Monday, June 7, 2010 6:01am CDT

46 degrees   Clear      Wind NE 4mph
A single wail from the nest stands out from all the other bird calls.
There is no mistaking a loon call.  It is so different and unique from any other calls that once you hear it, you never forget it.  This is the second call in the last few minutes.   But this morning there is no answer from the mate.  So she sits on the nest and patiently waits.
The dew lays heavy on the grass.  There is almost a fall-like chill in the calm, clear air this morning.  But it is predicted to get into the mid-70s today.  This is the feel of being in the "north woods".  A morning chill and then warming to a perfect day.
Today is day 33 for the first egg and day 31 for the second egg.
There is still a possibility that both eggs might hatch.  But with each passing day, the chances of a successful hatch go down.  Last night a couple of people were convinced that they had seen movement indicating a chick was hatching.  But then haven't we all at one time or another.  We have wanted so bad to see a chick that sometimes we have convinced ourselves that something was starting to happen.
There are no obvious indications this morning from the loon on the nest that she has a chick underneath her.  But things have surprised us before.  So once again there is nothing we can do but wait and watch.
If we do not have a chick that hatches in the next couple days, then we are at the point that there probably will not be a hatch this year.  But until then we can hope.
We have had a successful hatch on this nest every year except the first year.
That first year they went almost 2 weeks beyond the expected hatching date before something took the eggs....probably an eagle.  
There are so many questions to be answered this year.
Is this really the same pair of loons or is it a different pair?  There are so many behaviors that have been different this year compared to previous years.  My mind keeps going back to the long, extended chase between two loons that I talked about early in the season.  Was that indeed a territorial chase that ended in the previous pair (or at least one of the pair) being chased off the territory?
Or are there other things that explain the differences this year?
I do not think I have ever seen as many times when both loons were off the nest at the same time nor have I seen as many times when both of them were flying while there were eggs on the nest.
But now is the time to remain hopeful.  There is still a chance.  
But it is also the time to be realistic.  We may not have a hatch this year.
For now, the loon continues to sit on the eggs.  Faithfully.  Patiently.