Thursday, May 28, 2009 5:18am CDT


40 degrees Clear Wind NNW 3mph


First of all, for those of you are checking in this morning to see if we have a chick...or two



As of about 8:50pm last night, the loon let us see a new second chick just emerging from the egg. Still wet! But struggling to move and be active. But a new chick. As new as new can get!

So all of the loons patience and faithful care of the eggs has paid off with yet another chick!

This morning is a moody morning on the lake.

Banks of fog drift across the lake in the cool early morning light. What Sigurd Olson used to call the horses of Lac la Croix because they looked like the flowing manes of galloping horses. So this morning the loons are seeing the "horses" of their lake running in the chill morning air.

But all is well.

There is a healthy second chick under the loon on the nest.

And the other loon floats nearby with its charge, the first chick, tucked safely under its wings.

Once again one can only wonder, does it get any better than this?!?!

As the first rays of the rising sun now touch the loon on the nest, the second chick peeks out from under a wing. What is going through its mind as it sees the sun for the first time? And feels its warmth on its downy black body? A body so small and vulnerable. But so active.

Or does anything go through its mind? Oh to know the answers to the great imponderable questions!

But all that is really important at this point is that we have two loon chicks. Two healthy loon chicks.

Two healthy and active loon chicks.

And our second chick is getting his first look at all that is new and wonderful and scary in this new world. Almost as if it is too much to take it all in, he scrambles back under the safety of the wing. Only to reappear a few minutes later for another look. Trying to take it all in. Once again to disappear back under the wing. The only place that he has really known over the few short hours of its life during the dark of night.

This is what the loons have put all their attention and effort into making happen. It is what so many of you have invested countless hours watching the webcam to see. Now it is here. Now it is successful. Now we can relax. Or can we?

For now begins the most vulnerable and dangerous time for our little chicks. The first two or three weeks are the weeks that they remain at risk from so many dangerous things in this big new world that they have entered.

But for us, we can just revel in the fact that we have two beautiful little chicks. Healthy and active. Something out of nothing.

So enjoy these moments. Enjoy them to their fullest and remind yourself what a wonderful world we live in. And how we have been given the gift of special moments like this ifwe will only pause long enough to see them. To see what is really important in life. To see life itself!

All other things fade into insignificance.

You might want to watch for one other thing today. It may be one of the last times you get a chance to see it this year while the loons are still on the nest. In the bright sunshine that is forecast for today, look especially at the coloring of the loons head and the black collar around its neck.

At first glance they appear just jet black.

But watch. As the sun strikes them just right, they are not a simple black at all. Notice that the head had a distinct green iridescence to it. The light has to be just right to see it. But if you watch you will see it.

But even more amazing, watch the black collar around the loons neck.

In just the right light, it is a spectacular turquoise green! Not black at all but a stunning turquoise! A turquoise necklace befitting royalty.

People wonder why loons are so special. And why this LoonCam has become such a worldwide phenomena. Would there be the same interest and wonder if it were a camera on a duck nest. Or a turkey nest. It seems that there is something about the loons that is so special that it stirs something deep inside us. Even people who have never seen a loon before. Or especially heard a loon. What can ever wipe from our memory the sound of a loon call echoing across some still northern lake at night.

I mentioned in the blog last night about preparing yourself for the almost inevitable fight between the chicks. The establishment of the "pecking order". I hope it won't happen because it is hard to watch. But I know that there is a high probability that it will happen. And I just want you to be prepared for it. It can be jarring.

Here we have the perfect picture this morning. All is well with the world. The sun shines brightly. We have two healthy chicks. Can anything intrude on this picture of perfection. And then the fight starts.

I would guess that it will happen if the first chick gets up on the nest and realize that it has competition for mom and dad's attention. Or when the second chick gets in the water for the first time next to the first chick.

They will probably fight and fight and fight. It will look like they are going to tear each other apart. And there is a slight danger of injury. But it usually lasts for 5 to 10 minutes and as soon as it started, it stops. Never to be repeated as far as what I have observed.

What is the purpose of it? Add it to your list of questions to ask God the next time you talk to him. Some scientists feel that establishing a dominance is important in times when food is scarce. That the survival of one chick is better than losing both. But there is a part of me that says that there is even a deeper meaning. One too deep for me to understand.

On a personal note, let me apologize for not being available when the cam went down yesterday afternoon. Reading the messages this morning I know that many of you were panicking. Yesterday I had some minor surgery and so if people had been able to find us, I would have been totally out of it and of not much help anyway. So I am glad that Travis and the neighbors were able to be very creative and get the problem fixed for you. This is one of the few times this year that the problem could only be fixed with the video server  here on site. So I apologize.

Now for what to expect over the next few days.  I would guess that by the end of the day the second chick will be off the nest and in the water.  If not before.  They may return to the nest but it will be rare.  You will see them swimming into view around the nest once in a while but will gradually venture farther and farther away.  We will leave the cam running for a while so that you can get that occasional glimpse of our wonderful loon family.  And to give you a chance to go through withdrawal.  But we are coming close to the end of the saga on cam for this year.

What a wonderful experience it has been.  And how wonderful each of you has been to share it with us and to share it with your family and friends.  God bless each and every one of you!


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