Common Loon

Gavia immer

Imposing winter visitor
Gorging on flounder
I like crab as well
Any crustacean will do!
Rhode Island lobster is the best!
When the predator becomes the prey
Totally different look in breeding plumage
Sleek head of a powerful diver
30 to 440 yards required for take-off, depending on wind
Clocked at 70 mph flying between breeding and wintering grounds
Both parents build nest from dead vegetation
Incubation lasts 26 to 29 days
Both parents feed young; male larger than female
Chick can dive one day after hatching but take up to 77 days before fledging
Parents and two chicks consume over 40 lbs of fish per week
Juveniles have brown plumage
Plumage of immature same as wintering adult

The Common Loon in non-breeding plumage is a predictable even if sporadic winter visitor to Salter Grove.  Every winter, solitary individuals can be seen diving in North or South Cove, or in the Providence River east of the southern islets of Rock Island.  It remains quiet during its visit and provides no hint of the haunting calls for which it is famous. 

It is a large bird and sits low in the water compared to the other wintering species.  Unlike diving ducks which usually pop up to the surface quickly, loons may stay under water for as long as a minute chasing fish or seeking other prey, often reappearing quite some distance from where they first entered the water.

Breeding occurs in large unpolluted lakes with clear water and abundant fish in Canada, Alaska, northernmost United States, and some parts of Greenland, Iceland and Norway.  Wintering individuals are most often found in shallow water along both coasts of the United States reaching as far south as Baja California and Texas.