Monday, June 14, 2010 11:09pm CDT


OK that was not a pleasant trip out to the nest.

Everything went fine and as planned.  I was a little surprised that the loon was off the nest when I got out there.  I kept waiting to hear the splash of her going in the water.  And I never heard it.  She was already off the nest!

I could vaguely see her swimming some distance out from the nest.  Totally silent.  No calls.  No alarm.  No diving.  No splashing.

I quickly made my way back up to shore with the nest while I felt it for any cracks or pips.  There were none.  I held it to my ear to listen for any sounds.  There were none.

But I noticed a natural gas or propane smell!!  It took a second for it to register.  And then it did!!

What do they always say about a gas leak!  It will smell like rotten eggs!  They put a chemical in the gas that smells like rotten eggs to help people know if there is a gas leak.

And it was then I realized that while I was holding the egg to my ear to listen for any sounds, I was SMELLING the egg.  I put it up to my nose.  There it was!  Faint but definite.  The slight smell of a rotten egg.

When I got to shore, I used the flashlight to examine the egg more carefully.

It is a beautiful egg!

But there are absolutely no marks or cracks or holes that would in any way indicate a chick.  Our suspicions had been right.  This egg would not have hatched.  I could even feel it cool slightly in my hand as I walked up to the house.  Cradling it.  Handling it like it was a valuable as pure gold and as fragile as thin crystal.

Once again as I am typing this, I can smell the faint 'natural gas' odor.

But then it started. 

With two wails.  Then tremolos.  Then yodels!

Just what I did not want to happen!

How could they know!  They had not even been to the nest to see that the egg was gone!

I went back outside to listen.  There was one pair of loons near the nest.  And there was another pair of loons calling from partway around the lake.

They were reacting to another pair of loons in the area, NOT to the egg being gone.

Coincidence?  Possible.

In fact, I think MORE 'coincidence' than anything because they still do not know that the egg is gone.  I am sure that a 'predator' [ME!] scaring the loon off the nest contributed to it.  But it seemed to be more the other pair of loons that started calling and then 'our loons' answered!

I know some are probably thinking right now that the loons are expressing loss over the egg.  We have to be careful about putting human emotions on them.  They still do not know the egg is gone.  It will be interesting to see how long it takes them to come back to the nest.  Or if they do.

I have to believe that they will come back to the nest.

But then it will be interesting to see what their reaction will be.

A few raindrops fall.  Is it too much to believe they are 'tears'?