Loons In Muskoka

In early July of 2017 we went in search of loons and their chicks with Michael Bertelsen of Algonquin Park Photography Tours. Michael monitors 15 pairs of loons on different lakes and takes participants to the most favorable locations to photograph loons and their chicks. Regrettably, this year, the water levels have been quite high making it difficult for the small-island nesting loons to find a place to nest. Of the 15 pairs, only 3 were nesting and none had chicks yet, which is a problem for the loon population and disappointing for us photographers.

However, we did enjoy our two morning and two evening outings with Michael to get up close and photograph some loons in the Muskoka area. Michael has a small boat with 4 swivel seats low to the water from which to photograph. He has a high speed gas motor to get from one end of the lake to the other very quickly, and two electric positioning motors, fore & aft, to quietly travel with the loons we encountered. It was an interesting experience to have the boat move sideways so the four participants were able to have a front row seat to observe these beautiful water birds.

We began by very briefly visiting a nesting loon for a couple of photos, but stayed clear of the nest for the rest of the stay for fear of interrupting the nesting cycle. We observed loons in different lighting situations, including significant fog/mist one morning; we also were present when a third loon visited for a brief time; and we even witnessed a loon preparing to eat a rock bass for lunch!

The gallery below shows a selection of images of the several loons we had the privilege of viewing from the boat. The gallery ends with photos of a heron that we also saw from the boat, turtles from a turtle research station on the Mizzy Lake trail in Algonquin Provincial Park, and a grazing moose also on the Mizzy Lake trail at March Hare Lake.

We hope you enjoy our photos; clicking on any image will launch the viewer and please note the option to view in full screen mode to see an even larger image.