Tuesday, June 1, 2010 5:49am CDT


55 degrees  High Thin Clouds    Calm


This could be a good morning for some loon eggs to hatch!

But then almost any morning could be.

It is quiet on the lake.  The boats and people of the holiday weekend have gone home.  And right now there are not even any fishermen out in the early morning light that I can see.  Just a glorious chorus of birds greeting the dawn.  The dry weather and lack of rain has taken its toll on the irises!

And our loon.  Ever faithful.  Ever vigilant.  Always protective.  Super secretive.

What is under her?  Is it still eggs?  Or are we close to having a chick?  If she knows, she isn't telling!

This morning there are none of the tell-tale movements that would indicate that there is a chick trying to get out of an egg under her.  Or especially that there is a chick already moving around.  My first glance last night when I got home was that I saw 'something'.  But after looking again and again, after squinting until I could squint no more, I could not be sure of anything.  And then finally she got up and rolled the eggs and both eggs looked intact.

However, she rolled them so quickly and with them partially obstructed, one could not be sure.  There was still enough room for hope and speculation that something had started to happen.

So once again this morning, we wait and hope.  When they are ready, they will be ready.  At the perfect time.  There is nothing we can do to speed them up.

Tomorrow morning will be 28 days, the 'normal' incubation time for the first egg.

The last few nights, Minnesota's 'other state bird' has made its reappearance with a vengeance.  Technically known as the Mosquitii Airplanus Giganticus, the mosquitoes are back!

As much as mosquitoes can torment us, the black flies can torment a loon sitting on the nest.   They suck the loons blood just like a mosquito sucks our blood.  And the flies are such specialists that they only drink loon blood!  You have watched them fly around the loon's head and watched the loon snatch them out of the air.  Some years the black flies can get so bad they will actually abandon a nest.  When they are in the water, they can dive to get rid of them.  But on the nest they are vulnerable.

But fortunately this year does not seem to have been too bad for the loons.  There have been black flies around but for the most part they have been tolerable.

Last night there were a multitude of other bugs flying around.  On the iris and even on the loon!  Gauzy-winged bugs that some of you have referred to as 'fairies'.  And in the infrared light of the night vision cam, one could almost be convinced that indeed it was Peter Pan flying around.

They seemed to especially like the iris and were apparently even mating on it.  It was the first time I had seen these bugs in such abundance.  But then of course with the night vision cam we are seeing a whole new world open up to us!

I wondered if the iris were drawing these 'fairies' or what it was.  I even had to go out and look at other irises late last night to see if the bugs were on them as well.

They weren't.

So some combination of the water and the infrared light and the loon and the nest made it the perfect place and time for these delicate bugs to appear.

But then they were gone.

The 'big show' lasted for only an hour or two.

So now this morning we wait.  Along with the loon.

The advantage is that we can be doing other things.  The loon has to stay.  To be tied to that nest for at least a while yet.  She has come to far and invested too much time and energy to become careless now.  And so her home also becomes her 'prison'.  But they do it willingly.  Or is it?  What drives them to leave their preferred home in the water to sit on 'land' in the hot sun and the rain and the cold and the wind and all the other challenges?

How much do they actually understand of what is going on?  How much does she know of what is happening inside the eggs that she is not telling us?

There is so much we don't know.

So once again today, we are the students!  The loon is the teacher.

And today's lesson plan is 'perfect'.  If we will only listen and learn!