Friday, April 30, 2010 5:09pm CDT

58 degrees   Raining   Wind  W 13mph
Under a steel gray sky with rain coming down, one of the loons has just gotten back on the nest as the other one swims nearby.  I assume it is the female but as you know it is almost impossible to visually tell the male from the female.   They are almost identical in coloring and size but the male is just slightly larger.
They had been swimming around the nest for about 10 minutes before the one got up on the nest.
The one on the the nest is definitely more serious about nest building.
They already have a very good depression built for a nest but it seems as if the nesting urge is getting stronger.  This is the most nest building behavior I have seen for several days and it is a very positive sign that we may be getting closer to the first egg being laid!
The second loon got up on the nest with the first one by coming in the 'back door' near where the camera is mounted.  After sitting there for a couple minutes, he got back in the water while the other one kept rearranging nesting materials.
She left the nest for about 30 seconds and then immediately got back up on the nest and continued her 'mewing' and rearranging materials.  All of these things are very encouraging behaviors.  The 'mewing' call is almost constant.  And then the male gets up on the nest again and they mate once more.  This is the most times that I have ever seen them mating in one season....not to say that this is anything out of the ordinary but just that I have not witnessed it that many times in previous years.  The most that I had ever seen before is 6 matings.
So once again we are adding to the body of knowledge about loon behavior.
There seems to be a unique vocalization that is almost as if she is inviting mating.  It will be interesting to continue to observe and listen to those calls to see what they actually mean.  There is so much information that the new microphone this year is adding and you are a part of it!
Just so that you know, the 'mewing' call sounds very loud on the microphone.  But it is a very quiet call.  Since I first heard it here, I have listened for it from the shore of the lake and you cannot hear it!  Once in a while I have heard the hoot.  But never this 'mewing'.  So no wonder it has been a largely unknown call because people are never able to be close enough to the loons to hear it without disturbing them!
And you are among the few people in the world who have ever heard it live!
Obviously there is a lot of information that is being communicated through that call.  Maybe one day we will understand some of it.  But for now, we can just listen and watch and learn.
Even as I am writing this, she continues to be MUCH more serious about nesting behavior.  Are we close?  Only time will tell.  But this is very hopeful behavior.
Keep watching!
Go get the kids!  Tell your kid's teachers to use the LoonCam as a wonderful teaching tool in the classroom.  Get grandpa and grandma.   Invite the neighbors over and have a "egg watch vigil" party!!!
All of this activity is very encouraging that something will happen soon!