Found a adult Pacific Loon on Lake Mille Lacs around 3:00 PM Tuesday, 11/24. Originally this bird was seen from the very north end of the southern section of Cty Rd 35. From where the road goes back to 169. A little later the bird was again observed looking north from the area of the Chimney Swift tower or fire marker 15548. This may be the same bird originally found by Milt Blomberg and Frank Gosiak on 11/21 in the next bay north of here.
Maybe of more interest was what I thought was the unusually high number of 30+ Common Loons still around on such a late date. Because of fog and light on and off rain I was only able to study the west side of the lake during the 12:30-3:00 time period. During the rest of the day and in the rest of the lake I was only able to see 100 yards or less off shore. It was only during this 3 1/2 hour period that it cleared enough to adequately see the lake. Wave action was minimal so that made it a little easier.
In 1998 surveys of loons were undertaken by Tony Hertzel, Karen Sussman, and Peder Svingen on Lakes Mille Lacs and Winnibigoshish. Their late counts were as follows:
Lake Winnibigoshish: November 15th-0 loons, November 22nd-2 loons
Lake Mille Lacs: November 8th-0 loons, November 27th-2 loons
The above information is from the Occasional Paper Number 3, The Common Loon, published by the MOU in September 2000. Looking at the mapped out sighting areas during their surveys I was not able to even see the lake in the areas they had the largest concentrations of loons. Makes you wonder just how many birds may actually still be around this late this year. The front that came through today may make a count this weekend much lower as they may take flight with the northwest winds and migrate but if you get the time see what you can find.
By the way I was primarily looking for scoters, Long-tailed Ducks,etc. Of which I saw zero. Good numbers of diving ducks were in the southwest part of the lake.
Dennis and Barbara Martin
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