Thursday, April 29, 2010 12:06pm

59 degrees    Cloudy    Wind SE 19mph
The big question on everyone's mind is "When are the eggs going to be laid?"
That is the $64,000 question!
I am surprised that they have not been laid yet with all the activity that we saw on Monday and subsequent activity since.
Even as I am writing this, the loons came in off the lake as if on cue.  They swam around the nest just out of camera range although you may have heard some of their soft calls.  Now they have gone back out into the lake.
I guess only they know why they have not laid eggs yet and we have to trust them for the 'right time'.
One of these trips in off the lake things will happen very quickly.  The nest building will become very serious.  And then an egg.
I will have to go back through my notes and see how many confirmed matings we have this year.  Someone asked the question of how soon after the mating the egg is laid.  That is sort of hard to answer since, as you have seen, they mate multiple times.
Once again last night they were on and off the nest and there was additional nest building activity.  I know you are anxious for them to nest.  And so am I  (remember my 'paranoia'?!?!  lol).  But all I can do is counsel patience for all of us.  We are still ahead of when they laid the first egg last year.  Last year the first egg was laid on April 30th.
I do not see anything at this point that causes me any great concern.
Later today there is a possibility of thunderstorms...some severe.  Let's hope that the severe storms stay away from our loons and their nest.  But storms are a part of their life.
One of the reasons that nesting platforms, like this one that floats, have been helpful to loons is that they can ride up and over waves or boat wakes.  Many nest failures are due to eggs being washed out of 'natural' nests when a wave washes up and over them.  Also a nest like this is far enough from shore to protect it from natural predators like raccoons and mink and skunks and other animals.  
Although as we have seen, we have had a muskrat that has decided it is his duty to check out the nesting platform every so often.  If he comes up on there when the loon is on the nest, he will be taking his life in his own hands.  The loon could easily kill a muskrat with one strategic stab from its sharp bill.  But hopefully we will not see much more of the muskrat.  For the loons, it is just one more part of nature that they have to deal with.
So the anticipation continues to build.  Welcome to the real world of loons.
PS  Just after I posted this, the loons were back swimming around the nest at 12:28pm.  I had to laugh because they sat just out of view of the camera for much of the time and sat right by the microphone making their quiet if to say they just wanted to tease us by letting us hear them but not see them.  Let's see if they get up on the nest this time.
And she DOES get up on the nest and sits and does a very little bit of nest rearranging.  But the two loons mainly make the quiet calls back and forth to each other.
Only time will tell what comes next.