Thursday, May 21, 2009 (originally) 6:39am CDT

(well, once again the system ate the blog entry.....but THIS time I saved it!!!!  or so I thought!  The saved part disappeared too.  Hmmmm So let's try a shortened version)


54 degrees  Cloudy   Wind W3mph


Today is cooler and less windy than yesterday.  The high temperature here at the lake reached 99 degrees!  Fortunately for the loons, the nest is somewhat protected from the high winds yesterday or they would have been riding up and down all day on some pretty high waves.

There are scattered rain showers forecast for today but rain does not pose a problem for our loons.

The loon on the nest was showing defensive hiding behaviour with its head held very low earlier this morning.  I could not see anything that was disturbing it so I walked down to the lake.  I still could not see anything that was disturbing it.  So sometimes there are just things we do not see or understand.

One of the two loons definitely seems to be more shy or defensive that the other loon.  I am not sure which loon it is but I think it is the male.

Last night some of you saw the loon in that defensive behaviour with the head held low for quite a while.  I did see what was disturbing them that time.

I was out mowing when the neighbor came over and told me that a group of fishermen were fishing along the shore and approaching the nest.  I watched for a while as they fished by the neighbors dock.  The loon stayed low on the nest but did not leave.  There were about 6 young people in the boat and also wading the shallows.

When they started moving again closer to the nest, I went down and asked them if they could go out around the raft and the buoys because this was a 'protected nesting area'.  They said sure no problem.  As I walked away, one of the young ladies called back, "Thank you for telling us.  We didn't know."  It is always gratifying to see that kind of understanding and response.  And most people have exactly that kind of attitude and caring.

You may have also seen the loons exhibit another defensive behaviour as they swim around the nest.

A loon can control its buoyancy in the water.  Most of the time it swims fairly high in the water and gives us that classic loon profile.

But it can also literally "sink" out of sight.  Not dive but just sink.

It does this by compressing air sacs within its body.  Researchers tell us that loons have a large air sac within their body that extends out into their wings.

By using special muscles they can either fill that air sac with air or compress the air out.  When the air sac is full, the loon rides high in the water.  When they compress the air sac, they can just sink in the water.  Their almost solid bones that we have talked about before also help them just sink out of sight.  I have watched loons swim with just the top of their head above water if they are concerned about something and want to watch without being seen.

Sometimes you may have been looking right at a loon but did not see it because it was riding so low in the water.

This is just one more thing that make loons such special and unique birds.

So enjoy watching them today.  We are down to the last few days of watching them for this year!

The normal accepted incubation period says that the first egg should hatch one week from today - Thursday. May 28. 

However, I would expect that they would hatch a day or two earlier than that based on previous years experience.  So watch very carefully.  You do not want to miss seeing that wonderful miracle of seeing the little chick peek out from under its parent for the first time.  The chicks will usually leave the nest within about 24 hours of hatching so it is a very short time that you get a chance to see them.

Now it gets REALLY exciting!


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