward.

This year, I’m especially excited to share photos of the weekend with my students, because the critique circle, and its rules, are something Shannon and I have used in the classroom  with great success.  Knowing “real writers” use this method to give feedback on their work, makes the students more willing to share and trust in the classroom circle, too.


Bottom of the circle, clockwise: Jeanne Bracken, Denise Ortakales, Mary Morton Cowan, Anna Jordan, Joyce Johnson, Nancy Cooper, Mona Pease, Meg Frazer Blakemore, Val Giogas, Andrea Tompa, Laura Hamor.

The authors and I worked hard, beginning at 8:30 with a “What’s New With You” whip around.  Joining us this Fall, was our visiting editor Andrea Tompa from Candlewick Press. Each author has 20 minutes of time and everyone contributes to the feedback. Once  again, I’m humbled and grateful for the in-person comments, support and loving-nudging that flew around the circle.


We have writers and illustrators, non-fiction and fiction, with picture book, middle grade, historical fiction, and Young Adult manuscripts in various stages.  Some of us are published, some are very close. The projects read this year were absolutely fascinating!

I’m most excited to bring back to the classroom, a picture book dummy from Laura. It’ll be a great tool, when we start our graphic novel unit.


We worked hard, breaking every so often for movement.  And of course, lunch.  By 2:30 we were onto a Q & A with Andrea about the industry.  And by 4:00, it was time to take a walk, kayak or read under the trees, before gathering again for supper.


Top: Laura, Anna, Denise, Nancy Middle: Mary, Val, Joyce Bottom: Meg, Mona, Me, Andrea, Jeanne

And this morning, those of us who stayed the night, met for coffee in the office and decided to go for a quick early morning kayak ride .  . .


In the rain, of course.


The rain passed.  Loons flew directly overhead, so close we heard their wings cutting through the air.  Still other loons called back and forth from area lakes, chorus style.  And eagle flew down the shoreline. The sun came out.  The wind picked up.  We headed back.

Now six of us are left here at the campground, working, writing, revising.  Inspired by each other to keep doing what we love.  Driven to put the perfect words, in the perfect order, to write the story we were meant to write.

And tomorrow, I’ll share all this with my students.

Then ask them to do the same.




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9. #762 – My Wild Family by Laurent Moreau

My Wild Family Written and Illustrated by Laurent Moreau Chronicle Books   11/03/2015 978-1-4521-4423-8 32 pages     Age 4—8 “Sometimes there is more to family than meets the eye . . . An older brother is strong and respected, just like an elephant. A mother is stately and beautiful, but she prefers not to …

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10. Eagle, Wings Open Wide

I almost left this as a wordless post – and let the pictures do the talking . . .

But this author doesn’t always know how to “do” wordless, loving instead to give the background on what I’ve witnessed ‘in the field’.

While kayaking last August, I saw in the distance an eagle on the edge of the lake, in the shadows. It appeared to be bathing. The splashing water is actually what caught my attention at first. Well, that, and an eaglet up above on a branch hollering down to it, probably looking for its next meal.

Bathing pictures are on my bucket list, so I slowly paddled forward, hoping to get close enough, but alas, it took to the air.

In my direction.

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Landing on a branch, almost directly above my head, it spread its wings, and left them there! In the back of my mind, I realized I’d read about this while doing research for Mystery of the Eagle’s Nest, but it was a first for me to see it.


I sat in my kayak, watching this photographic eagle for forty minutes!  Mostly, it stayed in that one pose. Eventually though, it began to preen . . . .


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Before hanging its wings again.


They’re so regal looking, aren’t they?


Right now, in October, November, the eagle pair do still hang around the lake. Just last week, I wandered to the shoreline for sunrise photos, to find them adding branches to their nest!


They will come and go for the next couple months, with me not seeing them for weeks at a time. But when I do, I’ll post photos here and on Facebook. In mid-January, I usually have to don my snowshoes to get to the edge of the lake to see them. In March, the pair stay closer together, near the nest, and I see them every time I trek down. If I’m lucky, I’ll even witness  them mating, which is  a sure sign we’ll be having chicks.

In April, we typically find one eagle sitting down in the nest, with just the tip of her white head showing. This means they’re on the eggs for the next 35 days.

During the very last week of April or first week of May, my campers and I point our cameras toward the nest, hoping for a sign of little gray chick heads bobbing up and down. They aren’t able to hold up their heads until they’re about two weeks old.  At this stage we’re looking to snap pictures of two or possibly even three, gray heads up all at the same time as proof of how many chicks we’ll be following that summer.

Click on the Eagle tag on the right, and you’ll see previous years posts showing their nesting.

Come back often this winter and I’ll keep you posted on this years chicks! I love sharing my findings with all of you.  If you have questions, please feel free to contact me.


