Saturday, April 23, 2010 10:43pm


49 degrees  Some rain


Last night and today we have been receiving much needed rain.

But for the loons, rain is no problem whatsoever.  Water is their realm.

I was gone for a good share of the day so I missed a lot of the activities.  I appreciate reading through some of your entries of what has been happening.  I talked to a friend tonight who had tuned in about 3:30 this afternoon just in time to see the loons on the nest mating.  His young sons asked, "Are they doing what we think they are doing?!!"  This is nature.  Uncensored.

That would be at least the fourth time that they have mated.  This is an encouraging sign that they are more and more bonding with the nest and taking ownership of it.

When I came home just before dark, both loons were swimming a couple hundred feet off to the right of your picture.  The fact that they are spending more time in the area of the nest like that is also a sign of taking ownership of the nest and is encouraging that they will probably nest on it again.

Shortly after I saw them swimming there, they gave several tremolo calls which is normally an alarm call. It was shortly before dark and  I went down to look to see if I could see what was disturbing them.  I thought it might have been an eagle flying over.  But I did not see an eagle nor did I see anything else which should be disturbing to them.  But they obviously had seen something.  I am sure many of you heard the calls.

Someone mentioned it sounds like a beaver gnawing on the nest!

I think the sound that they are referring to is actually the squeaking of the foam which helps support the nest.  When there are waves it produces enough movement and the foam rubs making that squeaking noise.

In years past, I have known that the foam squeaked but once the nest was out in the water, it was out of sight out of mind.  When I first started to hear it over the microphone, it was so annoying.  Now it has become sort of comforting in a strange way.

But obviously it is something that does not bother the loons because it has been there every year.

I would guess that we are within a few days of laying the first egg.  But who knows?  It is impossible to predict with any certainty.

There are several things for you to watch for.

The first is nest building activity.

You already saw some of that within the first couple hours that the cam was live.  That was the FIRST of any nest building activity!  And you were able to witness it.

There will be some more of that type of activity when they are on the nest.  Moving material with their feet.  Turning.  Settling down in a different position.  Making sure it is comfortable from every direction.  Getting up.  Turning again.  Using their feet to dig a nesting depression.  Picking up material in its beak and placing it along the sides of its body.

But then one day, you will notice that the nest building becomes much more serious, purposeful and intense.  Almost as if an urgency has come over the loon.  That usually means that egg laying is getting close....possibly even within a matter of hours.

Then when the egg is about to be laid, the loon will sort of climb up on the edge of the nest.  It will spread its wings against the nest for stability.  You will see the body straining.  It is obvious at this point that the egg is moving inside the loon.

Then you will see the end of the egg appear.

And all of a sudden, the egg will just POP out!

The loon will sit there shaking and obviously exhausted for some minutes before it gets back in the water and swims away.  Usually the male will be swimming near the nest when all of this is going on and you may actually be able to see him swimming an expectant father.

I remember the first time I saw an egg looked like it was made out of pure 24k GOLD!  This was literally the 'goose' that laid the GOLDEN EGG!

So there are a couple things for you to watch for in the days ahead....increased time on the nest, nest building activity, serious nest building activity, the loon up on the side of the nest with wings spread and then finally...the actual laying of the egg.

I am going to be very interested to listen with the new microphone to the sounds that the loon makes [if any] when she lays the egg.  Once again it will add so much to our knowledge about loons.

I appreciate all of you watching and sharing what you see with everyone.  With that many eyes watching, we can document so much more than with just one person trying to watch.  So thank you for that.

Every day that goes by gets more and more exciting!