Sunday, May 15, 2011 10:16pm CDT


47 degrees   Clear   Wind  Calm


Just when you think you have seen everything, something happens so quickly to threaten our loons that it is hard to comprehend nor prepare for. 

But the loons can never afford to relax for a moment.

They must be alert to danger and ready to respond at a moments notice.

What happened this afternoon was that a kayaker actually ran into the loon nest!

If you want to see the event, here is a short video clip of it from one of our faithful and ever vigilant LoonCam viewers as it actually happened.

There is a longer video clip of it also on YouTube that you can search for by the name "MnBnd 051511 135". 

I heard some voices on the speaker in the house but I did not have the computer on.  By the time I looked with the binoculars, the kayakers were well off to the side of the nest but it seemed as if they were in very close to shore.  I thought they might have paddled inside between the shore and the nest.  I saw that the loon was off the nest.

I went down to the lake to watch and they continued paddling around the lake.

It was only after I read some of the entries in the Loon Chat Room that I realized something may have happened that I had totally missed.  The people who watch the LoonCam and chat in the Loon Chat Room are such a wonderful group of people who have come to understand loons and to care for them deeply.

A little later I got a call from one of the neighbors across the lake.  This neighbor had seen what had happened on the LoonCam and then looked out on the lake and saw the 2 kayakers.  She went looking for them but could not find them.  But then she found them bringing their canoes into the boat landing in the park.

To her credit, as she told me, she gave them a piece of her mind about what they had done.

She said she thought they were a little shaken and to their credit she said they said they were sorry.  But they also said that it was 'just there' before they realized it.  Which as you can see from the video is  not the truth at all.

So I give them credit on one count and take it back on the next!

But I think this is a perfect example of what we talked about in yesterday's blog....'etiquette' around a loon nest.  And obviously these two did not have any of it.

First the two came way too close to the nest and scared the loon off the nest after she had been in full hangover position for sometime.

I give credit to one of the kayakers that he did not come up to the nest.

The second one obviously from the video turned and came directly at the nest.  And he actually hit the corner of the nest with his kayak!

I will give them a little benefit of the doubt.  I do not think they meant anything malicious at all.  It is a case of curiosity and sometimes we love our loons a little too much.  I am as guilty of it as anyone else.  But after years of watching loons closely and now with the intimacy of the LoonCam, I am aware of how we impact them without even knowing it.

We spend little to no time down by the lake while the loons are on the nest.  There are certain things that still need to be done but we limit any other activity, even though the loons seem to know me and tolerate me more than other people.

Even this Memorial Day weekend if the loons are still there, the kids will not be able to go swimming.  I am sure they do not like it but they are very good about trying to understand the reason for it and make the best of it.

Loons are very tolerant of many things....but not close contact.

In the case of the two kayakers, I think it was plain curiosity that made him come directly up to the nest.  Then I think it was inexperience and the wind that made him hit the nest.  I do not think he meant to purposely hit it.

In fact, on the video you can hear him say to his buddy in the other kayak, "I didn't try to hit it!"

So I don't think they meant any harm, it was just curiosity and stupidity.

But what a perfect illustration of what we had just talked about yesterday about keeping a distance from a loon nest.

And then we get two people that give us a first-hand illustration of what NOT to do.

Remind your family and friends to be aware of what to do and what not to do when they are out on the lake.  And this serves as a perfect example.

I am an avid canoer.

I have probably put in a thousand miles or more of wilderness canoing.

Canoers and kayakers always think that we are so much better than big ol' boats.

But do you know what?  Loons are much more sensitive and concerned about canoers and kayakers than they are about boats.  It is hard for me to say that because I was always one who thought we were so much better than other people because we had so little impact on the environment and nature.

I think part of the reason that loons react more to kayaks and canoes than boats is that canoes tend to come much closer to the loons and their nests.  And they move much slower so they tend to spend much more time in close proximity to a loon where a boat just goes racing by.

Share that information with any canoers and kayakers that you know and encourage them to be aware of loons when they are on the water.

About the only thing that loons react to more than a canoe or kayak is a jet ski.  I don't know all the reasons but it is apparently the speed, the fact that jet skis tend to go close to things and there is a loud and high pitched noise from jet ski.

But peace has returned to loonville tonight.

The wind has gone down.  The waves have gone down.  The lake is like a mirror.

And the loon sits calmly and peacefully tonight watching in all directions to see where the next danger is coming from!

But with the clear skies and no wind, they are forecasting the possibility of frost tonight.  This is the winter that just won't quit.  We will see in the morning if the loon is surrounded by frost!


Questions or Comments?