May 7, 2011 2:48pm CDT


76 degrees  Partly Cloudy   Wind  4mph E


It is a spectacular Minnesota spring day.

And we have had far too few of them this year.

But today makes up for it.  Light breezes.  Scattered sunshine.  And nature starting to belatedly burst forth.  Trees that should be mostly leafed out are just starting.

But one of the advantages of the cool and even cold spring is that the brilliant beauty of the yellow daffodils has lasted longer than normal.  So even when there are things that seem negative, they are offset by other things which are positive.

One of the biggest positive things we have today is the arrival of the second loon egg!

So now the loons can get down to the serious business of incubation of the eggs.  There is a slim possibility of a third egg, but I do not expect that to happen.  Three eggs certainly are not unknown but they are relatively rare.

If everything goes well over the next several weeks, we should expect to see chicks by June first.  I would expect that we may see them a day or two earlier than that.

It was amazing to watch the difference in the delivery of the two eggs.  The first egg was laid with what looked like great difficulty.  And to watch the reaction of the loon after she laid the egg, it must have been difficult.

I have never seen a loon take that long to recover after laying an egg.  I was beginning to fear that she may have even suffered some damage when she did not move for so long.

But the second egg was the exact opposite.

It happened so quickly and easily that I was not even sure she had laid an egg!

I wrote a blog entry saying that she had laid an egg....but I held onto it for  a while before posting it because I was not 100% positive.  When she did a quick egg turn, I "thought" I saw a glimpse of 2 eggs.  But even then I could not be sure.  So I thought I should post the note and apologize later if I had been wrong.

Fortunately she did not prove me wrong!

There were now two eggs.  The second egg was laid at 7:34am CDT.

Some have questioned the "tapping sound" on the microphone.  What is it?

Along with you, I wish I knew.  I have wondered the same thing.

The best answer I can come up with is that it may be one of the tiny willow branches tapping against the microphone in the breeze.  It is just a guess but it is the best one I have right now.  Obviously there is no way to go out to the nest to investigate.  It does not seem to be causing any problems other than being slightly annoying.

There is another sound I have heard a few times in the last couple days that does concern me.  It is almost a static sound.  I do not know what it is either but I fear that the muskrat may have gnawed some of the insulation off the microphone cable.   And once again there is nothing that can be done until after the loons have left the nest and we can inspect it.

Other than those minor problems, the microphone, camera and nest seem to be holding up quite well in the wind and rain.  Now only another month to go!!

You have seen and heard the many sounds and distractions that go on around a heavily used lake.

This is not a 'pure wilderness lake' that we so often associate with loons.  People live around the lake.  People are on the lake.  They use it heavily.  For fishing.  For skiing.  For sunbathing.  For all the normal things people use a lake.  And life goes on around the lake and on the lake.

Even fireworks!

Yes, I have confirmed that the noises you heard last night were fireworks.  Apparently one of the neighbors has friends here from out of state.  And those friends brought fireworks with them.  Apparently there were three or four blasts that were set off.  Surprisingly in the house with the computer off, we only heard the largest boom.

But it was fireworks.  Not anyone shooting a gun nor was it the beaver trapper.

Speaking of beavers, they are still VERY active.  And the trapper is planning to come out tonight to set his traps.

I for one wish that they did not have to trap them.  But there seems to be no other choice.  There has already been a lot of erosion and shore damage from the high water.  And if left unchecked, over the next couple years the lake would rise probably at least  a couple feet causing more damage and even potentially destroying some houses!

Some times one species takes precedence over another.  In this case, it is man over beavers.  Unfortunate but true.  Hopefully some of the other beavers in the lake and the area can be left alone if they do not cause undue damage.

So, many aspects of life go on around the loons.  

Some affect them directly.  Others not so much.

Many of you have been correctly identifying the sounds of the birds in the area, including a pair of sandhill cranes that may have taken up residence not too far from the beavers.

But the most important ones to us here, are the sounds of the loons.  And the 2 precious eggs that now grace the nest!



Questions or Comments?