I am a high school art and film making educator who spends my summers in the Lake of the Woods area of northern Ontario and travels with my family to great landscape locations, when they tolerate it!.
The beauty of the northern loon has long been a fascination with me. I've spent countless hours scouring the Lake of the Woods area for loons to photograph. They are a tough bird to sneak up on, and until the summer of 2009, I had never encountered baby loons. The most amazing event happened in late June of 2009, when two baby loons were born into a family in our small bay on Lake of the Woods. Because their nest was built close in proximity to a building project with numerous workers constantly moving about, I believe they became accustomed to people. This allowed me e to paddleboat with them for numerous hours, sometimes just meters away. The adult loons would even leave the babies on top of the surface alone with me as they foraged for crayfish to feed their young. An amazing experience.
The family disappeared about a week later, so we were told; first the babies and then the adults. We feared the worst and for about two months, we could not find them anywhere... We assumed they were dead. To our astonishment, one evening, while puttering around in our dilapidated "beater boat", we spotted four loons in some reeds. As we approached it became clear that two were smaller and of a greyish color. They allowed us to come quite close to them.... could this be our family? After noticing familiar markings on one of the adults and their accommodating behavior, we came to the conclusion that these were in fact them!
I was able to capture a few more photos as the summer wore on, but it became increasingly more difficult as they became more wild and less tolerating of us. I last photographed them in early October; the young birds now mostly fending for themselves but occasionally meeting up with the parents. It was sad packing up the cabin that weekend and we will most likely never see the young ones again, as they grow up in salt water areas down south for a few years and then return to find a place territorially their own.
My favourite landscape areas lately have been the southwest of the United States with its variety of rocks, canyons and incredible lighting.
Lastly, you may order through my site, but all products are printed and shipped from the U.S.A. If you are from Canada and want to order directly through me and a Canadian printer, email me.
Hope you enjoy the photos.
© merlin braun photography