Wednesday, June 8, 2011 6:37am CDT


66 degrees   Sunny  Wind  1mph NW


First of all, the all important question.

Our two little loons are doing great!  Under a completely clear early morning summer sky, they are all four peacefully swimming together several houses away to the left of your camera view.

The chicks are in the water swimming back and forth.

It was only one week ago today that the second chick was born shortly before noon.

Only a week and yet it seems so long ago.

The chicks have grown so much.  I would guess that they are at least four to five times as big as they were when they hatched.  They have had an endless rich diet of fish.

The are actually beginning to take on a little more the look of a loon.  The body has definitely lengthened from the small round shape when they were born.  And the beak is beginning to lengthen as well.  The chick is still covered completely in down.  But that down has begun to lighten to a grayish/brownish down as opposed tot he black down when they were first born.

This picture is not of 'our' chicks but it does give you an idea of exactly what they look like right now.

Today the forecast is for a spectacularly perfect Minnesota summer day with temperatures in the mid-70s to lower 80s and no humidity.

Yesterday we broke through all-time historic temperature records.  Minneapolis was the hottest city in the country.  Here at the lake it reached 105 degrees!  But cooler air has now moved in and the hot air has moved to the eastern part of the country.  For those of you who live there, stay safe.

Last night I finally finished the second mowing of the lawn in that heat and humidity.

A couple days after the loons left the nest, I attempted to mow it for the first time.  I took the top 'two feet' off the grass!  With the loons on the nest, I had not mowed it before then.  I knew I had only 4 options:

1.  Buy a herd of goats.

2.  Call a neighboring farmer to bale it.

3.  Turn it into a jungle preserve.

4.  Or start to hack it down.

I was amazed at how tolerant the loons were.  They were sitting right next to the nest.  I watched to see if they reacted to the sound of the mower.  If they did, I was ready to quit and let the lawn grow some more.

But one of them actually swam in towards me a little ways and sat and watched.  It was as if they were saying, "Have you seen our new babies?"  After watching for almost an hour, they swam a little ways away.  'It is sure boring watching him.  He just goes around and around in circles.'

Last night they sat in some bulrushes several houses down as I mowed.

When I finally finished mowing, the heat had gotten to me.  It was oppresive.

And since the loons were far enough away, it was my chance to go for my first swim of the year.

I sat in the cool water and just watched them.

A flaming sun was just a big bright orange ball hanging low in the western sky.  All the humidity in the air formed a bright halo all around it.  

And there on the  quiet lake swam our loons.  Two big loons.  And two small loons.

Then the male suddenly began broadcasting his yodel call across the lake.

I looked but could not see anything that had triggered his yodeling.

No other loons that I could see.  No eagles flying in the sky.  Nothing.

I chalked it up to the fact that he just wanted anyone who was listening to know that this was his lake.

But then I saw the reason.  Another loon was flying low and was approaching our little loon family.

As I watched, he flew directly over our loon family as they continued to call.  He was low enough that you could actually see him turn his head and look at our loons.  Then he flew directly over my head as he also turned and looked at me.

As the flying loon continued to fly around the perimeter of the lake, when he reached the other side, there was also a yodel from that side of the lake.  Apparently it was the male of the other pair of loons on the lake.  Only then did the flying loon give several flying tremolos.  It looked like he landed over there but it was getting dark enough, I could not tell for sure against the black outline of the trees on the far shore.

Our loons had left the chicks and had gone partway out in the lake to keep an eye on what was going on.

But very quickly they returned to where they had left their chicks.

They were quickly reunited.

As as dark fell, our four loons swam peacefully and safely together.


Questions or Comments?