SEVEN LOONS LEAVING
That’s how many I saw in flight this fine Saturday morning as I was returning from...
a Foothills Trail Conservancy lake shuttle for some very eager early morning hikers. This is the month for mass departures to their breeding lakes far to the north of us. At 75 mph, there’s no mistaking a loon in flight. Try to imagine a ten-pound hummingbird, a blur of energy underway. Tomorrow promises thunderstorms in the early afternoon, just when the skies should be full of migrating loons and ducks. Such conditions can sometimes cause what birders call a fallout, when thousands of birds come down to seek shelter from approaching weather. I’ve witnessed a few over the years, and it is always a wild, kinetic, thrilling event. So if you want to venture out with me tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon, I plan to depart about 2:30. In a thunderstorm. Join me if you dare!
EAGLES ON THE NEST! We saw both parent birds on the nest this week, the only known active eagle’s nest in the Jocassee Gorges. I’m told that’s a fairly rare thing to see. Now we await the squawking and squealing of the eaglets. They can be heard from quite a distance on a calm day on the lake. ~B
BLOOM REPORT. Look for Michaux's saxifrage on a big rock face past Fisher Knob, and dogwoods, silverbells, and serviceberry along the lake's edge. Trillium blooms are just beginning to open in deeper coves where creeks disappear under the lake. Violets of all kinds are everywhere, and if you peek under the leaves, so are the odd little flowers of hexastylis (heartleaf) species. ~K