Thursday, July 25, 2013

Old Loony at Seney

Here is one more post from vacation, and before you think I am dissing my elderly father, the star of this blog is in fact, an old loon.  "ABJ" is a well documented celebrity at Seney National Wildlife Refuge in Seney (Upper Peninsula) Michigan.
Seney Wildlife Refuge is home to the oldest  (known) living loon.
Meet ABJ, aka for "Adult Banded as a Juvenile."  While I was gathering information about the driving tour offered at Seney, a nature center guide told me of a Common Loon family that is routinely seen on the tour.

ABJ, as they call the patriarch of this loon family unit, was banded when he was a juvenile- in 1987.  This loon is an impressive 26 years old!  This is just one good reason bird banders tag birds in this manner, to provide life-history information about our wild birds.

If you are interested in wildlife, especially birds or water-fowl, Seney NWR is a must see.  It also has a stunning array of dragonflies, butterflies, and yes, black-fly and mosquitoes this time of year.  So drive through in your car with the windows rolled up!  It was still an enjoyable place to spend an afternoon watching wildlife.

 Here is the loon family unit we were hoping to see.  Common Loons breed on large lakes in Canada and the most northern regions of the U.S.   The haunting, tremulous call of the male is a signature sound for the Great North.  Male and  female loon look pretty much alike, but the fuzzy looking juveniles are a real stand-out.

 Juvenile loons often hitch a ride on their parent's back. However, these "teenagers" are too big for all that. They paddle about freely as the adult loons dove for food nearby.

 Loons are awkward, at best, out of water.  These strong swimmers  and deep divers are meant for the water. The brown, fuzzy looking youngsters will soon be changing to a more flight-worthy plumage.  In a few short months they will be hop-scotching from lake to lake, making their way south in migration.

Good luck little guys! Hope to see you at Mansfield's Clear Fork Reservoir!

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