Loons of Anglin Lake

Posted by on 28. June 2014 in Blog / Journal, Photography | 7 comments

Two weeks ago I had a chance to photograph Common Loons on Anglin Lake in northern Saskatchewan. A good friend of mine, Bradley Muir has been conducting loon surveys for the last 4 years as part of the Canadian Lakes Loon Survey. Bird Studies Canada is coordinating the surveys, and also analyzes and reports on the collected data. Brad invited me to join him and try to photograph the loons in his part of the woods.

Common loons on Anglin Lake, Saskatchewan
There is something special about loons of Anglin Lake. Many Canadian lakes host Common Loons and you can hear their characteristic call throughout the country. However, according to long-term studies published by Bird Studies Canada, Anglin Lake has more than 14 times higher population density of loons compared to records from any other Canadian lake of similar size. Loons of Anglin Lake also have almost 30 times as many large young. Over the tenure of loon surveys, between 30 and 44 breeding pairs have been observed on the lake. Brad recorded 38 pairs this year.

A pair of Common Loons on Anglin Lake, Saskatchewan
One beautiful Saturday evening, Brad, myself and Andrea Nelson who has been helping with the surveys, headed on the lake in a small boat generously provided by the Land of the Loon Resort. Breeding season has been delayed this year and pairs of loons were still hanging out on the open water. Winds was calm and I was able to capture a few good images of loons feeding and displaying.

Common loons on Anglin Lake, Saskatchewan
Tranquility in this part of boreal forest was sometimes interrupted by a roar of speed boats pulling a skier. With a loud music blasting, some boats create a considerable wake and disturbance which represent a threat to the nesting loons. Chick feeding and other parenting duties are likely disrupted during periods of heavy human use. Disturbance to birds is likely to increase; Anglin Lake has been included in the newly created Great Blue Heron Provincial Park. Enjoyment of the lake by a nearby cottage community and needs of loons will have to reconciled in the upcoming park management plan.

A pair of Common Loons (Gavia immer) at Anglin Lake, Saskatchewan.
If you are interested in observing and photographing loons and other wildlife in the boreal forest of northern Saskatchewan, Bradley is running Loon Country Excursions. To find out more, check out the Sundogs Excursions web site or call 306-960-1654. Before you decide to go, be aware that Brad can not guarantee loon photography as the excursions are operated to prevent undue disturbance to all wildlife. If animals choose to keep their distance, participants can still enjoy their presence, listen to the iconic calls, and focus their binoculars and cameras on magnificent boreal forest and lakes.

Sandy beach on Anglin Lake at sunset, Saskatchewan

Sandy beach on Anglin Lake at sunset



  1. Thanks for an informative piece on Anglin Lake and Loons.

  2. Beautiful!! Thank you so much…

  3. Brings back a lot of memories for me in the early 50’s fishing the lake with my Dad . I remember the weeds and there was a lot of down time removing them from your lure and line. There were weed less type just starting in thos days but the were useless because the fish wouldn’t bite. We often remarked about the Loons and their call. There is nothing like it in the still of the night. In 1959 I fished for the day with John D. Who was the Prime Minister at that time on the chain of lakes that make up Anglin lake and if my memory is right Jonh caught a Jack which was in the 15 – 20 lb. range. As a young boy I fished a number of times with him. He said it was the only way he could really relax and forget the business around him. He loved to fish the Heart Lake. We used to see him every time he was home in P.A. Where I was raised. I spent my summers at Sunnyside Beach,Emma Lake where we had a cabin for many years and my children would spend their Summers there with their Granddad. There is no place like Northern Sask. for any and all sport activities. Thanks for posting the beautiful pictures. Believe me the only Loons where I live now and have for many years here in Calgary are the human Loonies.

    • Hello Garth
      Thank you for sharing your childhood memories with us. I have seen a few human Loonies in Saskatoon as well. Their call is quite loud and travels far and wide.

  4. Where does anglin lake get it’s water source

    • Hello Bonnie
      Sorry for a slow response – I was trying to get a reliable infromation to answer your question. There are several smaller streams that flow into the Anglin Lake. Most of the water flows into the lake from north & west. The two larger river systems that bring the majority of inflow are Spruce River (from the Prince Albert NP) and Bitter Creek. Hope this helps.

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