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What a great write-up of an interesting behavior.  Thanx for the posting.

Sandy and Mark Turner
Lyman, NH

On Fri, Dec 14, 2018 at 10:41 AM Bielsa, Lourdes M <
[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Maybe the adult Great Black-backed was too old or sick, and the rest
> decided to attack him??
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Vermont Birds [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Ian Worley
> Sent: Friday, December 14, 2018 5:39 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [VTBIRD] Loon attack ..... Lake Champlain at Red Rocks Park,
> South Burlington
>
> Last evening, in the light of sunset two companions and I heard an odd,
> muted voice of a waterfowl make one call from Lake Champlain just west of
> the tip of Red Rocks Park in South Burlington.  Gaining a viewing point we
> saw, some 300 feet off shore, a mature Great Black-backed Gull on the water
> being hassled by a first winter bird of the same species, which was soon
> joined by a second winter bird.
>
> With binocs we could see a floating, injured or dead duck, apparently a
> Common Goldeneye, being pecked at and protected by the adult.  The young
> birds were making little progress in distracting the defending adult.
> Shortly a Common Loon, 200-300 feet to the southeast at the mouth of
> Shelburne Bay, appeared .... also watching the gulls.  It dove, and in just
> a few seconds the adult gull burst with no warning from the water several
> feet in the air, fluttering and flapping; the youngsters backed away and
> circled the momentary chaos.  The loon surfaced right by the duck, just
> where the gull had been.  The loon soon sank away, and the gull descended
> back toward its defending position, which it took as the loon disappeared
> underwater.
>
> Soon the loon appeared again at the surface maybe 40 feet away peering
> intently at the gull and inert duck; meanwhile the young gulls resumed
> their hassling of the adult.  The loon dove and almost instantly again
> attacked the adult gull from underwater; the gull leaping from the water
> with great annoyance.
>
> This routine continued repeatedly for many minutes, by which time the
> second winter gull had had enough and flew away northward.  A couple more
> attacks by the loon and the first winter bird gave up and departed in the
> closing darkness.  As we continued our vigil, I heard the sound of
> "whistlers", the duck hunter name for Goldeneyes, and three speeding
> goldeneyes in a "missing man" echelon formation flew low over the scene and
> disappeared into the twilight shadows to the south.   After yet a few more
> loon attacks, we tucked away the binocs, and left the scene with the adult
> Great Black-backed Gull continuing to guard the carcass, and the prowling
> loon continuing with its submarine attacks.
>