Sunday, May 10, 2009 6:44am

39 degrees     Clear    Wind NW 10

This morning, we are right on the edge of the clouds.  To the south, the sky is completely clear, not a cloud in sight.  To the north, almost completely cloudy.  So we will see which way they move.  The forecast is for skies to clear as the day progresses and for the temperatures to be in the cool 60s for this Mother's Day.

And on the loon nest, a mother loon anxiously awaits the arrival of two new baby loons.

The loons are well into the routine now.  They have already been on the nest for over a week and have almost three weeks more to go.

One can only imagine what is happening inside the eggs.  The miracle that converts simple egg yolk and egg white into an adorable baby loon that is able to breathe and see and move and swim and "speak".  There is no other word for that other than miracle.  The miracle of life itself.

One can only wonder, too, exactly what goes through a loon's mind.  How much do they comprehend.  How much do they understand.  It is obvious that there is so much that it is there.  But how much of it is simply "instinct" (whatever that is) and how much is "thought" (also, whatever that is) and how much is "understanding (ALSO, whatever that is!).  So much of what they do, we do not have a clue how they do it.  And all of that is another miracle.

Yesterday was a relatively uneventful day for the loons.  The weather was very cool and cloudy.  And because of the wind it felt downright cold.  So that helped to keep the number of fishermen and other activity on the lake at a lower level.  And none of them came near the nest, if they were even aware of the nest.  There was one kayaker who caused the loon to go low into its defensive "I am hiding" posture.  But the kayaker turned and went the other way when she had seen the loon.  Fortunately, the loon never left the nest.

Today we will see what happens with fishermen and other boat traffic.

I have yet to see anyone who has been purposely malicious.  There have been a number of people through the years who have been too curious or have loved loons too much and approached too closely.  But I have not seen anyone who has purposely done anything to harm the loons. 

But especially as we approach the summer season and the weather continues to warm, the activity on the lake will pick up.  There is a general rule of thumb that you can use or pass along to anyone you know who is out on a lake with loons.  Especially if you know where the nest is.

Stay at least 200 to 300 feet away from them and they will be perfectly ok.  Closer than that and you may scare them off the nest.  Being scared off the nest one time probably is not going to hurt anything.  But if it happens when you are there.  And then the next person.  And then the next person.  And then the next person.  Well, you can see the obvious.

Loons are surprisingly adaptive.  We associate them with the great wildernesses of the north.  But as the pair you are watching right now have proved for years, they can and do adapt to a lot of people being around.  As long as we "do not love them too much" and try to get too close to the nest.  Or get too close to them on the water when they have babies swimming with them.

So just give them their "space" and you and your grandchildren can enjoy them for many years to come!

And we all can enjoy that wonderful, mournful sound of a loon calling in the morning mist.  Or at twilight.

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