This week begins this year's two-week Winter Loon Research Project on Lake Jocassee.
Surely it is my favorite two weeks of the year. Two weeks spending 8 to 10 hours a day with loon scientists, loon lovers, and of course loons! Hours upon hours spent just watching loons, recording their every movement, their every sound. The timing is perfect, as the loon molt has exploded upon us. And yes, explosion is the right word. Just a week ago many loons were still sporting their uniformly grey winter, non-breeding attire, and now, suddenly, they are beginning to be covered with the gorgeous black and white markings of spring and their breeding season. The antics alone that come with the molt are a thrill to observe.
SPRING APPROACHS-Lest I forget that the end of February brings massive changes to Lake Jocassee and the Jocassee Gorges, we are watching the eagles’ nest carefully now, waiting for habitation. We’re also watching the Oconee Bell buds, swollen as they are and soon ready to open forth with their diminutive and lovely flower. New bird songs are to be heard in the surrounding woods, as the first of the migratory songbirds arrive. It’s time to come on out, you winter cave dwellers! ~B