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11. Calendars, Notebooks, and Note Cards

I will be selling my wildlife calendars and notebooks through the Holiday Season for as long as supplies last.

In the past, I’ve used them for hostess and teacher gifts.  I’ve given the notebooks to kids with Storycubes or a writing prompt book.  Here are some pictures of the items I test printed.


Notebooks with line pages $15.00




Desk Calendars 8″ x 3″ $12.00


Wall Calendars 8×5″ x 11″ $17.00


The photos in both style calendars are as follows:























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I’m also ordering 5.5″ x 4″  notecards, blank inside, with the bear, hummingbird, fox, eagle, and loon with chick, photos.  The price for 10 (2 of each image) will be $15.00.  Envelopes included.


For shipping, add $3.50.

To place an order:

  1. Leave the Item(s), and number ordering in the comments below with your name only.
  2. Tally your total due, remember to include shipping.  For more than 5 items shipping may be more.
  3. I will reply to your comment when I’ve received payment and mailed your items, so you can expect delivery. Let me know if  you have any questions. And thank you for your orders!



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12. Pileated Woodpecker

Today, I found this Pileated Woodpecker flitting from tree to tree, looking for the carpenter ants it loves.

Watch closely to see how it flicks its tongue to snap up those ants.

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13. New Year’s Eve fireworks cause a mass exodus of birds

As the days get shorter, the Netherlands, a low lying waterlogged country, becomes a safe haven for approximately five million waders, gulls, ducks, and geese, which spend the winter here resting and foraging in fresh water lakes, wetlands, and along rivers. Many of these birds travel to the Netherlands from their breeding ranges in the Arctic.

The post New Year’s Eve fireworks cause a mass exodus of birds appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on New Year’s Eve fireworks cause a mass exodus of birds as of 1/1/1900
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14. Bear Research for Cooper’s 4th Adventure

Last October, before the Gray Wildlife Park could close, I called and arranged for a Photographer’s Pass.  This, they assured me, would allow me behind the scenes to see the black bears, up close and personal.

I wasn’t exactly prepared for how “up close and personal” it was!

And I was thrilled!


Red sniffing a piece of apple, one of his favorite treats

The Black Bears have an amazing habitat, where viewers stand up high to look down on them as they wander, sleep, or even take a swim. The bears, in fact all the animals at the park, were injured or were raised to be human dependent and can no longer be released back into the wild. Instead, the game wardens care for them, and in return, the animals help to educate the public on wildlife awareness and conservation.


When the apples are gone, he licks the hand of Jade.

By getting the behind the scenes pass, I hoped I’d really be able to see them, hear their footsteps and their snuffling . . . .

. . . or watch them try to open a gate, hoping for one more piece of apple!


Look at the size of that paw!

Jade was a fabulous guide, listening to my reasons for being in the park, letting me ask questions and even helping me brainstorm a scene in Book 4!   Below, she’s trying to get Red to stand up, so I could “feel” the sheer size of him.


Here are Red (Left) and Susie (Right) together. They are both Black Bears, although Red’s fur does have a reddish tint to it. (Hence his name!)


Some might mistake him for a grizzly because of that tint to his fur, but Black Bears have a white muzzle. Which gives him away.


Both bears were “bulked up”, having gained weight for their hibernation. I’m looking forward to seeing them in the Spring when they wake up.  I think a season pass might be in order this summer!

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15. Snowy Owl Photos

So imagine this – it’s a gray, gray Saturday. But I’m lucky enough to be sitting inside a warm, sunshiny colored room, writing away with friends, Cindy and Mona. Around three o’clock, we all sat back and commented on what a great session it was. I personally added about 2300 words to my first draft!  I was satisfied.  I’d done what I’d come to do, gaining momentum on the first draft of a new story . .. . aaaaand gotten some face-to-face time with two of my favorite writers.

Noticing that I’d brought my camera with the big lens with me (I never go anywhere without it), Cindy asked if I wanted to go find the Snowy Owl.

“Nah,” I replied, looking out the window.  “It’s gray. It’s spitting rain. I’m not experienced enough to have had much luck with gray day photography -”

“Let’s go,” Mona said, jumping up. “I love gray day photography!”   Her enthusiasm is always so catchy!  The next thing I know, we’re all piling in the car and driving to the spot where Cindy and her daughter had spied the beautiful raptor a couple weeks before.

Now, I have a confession to make.  Whenever I encounter wildlife, or a beautiful setting unexpectedly, I get teary.  The first time I saw triplet eaglets . . . my first loon chick . .. fox kits . . . a gorgeous full moon rising up through a purple sunset sky . . . .

Very geeky of me, I know, but I do.

This time was no exception. As we neared the location, Mona gasped and said, “Look!”

My eyes filled, to see this magnificent creature fluffing up and preening at the top of a light post.


