Saturday, June 5, 2010 5:48am CDT


58 degrees  Partly Cloudy  Calm


Not a breath of air stirs.

The early morning gold of dawn silhouettes the loon against the lake.  The perfectly still surface reflects everything around it in amazing detail.  Except for the circles of ripples that mark where a fish has just jumped.

If the loon remembers all the concern caused by one of the eggs being dragged out of the nest into the water yesterday morning, it certainly doesn't show it.  It sits there on its eggs like it has every other morning for the last month.

Last night was the 28 day mark for the second egg and the 30 day mark for the first egg.  Oh, to be able to know what was going on inside those shells!  If there is a chick inside the egg that ended up in the lake, was there any damage by it being in the water?  I can't believe that there was because it was such a short time and the water temperature is relatively mild now and the egg was in the water for only a few minutes.

But only time will tell for sure.

We are still within the normally accepted incubation period and can still hope for a hatch of two healthy loon chicks.  But if we do not see a hatch in the next few days, then concern begins to mount as to whether or not the eggs will hatch.

So once again we wait.

I have watched for any tell tale signs that the egg is hatching underneath the loon.  Every little twitch or movement catches my attention.  And then she settles down again and just sits there.  Right now I do not see any signs that an egg has hatched or that hatching is imminent.  But that can all change in the blink of an eye!

Let me finish the story about the loon rescue that we have talked about the last couple mornings.

So far on "Loon Rescue 24"!!!

You will remember that a loon had landed in a small pond/big puddle in a buffalo pasture.  Unable to take off from such a small body of water, it was doomed unless someone stepped in to rescue it.  After a scare that an eagle or some other predator had taken it, it was found and captured and taken to a lake to be released.

After it had been released and had a chance to get its ruffled feathers all straightened out, it swam across the lake.

Then it happened!

A full blown loon fight broke out on the other side of the lake!!

There was fighting and splashing and penguin dancing and yodeling and tremolo calls and every other indication of a big fight between two loons.  Another friend had told me that he had seen a pair of loons on this lake.  Now I had released a loon and he had immediately gotten into a fight with one of the loons on the lake!  What else could go wrong for this poor loon?

How could it go from bad to worse like this.  First being stranded.  Then dragging himself across land for such a great distance, trying to find a stretch of water big enough for him to take off and fly.  Then being chased and a net thrown over him and a coat wrapped around him.  And this human grabbing him and taking him he knew not where!

My friend who originally called me about the loon said that they had heard another loon fly over the farm several times in the previous day-and-a-half, calling as it flew.  He said it was as if the loon was looking for something.

And now this tired out loon that we had just rescued was in the fight of his life!

It could end not well for our 'rescued loon'.

The two loons fought.  And splashed.  And called.  And chased each other.  

Helpless, all we could do was stand on the other shore of the lake and watch.  This went on for at least five minutes straight!

Then as suddenly as it began, the fighting stopped!

And even more surprisingly, the two loons swam peacefully together!

No more fighting.  No more calling.  No more splashing.

Just peacefully swimming side by side.

We watched for sometime.  But we saw no more fighting and we finally left.

I had to smile and laugh to myself as I drove home.  I don't know for sure that this is what really happened but it made a good and plausible story in my own mind.

The loon we had rescued was not a 'foreign loon' to this lake after all.  It was the other half of the pair that was on this lake.  The loon flying over the farm and calling was not some random loon but the other half of the pair!  She was out looking for her mate!

And now that we brought the rescued mate "home", she swam up to him and started hitting him around the head with her wingtips and loudly yelling at him, "Where have you been?!!!  You don't tell me where you are going!  You stay out all night!  You don't call!  And here I am at home worried sick about what has happened to you!  What is WRONG with you!!!  I don't know if you are dead or alive and you are out gallivanting around!  I even went looking for you I was so sick about it!  What am I supposed to think?!!!  What am I supposed to do?!?!?"  TAKE THIS!  And THIS!!

And after she had gotten it all out of her system, they both settled down and swam peacefully together.

I can't say for sure that that is what happened because I could not hear ALL the words!

But I had to laugh as I drove home after the rescue about the possibilities of that happening.

But at least one loon had been rescued.  Rescued from certain death in that buffalo pasture!