Saturday, April 4, 2009 7:45am

26 degrees   Sunny   Calm

Welcome back as we prepare to follow the loons for 2009.

Your interest over the last couple years has been a wonder to behold.  Who knows what will happen this year!  I guess that is part of the wonder and intrigue of watching the loons as they nest and attempt to raise a new generation of loons.  They are the actors.  They are the ones in control.  All we can do is provide a site that they hopefully will once again use to build a nest.  But beyond that, everything else is out of our control.

So all we can do is sit back and watch.  And marvel at these wonderful creatures.

By now, the loons should be on their way back to the great north if they are not already in the southern parts of their range.

Since we last saw them last summer, they have flown down to the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic coast, totally lost their black and white feathers and turned a drab gray/brown, regained their black and white feathers and now are on their way back north.

They went almost totally silent during the winter months on the Gulf but soon will once again be making the calls that are such a signature of the wilds of the northern woods.  To someone who has never heard a loon calling, it is hard to describe to them what the sound is like and the emotions it stirs in almost all of us who hear it.

As soon as the ice goes out of "their lake", they will be there to set up ownership of their territory again.

After a long and unusually cold winter, the lake here still is covered with ice.  There are the first few feet of open water around the edges with some additional open water to the west and the north sides of the lake.  Most of this open water has appeared in the last couple days.  There may even be enough for the loons to return, although I have not seen or heard them yet.

With the cold overnight, the few feet of open water along the edge has frozen over again this morning.  The forecast is for the weather to stay colder than normal for the next few days and even a possibility of a blizzard coming in the next day or two.  However, at this point it looks like the blizzard will go farther south through southern Minnesota and northern Iowa.  But it could delay the return of the loons.

When the weather does return to normal, things will change quickly.  The stronger sun will quickly weaken and melt the ice.  And even a slight wind will be enough to break it up and open the lake.

Once the ice is completely out, we can rebuild and place the nesting platform in the water for the loons.  We will try to have the camera up and running as soon as possible.  The "technical wizards" are already working to make sure everything is ready to go.

If past experience is any guide, it will take the loons a few weeks of checking out the nest before they get serious about building their nest for this year.  That is IF they use the nesting platform again.  Like I said before, we can put it out.  But we can't make the loons use it.  We are totally at their mercy from that point on as to whether they use the platform again.  We have been very fortunate that they have chosen to use the platform every year for several years now.  And they have laid and hatched eggs every year.  Others have not been so fortunate.

All of us together will anxiously await to see what they do.

So, WELCOME BACK to the adventure of the LoonCam for 2009!  Tell your friends and neighbors and school teachers about the loon cam. And invite them to watch along with all the rest of us. But warn them!  They could become addicted!


Questions or Comments?

One of the wonderful new things that the technical wizards have given us this year is that you will also be able to leave your own messages and observations here.  And soon you will be able to chat with each other as well!