Thursday, April 30, 2009 8:59am

55degrees     Cloudy and Misting     Wind S 9mph

It has been quite a morning already!

On a cool, cloudy Minnesota spring morning, the loons have once again honored us with their presence and have presented us with the FIRST EGG at about 6:20am!!

So now comes the vigil.

The loons will seldom leave the nest for more than a couple minutes at a time. And even when they leave the nest, they will usually be swimming nearby.

The normal, accepted incubation period for a loon egg is 28 days. So that would put the anticipated hatching of the egg somewhere around May 28th.

However, in past years, we have changed some of the commonly accepted wisdom about loons through observation of this nest. We have documented egg hatching (especially of the second egg) in as little as 25 days. So the hatching may actually be a day or two earlier than May 28th. But that gives you a date to shoot for and anticipate.

Here are some of the things that you can look for over the next month.

Unlike many birds, loons share nesting duties almost equally between the male and female. Each one will stay on the nest for 2 to 3 hours. Then the mate will come in and they will exchange nesting duties and the one that has been on the nest will swim out into the lake to swim and fish and relax while the one on the nest settles in for the next few hours.

When they get on the nest, they go through a whole procedure of turning the egg with their beak and then settling down on it. They may do this a couple times until they get it "just right". They will wiggle back and forth until they are satisfied that they have the egg exactly where they want it. Then they will tuck their wing tips under and the egg is warm and secure.

Once in a while during their "shift" on the nest, they will stand up on their legs and using their beak they will turn the egg and then settling back down on the nest in a new position. It is believed that turning eggs helps the chick develop properly and prevents them from becoming stuck to one side of the eggshell.

I would expect to see them lay the second egg in a couple days.

Now the real drama starts!

Will the eggs be safe? From storms. From eagles. From cold water and waves. From unknown predators, including human. From any other disaster. And then once the eggs hatch, will the chicks survive all the challenges that they are faced with?

So stay tuned for this year's episode of the soap opera "As The Egg Turns"!

If you want to see some wonderful pictures of the actual egg laying taken by Pam in the UK, check them out at    Thank you so much, Pam, for the beautiful pictures of this special event!

Enjoy these next few days.  They will be special.  And exciting.  And rewarding.  And nail-biting.

Questions, Comments, Observations?  Leave them here or in the Chat Room or send them to