We slowly and quietly got out of the car and the Snowy Owl glanced our way with it’s yellow eyes.


Another photographer came to introduce himself to us and told us how he’d come and found this Snowy Owl perched in the middle of the field. Right before we’d arrived, it had flown toward him to perch on the light post in the middle of the parking lot.

I’d like to think it knew we were coming.  Okay, that’s impossible, I know.  But the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. We spent close to an hour standing there, ooohing and aaaahing. I snapped photo after photo, hoping I’d be able to capture it’s beauty.

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I’m so glad I have friends who are willing to push me to try . . . not letting me listen to my own doubts. This Snowy Owl was a wonder to behold.

And as it turns out, I did get some pretty good photos. Gray day and all.

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16. A Walk on the Eastern Prom

Today, my husband and I walked from the Eastern Prom (ME), to the Old Port along a bike/walk path.  Casco Bay was on one side of us, the Narrow Gauge Railway on the other. The sun shone down, the birds were singing, kids rode bikes, joggers passed by and the seagulls called out.

It was a glorious day!

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Mockingbird singing a happy song from a low branch as people passed by.

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Sailing school is in session!

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The Narrow Gauge Railway had quite a few passengers.

My husband geo-cached, but I could hear the call of the osprey.  So I searched high and low. Finally, I found them. They were quite a ways away, but I had my camera on me.

Check out this nest!  All the rope mixed in with the sticks.

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The one on the nest was hollering like crazy, and I soon figured out why.  Another osprey wanted the nest.

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They dove and danced in the air.

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Until one of them claimed the platform for themselves.

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Even so, the osprey who’d been kicked out, circled overhead for quite awhile, crying out to anyone who would listen.


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Lucky for me, it was almost over my head

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It looked to me, like he still wasn’t too happy about it.

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17. Uninvited Guest

As I walked to the lake yesterday (without boots!) I could hear the unmistakeable cry of an eagle.  I hurried, hoping to see the adults switch places on the nest.  Or maybe get a glimpse of them bringing food back.


But when I got there, the nesting eagle was alone.  Every couple of minutes, it threw back its head to give the squeaky, danger-in-the-area call.

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I kept waiting for the mate to fly in, as they usually do, to holler in duet against the danger.  For twenty minutes, I waited, with one eye on the sky.


The eagle continued to cry, even though I couldn’t see what had upset it so. The loons weren’t in the area.  Nor crows or seagulls.  The osprey didn’t appear to be hunting either.


Suddenly, I heard the flapping of a large wingspan.  Looking straight up, I realized a juvenile eaglet had been over my head, hidden in the branches of a big pine the whole time!  It flew down the shoreline, only to circle around and come back again.


I never did get a good picture of the juvenile, as he soared over the trees I was standing under. I would have kept camera-hunting him, but the black clouds had arrived to let loose a steady stream of big, fat raindrops.


I still have no proof of the eggs hatching, but this eagle did seem to be sitting a little higher on the nest.  I’ll check again tomorrow to see what I can see!

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18. Eaglet Update



I thought you might want an eaglet update.  They’re growing very quickly!


And holler?  Oh my, can they holler when they’re hungry!


The eagle parents are sticking closely to the nest these days. For some reason, the geese make them crazy; flapping their wings, throwing their heads back and giving the danger call until the geese move out of the area.


When the adult eagles move from side to side in the nest, the eaglets pull themselves across the nest after them, by using their wings and beak.

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These two little ones are big and strong. We’re going to have fun watching them grow this summer!

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19. Hummingbird Obsession

Photographing Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds has become a bit of an obsession.  I sit on the front lawn by my honeysuckle bush for an hour here, and an hour there, hoping for the chance to snap a photo or two.

But they’re so darn quick!

At first I could only get photos of them sitting on a branch.



But then I graduated to some flight photos.  They still aren’t as clear as I’d like, but I’m hoping to learn as I go.


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Did you know these delicate creatures weigh less than a penny??

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Their hearts beat 600+ times per minute!  The normal beat for an average bird is 200!  For a human it’s 72.

And they need to feed every ten minutes or so to keep their energy level stabilized.

The way they feed, is by licking nectar three times per second. Try that with your next ice cream cone!


They’re fascinating in so many ways!


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20. Fox Kit Research

The manuscript for Mystery of the Missing Fox might be in my editors hands for review, bu that doesn’t mean the research stops.  Especially when it involves fox kits.

There are five in all, from what I can tell.  I sit in the woods, 100 feet from the den.  And at first, they stare at me, trying to figure if I’m friend or foe.


When I don’t move closer or make any noise, they relax a bit.  But they always know exactly where I am.


Once they feel safe again, the research and fun starts, and I raise my camera.

At first, the kits approach their brothers and sisters very innocently.


They might even give a friendly hey-you-sleeping tap of the paw.


