[Mnbird] Loons in winter

carol schumacher birdminn at yahoo.com
Tue Dec 28 15:09:26 CST 2021

Ten days ago Common Loons were seen in one cove on Lake Murray SC.  Usually 3-5 can be seen in winter feeding quite close to the shore.  These are rich fishing waters, more shallow as the lake noticeably lowers in winter. Fisherman work the shore most mornings the wind blows fish in.

But 9 loons diving almost simultaneously and so close to each other had me wondering.  
Had they just arrived?  Were they working together?  Seemed like it. 
Were wintering loons “herding” fish like American White Pelicans in the shallows of the Mississippi in summer? No. Of course pelicans are pretty sophisticated as they draw together “enclosing” the fish in a tightening noose before dropping their “nets”/scoops.  (Seek out aerial views of white pelicans doing this marvelous ballet.). 

For 45 minutes the loons hugged thIs shore. With a drone maybe more could be explained.  In any event they somehow worked together.  A Great Blue Heron repeated flew low over them, alighting for a minute or two before making another pass.

The dammed Saluda River created Lake Murray in the ‘20’s. Its 50,000 acres, 40x14 miles at its widest, with 600+ miles of shoreline. No Mille Lacs but a huge fresh water “Minnesota lake” for wintering loons. 

Happy New Year!
Carol Schumacher from Winona
Birdminn at yahoo.com

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