Sunday, April 5, 2009 9:35pm

43 degrees  Windy

Today was a big day here at the lake.  The ice went out!

There are two big days with any lake....the day the ice goes out and the day the lake freezes over.

So now the lake is open for the season.

The ice went out much faster than I expected.  Throughout the day yesterday, the ice sheet remained intact.  Overnight we got about one or two inches of new snow.  But then by this morning, the wind had picked up from the north and began to move the ice sheet and break it up.  By this afternoon, all the ice had been blown to one side of the lake and the rest of the lake was open.

It will be a couple days before the rest of the ice breaks up and melts.  So until that happens, we cannot put out the loon nesting platform.

One of the neighbors called yesterday morning and said that he saw a single loon swimming in open water in front of his place.  I have not personally seen a loon nor have I heard them call yet but it is entirely possible that one of the loons came to check out the lake.

I have seen it in previous years where the loons were on the lake on the day that the ice went out.  How do they know?  How do they do it?  There are some researchers who have theorized that loons keep moving north as waters open up.  When they reach the area of "their" lake, they stay on whatever open water is available in the area.  Then they make daily reconnaissance flights to their lake to see if it is ice free yet.  And once there is open water on their lake, they are there ready to stake out and defend their territory.

This seems like the most plausible explanation to me.

So we are getting very close to the start of a new season.  But first the ice must completely go.  The loons must be back.  And the nest must be put out.  It will be a couple weeks at least before the loons get serious about nesting.  We hope to have the camera available to you by then.

Join us for the excitement of the unknown this year.  Tell your family and friends to join you as together we watch the marvel of the life cycle of our beautiful loons.  What an opportunity this is to let young kids see loons close up, something they could never do in the wild.  And to teach them about the wonders of nature and of creation around them.

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