The Great Northern Diver, also known as the Common Loon breeds in Canada, parts of the northern United States, Greenland, and Alaska. There is a smaller population (ca. 3,000 pairs) in Iceland. On isolated occasions they have bred in the far north of Scotland. The female lays 1 to 3 eggs on a hollowed-out mound of dirt and vegetation very close to water. Both parents build the nest, sit on the egg or eggs, and feed the young.
This species winters on sea coasts or on large lakes over a much wider range in Europe and the British Isles as well as in North America.
Breeding adults have a black head, white underparts, and a checkered black-and-white mantle. Non-breeding plumage is brownish, with the chin and fore neck white. The bill is black-blue and held horizontally. The bill color and angle distinguish this species from the similar White-billed Diver.
This species, like all divers, is a specialist fish-eater, catching its prey underwater, diving as deep as 200 feet (60 m). Freshwater diets consist of pike, perch, sunfish, trout, and bass; salt-water diets consist of rock fish, flounder, sea trout, and herring.
I love the Loons. I love the call of the Loon, so haunting and beautiful. I witnessed one catching a Perch the other day to feed to her young baby. Got a shot, but not a good one.
Canon EOS Rebel XTi; Sigma 150-500mm lens
1/800 sec.; F/6.3; 500mm; ISO 400
Falcon Lake, Manitoba, Whiteshell Provincial Park