Friday, May 29, 2009 6:30am CDT


45 degrees  Clear and Sunny   Wind NNW 6mph


Our loons - all four of them - have made it safely through another night.

Now in the cool morning air with the sun just skimming the surface of the lake, it swims near the nest with its precious cargo of two little chicks tucked safely under its wings.  Two bumps under the wings.  One on either side.  Occasionally a little head and beak will peak out from under the wing.  Just to check to see where they are.

There are a couple calls.  And soon the other loon swims in from somewhere out on the lake,

And then both of them head out into the lake for the day.

But our chicks are ok.  They are active.  And they have made it through one more dark night.

Shortly after dark last night, the loons calls could be heard echoing across the lake.  Wails, and tremolos and yodels.

There are times that I wish that I did not know the difference between the calls.  For when it was just a "loon call", I could enjoy every one of them.  Now the tremolo calls and the yodels cause me concern knowing that they are alarm calls.  And especially in the night when I can't see what is happening.  There is immediately concern for the safety of the chicks.

There are sometimes when I question the commonly accepted wisdom that the tremolo and the yodel are  only used as alarm calls.  There are times when I have seen the alarm calls used and yet see absolutely no reason that the loons should be alarmed or that anything is threatening them.  There is so much to learn about these magnificent birds.

Shortly after the loons left the area, there were HUGE legs standing on the the nest.  Standing on the nest!

It was a great blue heron that had landed on the nest!

It was tall enough that all you could see on the camera was the body and the legs.  I have never seen a heron land on the nest before.  Surely the loons see this as well.  But there is no reaction.  Their bond with the nest has been broken.

Twenty four hours ago there would have been a MAJOR battle if this had happened.  And our new chick would have been in serious trouble.  So just when you think you have seen everything possible, something new like this happens.

The heron stands and pivots around showing its whole body.  Much like a heron model on a heron fashion runway.  Showing off the long legs.  The magnificent body and the unique feathers that lie on top of the main body feathers, just like some fancy evening wrap put on for a night on the town.

After five minutes on the nest, the heron flies off.  With no reaction whatsoever from the loons.

Last night around 7pm, one of the loons came in next to the nest with both babies.  It just floated.  No attempt to get on the nest.  Just content to float nearby.  I was wishing that the camera had been live for you to see it.  For about twenty minutes it floated by the camera for a minute or two and then out of sight.  And then floated back the other direction for a minute or two and once again out of sight.  And both chicks were either on the back or swimming nearby during this time.

I assumed it was the female and that the male was somewhere out on the lake.

Then the loon decided to get back up on the nest.  In one of its characteristic vaults, it jumped up on the nest.  And the two chicks on its back went flying through the air and landed in the water!

The loon sat on the nest this way.  And then it got up and turned that way.  And then got up and turned the other way.

And then came the surprising part.

It made a couple of wail calls.  And then more surprising.  A couple of yodels!

It was the male on the nest and that had been taking care of both chicks.  Not the female like I had been so quick to assume.

But then as if to say "Ok, I am satisfied.  There is nothing here for us.", he got off the nest in  just a couple minutes and swam away with his two little chicks in tow.

This morning you can relax and know that both our little chicks are safe and sound.  And right now are enjoying a wonderful sunny morning on a Minnesota lake.  Just like it should be.  And like the Louis Armstrong song that somebody posted here in the chatroom, "I see trees of green, red roses too...and I say to myself, WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD!"

Have a wonderful day in YOUR wonderful world!

Don't forget to stop and look at all the beauty and wonder that God has placed all around you.  And today appreciate it anew with new eyes and new understanding.