57 degrees Cloudy and rain Wind N10mph
I know from all the new messages that you all have been watching and wondering and concerned about what has been going on.
First of all, there is a little bit of rain right now and the wind has switched directions and picked up. And the temperature has dropped significantly.
OK, here is what has been happening. Forgive me, I am not sure of the times. I just know it was TOO long!
I had been outside working when I heard several wails. I went to look to see what was going on and came just in time to see an eagle fly over. Not circle. Just fly over. But as we have talked about before, it was an eagle. And that was enough to really upset and alarm the loons.
But they settled down fairly quickly after the eagle was gone.
So I went back to what I was doing only to hear calls a little while later. As I came to check to see what was going on, the neighbor was coming over. She asked me, "Did we lose him?"
Since I had not been watching, I was not sure what was going on. And she didn't know that the chick was in the water already. All she knew was that the loon had been off the nest and the other loon was way out in the lake and that the eagle was circling. She had looked at her computer before she came over and saw an empty nest with one egg and no chick!
So she thought the eagle had taken the other chick!
I told her that the chick had gotten in the water a few hours ago and had been with the loon in the water.
But when we looked for the other loon, we could not see it anywhere.
And the loon on the nest kept up this constant long mournful, even painful, calling.
There was no other loon to be seen. And even of more concern to me was that there was no answer from out on the lake! And I could not believe that the loon would have taken the chick that far from the nest! Especially if it was being stalked by an eagle!
Then we saw the little ball of down swimming mightily around the nest. And trying to get up on the nest.
(Just now, the loon has once again left the nest and there is a lot of alarm calling by both loons. It is 8:20pm But just as quickly, the loon is back up on the nest and things seem to have calmed down again.)
Try as he could, he could not make it back up on the nest.
And he swam and he swam and he swam! Around and around and around the nest. In about 10 minutes, he must have done at least 20 laps around the nest.
And the whole while, the loon on the nest kept up the most plaintive, painful wailing!
It was hard to watch. And even harder to listen to. She watched the chick swim around and around. And she wailed and wailed.
But there was no response from the other loon. The lake was silent. I could not figure out why the other loon did not at least answer. And the mournful wailing went on as the chick circled and circled and circled.
We even talked about the possibility that the eagle had taken the other loon!
I did not see any of that second encounter so I did not know what to think. A little earlier when they had been calling during the first eagle flyover, there had been a loon someplace on the other side of the lake that answered with a tremolo alarm call. So I knew that there was a third loon on the lake. And that can be as dangerous as the eagle.
I came so close to violating one of my cardinal rules.
In all of this with setting up and maintaining the nest, I have told myself that I will not interfere. Whatever happens, happens. Nature should take its course.
But watching that little newborn chick swim around and around all alone on a big lake in cold winds, was almost more than I could take. And with the loon on the nest wailing and wailing, it was surreal.
I talked about if something didn't happen soon, I might go down and try to rescue the chick and put him back up on the nest. I knew that by doing so the other loon could very well come after me and try to attack me. And I knew that I could be stabbed!! But it was almost too much to watch without doing something. ANYTHING!
I was so concerned that we would see a big swirl as a fish came and ate the little loon as he swam around the nest! We lost a chick 3 years ago and I think a northern or a bass took it. I couldn't bear the thought of watching that happen to our little chick.
Then we saw a loon come flying in from the left. But the loon on the nest kept calling. And the chick kept swimming. And the other loon landed out some distance from the nest but did not come in towards the nest!
Could it be that this was the third loon I had heard earlier?!!
If it was, we could rapidly go from bad to worse! Out of the frying pan into the fire. Because if it was a third loon coming in, an intruder, it would probably kill the little chick swimming so valiantly around the nest. He made no call in response to the calls of the one on the nest. Which led me to believe that it could very well be an intruder loon drawn to all the commotion!
And then he started swimming toward the nest!
What was going to happen?!
But when he got to the nest and the chick, there was no attack! He found the chick and swam over to it. I held my breath! But then he let the chick climb up on his back. It must be our loon. After another minute or two, the loon on the nest quit the terribly painful mournful call.
We have wanted to bring you sound. And we still want to do that in the future.
But trust me! THIS is one time you did NOT want to hear that sound! It was SO hard to listen to. And went on for SO long. And was so painful.
But now as we get ready for darkness, it seems as if we have made it through this incident.
The chick is riding on the back of the loon. The other loon is on the nest taking care of the egg. And for right now, everything seems to be ok. But our little loon sure has already had more than his share of adventures and challenges. But there will be more to come. Let us hope that by morning light, we still have one small little loon and maybe a second one pecking his way out of the egg!
For those of you who asked, the little loon will probably spend the night riding on the parent's back. There he will be safe from predators under the water and will be able to keep a little warmer. But nothing is guaranteed. And nothing can be taken for granted.
I told the others who had watched this ordeal, "I am not sure if I can do this another year! I don't think my heart can take it!" lol
So once again, we watch and we wait. And we pray and we hope. The innocence and beauty of this little chick tug at your heart strings and you want nothing bad to happen to him. So we will see what morning light brings. A long dark night lies ahead.
But for now, we have one healthy (but tired) chick, one egg and two very faithful adults. Adults who must be vigilant every second of every minute of the day. Things can change so quickly!