Sunday, June 20, 2010 7:07am CDT


58 degrees  Clear  Wind ENE 2mph


Under a cloudless blue sky, several loons swim together across the lake.

There are some clouds further to the north but here our loons swim in bright sunshine on this Father's Day and the last day of spring.  The first fishermen of the day are making their way out to their favorite fishing spots.

Today loons all over the north country once again get on with living their lives.

Some now have chicks to raise.  Others are still on the nest hoping for new chicks.  And others, like our loons, will simply get on with their lives of swimming and fishing and preening.

They will bless and enrich our lives with the view of them majestically and peacefully swimming with such grace and ease.  But especially they will stir something deep within us every time we hear that call.  The call of a loon.  A call unlike any other.   A call with the ability to move us like no other bird.  To immediately conjure up memories.  To bring us back to places and times from long ago.  Whether it be time at a lake cabin or travelling by canoe through wilderness lakes or nights laying in a tent listening to the loons calling.

A call with the ability to transport us to another time and place.

Even if we have never heard or seen a loon first-hand, we are immediately captured by their beauty and grace in the water and their haunting call.  Or we are amused by their ungainly difficulty of maneuvering on land.

But no matter what it is, loons seem to have this ability to touch us in a way that very few other things can.

And so we will enjoy every glimpse of them this summer.  Until the approach of fall decides to take them from us for another year.

We can only hope for their safety as they return to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Coast.

If we are able to track some of the loons by satellite through this research project that is being planned, it will add so much more information to the base of knowledge about what is known of loons.  Not only their migration patterns but also more about their life and behavior while they are on the ocean.  So very little is known of this part of a loon's life.

Thank you for those of you who have sent me information about loons on the lakes that you have observed.  Especially if you have loons with chicks this year on the lakes where you are, would you please let me know at  I will pass that information on to the researchers as they try to decide which loons they will monitor and which will give them the most useful information.

Many times knowledge does not come in blinding bursts.  Most of the time it comes in a little piece here and a little piece there.  But then when you stitch all those pieces together you end up with this beautiful quilt or tapestry of the life of a loon.

So hopefully, even through the LoonCam we can add another square to the quilt.

As the LoonCam 2010 season now winds down, it is with a tinge of sadness.  Not sadness about all that we have seen and learned and experienced, but sadness that it is over for the year.

Who could have predicted at the beginning of the year all that we would be a part of this year!

Eggs laid in a snow storm.  A loon sitting on the nest surrounded by heavy frost.  Blazing sun and heat.  Cloudy rainy days.  Battles with other loons.  Eggs knocked out of the nest into the water.  Possibly a change of which pair of loons is using the nest.  Two eggs that for whatever reason never had a chance of hatching.

So many twists and turns that tugged at our heart strings over and over and over.

That made us laugh.  That made us cry.  That made us sit back and just marvel at the miracle and magnificence of it all.

Nature is not predictable.  Nature writes a different story than what we expect.  And it is not at all the "perfect" story that we in our perfect world view would have written .  But it is always a story that captivates and is interesting.  And ultimately, it IS perfect.

As you have seen, the loons pay very little attention to the nest any more.  It is now just like any other spot on the lake.  And they very seldom even come up to the nest.  They have moved on and it no longer has the hold on them that it once did.  It is amazing the change that takes place in their bond to the nest.  Once again it is one more thing that we find so difficult to fully understand.

I will try to periodically post some information to let you know what I see of the loons.  But without chicks to hold them at one spot on the lake, the viewings this year will probably be much more  few and far between.  But I will try to let keep you up to date.  And I will let you know what happens with the research project.

We had looked at possibly doing lead and mercury testing with the two eggs that did not hatch this year.  But biologists tell us that with the way lead and mercury are handled within the body of a loon, testing of the eggs does not give us a good indication of the effects of these two toxic environmental metals.

We will try to save the shells of the eggs to be used for educational purposes with kids...of all ages!

Tonight we will turn off the camera for this year.  But we look forward to a new season in 2011.  So tell your friends and neighbors to watch for it along with you.

But plan on being with us in 2011 for another season of watching our favorite birds...the Common Loon!