And the next thing you know, they’re nibbling each others ears!  Or feet. Or tail.




They roll around on the ground, no noise, no squeaks or growls that I can hear.  Which is good, since their mother isn’t in the area to protect them from predators.  (She was either out hunting, or watching me, watch her kits)




Just when one kit seems to be getting the best of their sibling, a third comes to the rescue!




When the play has wound down, the kits curl up together. No hard feelings on either side. That’s my cue to go.


I hope the best for this year’s litter.

Stay safe little ones.


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21. 2015 Nesting Loons

Today, after teaching, and after starting a large order for the campground store, I grabbed my camera and headed to the lake.  No sooner had I pushed off shore, I spied a loon fishing halfway across the lake.

I drifted toward it, as I fiddled with my camera to get just the right settings for a slightly cloudy, slightly sunny day.  Suddenly, it popped up beside the kayak.


It stretched, and dove and stretched again.




And I must say, this is how I feel to finally feel the sun on my shoulders and the warm breezes on my face.



It took quite awhile, but I spied the nest, too.  Our loons have chosen a new nesting spot, and I must admit to being a bit relieved.


They haven’t had chicks in two years, and my fingers are crossed that this new nesting site will be a good one for them.

Only time will tell.

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22. The Eagles Have Been Busy

The adult eagles are on and off the nest, bringing food to their two eaglets.  They’re never very far away, keeping watch, keeping their little ones safe.


Look at the difference in the talons in these next two pictures. Aren’t they amazing?


So how do they manage to keep from harming their own chicks.  By curling them, when they walk on the nest themselves.


Feeding the eaglets is a full time job right now!


Every time I go lakeside, I can hear them crying for attention.


I bet the poor parents are tired!

The view from the back side of the nest isn’t as clear as from the front.


Especially since the eagles have done some rearranging and seem to be moving large sticks to that side as the eaglets get bigger.



Even after all these years, I still manage to record a new-to-me behavior!  They’re amazing creatures!  Graceful in flight. Great parents. Strong builders.

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I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to study them year round, and to use that research in Mystery of the Eagle’s Nest, as well as sharing my nature adventures with campers and readers all over New England.


I can’t wait to see what eagle adventures I witness this coming summer!

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23. Loon Chick!

For the last two years, the loons on our lake have lost their eggs after sitting on them for weeks.  This year, they picked an amazing nesting spot, in the shadows and under a fallen branch.


I’ve had my fingers crossed for weeks now!  Four to be exact.  And this weekend I got to witness the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.  A loon chick!



One of my lake neighbors told me the loons were off the nest, and had one chick in tow.  I  think I was afraid to believe it until I saw it with my own eyes.




Now I’m crossing my fingers again for this little one to grow up.  Chicks can be prey to pike, snapping turtles, foxes and eagles.




This pair was very protective, as they should be.  Whenever a boater came too close, they called out loud and long.  They do the same when the eagle flies overhead, too.  Giving them plenty of room, ensures they won’t panic and swim too far from their little one, leaving it unprotected.

The adult loons have only twelve weeks to teach the chicks all they know, before heading to the coast ahead of their little ones.   Chicks from the surrounding area will gather together before following a few weeks later.


The chicks  blackish-brownish coloring really make them blend into the colors of the water. Boaters should take caution on the lakes, giving loons a wide berth in case they have a chick in tow.

I have tons more photos to go through, I’ll post some more very soon! I’m hopeful my shots of them feeding are crisp and clear enough to catch the chick gobbling tiny fish.

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24. Eagles On the Run!



I’ve often seen birds harass the eagles, driving them from trees and even away from their own eaglets.

But on Friday, I managed to catch a series of photos of it!

I was watching the eaglets , and talking with one of our campers when the eagle swooped into view.  It was being chased by small birds who were screaming their frustration.

By the time I’d unpacked my camera, the eagle landed with its eaglets. I’m not sure if it had something for them to eat or not. Regardless, the little, tenacious birds kept swooping and pecking like pesky mosquitoes until the eagle took to the skies again, its tiny bullies in hot pursuit.


I was quite a ways from all the action, but when I zoom in on my photos, it almost looks as if the smaller bird has landed on the poor eagle’s head!



And then pecks at it!



A second bird took to the chase and this one, I’m pretty sure, is a Downy or Hairy Woodpecker.



That poor eagle!  It swooped.  It dove.  It did every move it could to shake the pesky, determined pair.



This is the last shot I caught, before the three of them went around the corner and out of sight.  I’m sure that eagle ended up with quite a headache!


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25. Me! Me! Me!

While kayaking last week, I was amused to watch these baby Tree Swallows fight over supper . . .  IMG_8965 IMG_8973 IMG_8974 IMG_8975 IMG_8976 IMG_8977 IMG_8978 IMG_8982

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