38 degrees Clear Wind E 2mph
Sometimes when you least expect it, you learn something completely new that you could have never predicted.
This evening about 5 pm I was working down by the lake when I saw an eagle fly over.
As it passed over the nest, I wondered if it saw the nest and realized what it was. Then it turned and came back over the nest as if to check it out more closely. It never swooped down on the nest but just passed over it. And then it kept flying back in the direction it had come.
I had no sooner thought "I wonder if the loons saw the eagle fly over the nest" than somewhere out in the lake came the call of a loon. I stood and watched for a minute and sure enough - both loons were headed in toward the nest. Had the seen the eagle? Were they coming to defend their home?
I headed up to the house so that I would not disturb them if they came in.
As I got into the house, I took the binoculars to see where they were. Sure enough, they were both swimming around the nest. Between the binoculars and the picture on the tv, I watched them as they swam around. But neither one of them tried to get up on the nest.
But what amazed me was something I was not at all expecting!
As they swam by the nest, the new microphone picked up a call from one of the loons. It is a call that I have never heard before! I was fascinated, dumbfounded and amazed all at the same time.
For about 10 minutes one of the loons made this call. Without the microphone, I would never have heard it. It was sort of like the "hoot" but it wasn't the hoot [we will talk about calls at some point....loons make 4 basic calls, one of which is the hoot]. It was a very quiet and gentle call. It is hard to even describe it but it was sort of like an "oh-oooo.....oo-oo....oh-oooo". That doesn't do it justice but that is the closest I can come to describing it.
I stood there transfixed, listening to the microphone and not believing my ears.
I have never read any detailed definitive information about this call. It seems to me somewhere I have read about loons 'mewing' but there was never a description that was given. Could this be 'mewing'? And why has it never been classified or described in any of the loon calls. Who knows, maybe when we are finally live with the cam and the new sound, you may also be able to hear this call. And maybe someone knows what it is. Or it is possible that through the LoonCam we will once again add to the body of knowledge about loons.
After swimming near the nest for about 10 minutes, they swam back out into the lake.
But 10 minutes later, they were swimming back in toward the nest.
This time one of them got up on the nest!
There was no attempt by the other loon to get up on the nest nor was there any mating. But the loon on the nest showed the first signs of nest building. Using her feet to gradually begin to fashion a bowl in the nesting material. This went on for about 5 or 10 minutes and then (s)he got off the nest and the two of them swam back out into the lake.
This is the first time this year that I have witnessed any 'nest building' behavior. But that is a very encouraging sign that they are taking ownership of the nest and that we may have another year of watching our loons. I also took the call when the eagle was flying over and the two loons immediately heading to the nest as a very promising territorial sign....'this is our nest, eagle! Don't be flying over it like that!'
Who knows. In all likelihood there is an egg developing deep inside the body of the female. And she is feeling that deep urge which will determine all she does for the next several months.
The technical gnomes were here for several hours again tonight working on all kinds of things necessary to bring all of this to you. All of us are so anxious to once again be online live so that you can witness all that is happening.
Here are some things to look for when the LoonCam is finally live. You will see periodic visits to the nest with long periods in between of the loons no where in sight. Then one day the loons will be back and one of them will be on the nest and much more serious about nest building. Once we reach that stage, usually the laying of the first egg happens within short order.
It is as if there is some "internal urgency" to get that nest built! Like building the baby's new room at home so that it is ready when the baby comes home from the hospital.
So on any number of fronts, we are getting close. Now is the time to let all your friends and neighbors know about the LoonCam and to encourage them to watch.