Friday, July1, 2011 11:43am CDT


96 degrees  Sunny   Calm


One loon.

Two chicks.

A calm lake.

But already very busy with boats and skiers and swimmers.

The other adult loon is somewhere.  Who knows where.  I don't see him right now.

But I am not concerned.

As the chicks grow older, one of the adults often will spend time away.  Many times flying off someplace.

To where?  I don't know.

Why?  I don't know.

So many questions that I would like to know at times of what and why the loons do certain things.

Today is already oppresively hot and humid.

We can't seem to get anything midway this year.  It has been cold and windy and rainy most of the spring.  And yesterday we went into full blown deep-South summer.  I know people from the South probably laugh at us for not liking the heat and humidity.  But I for one prefer cooler weather.  The heat and especially the humidity just drains me.

I often joke that when it gets cold, you can always put more clothes on to stay warm.

When it gets hot, no matter what YOUR personal limit is, there is a limit to how much you can take off!

But that is not a problem for our loons.

They are in the water and can stay cool all day.  In fact, because of the weather this spring, the water is unusually cold for this time of year.

Right now the adult and two chicks are swimming straight out from me.  Not too far away from where the nest was.

After not seeing much of them for almost a week, yesterday the spent most of the time in this area.  Swimming back and forth.  Relaxing.  Preening.  Doing foot waggles.  Feeding on uncounted minnows.

In between sessions of mowing in the heat and humidity, I took time to go for a swim to cool off.  Or 'cold off' with as cold as the water is.

One of the loons came flying in with his 'flying tremolo' calls announcing his return.  There was a wail in return from the other adult with the chicks.  They swam toward each other.

The loons were swimming and feeding not too far away when I went for my swim.  I called to them and surprisingly they started to swim towards me.  That does not happen often at all.

I remained quietly in the water and they swam up to about 50 to 100 feet away.  And they just sat there and went about their business of preening and peering and foot waggling.  The chicks copied with their own motions of the parents.

The sun was hanging low in the western sky.  A ball of flaming red in the humid haze.

It was a special moment.

Right now the 3 loons are swimming straight out.  

The chicks are seeming to have fun practicing their newfound diving skills.

This is the first time I have seen this this year.

I have seen them dive but not this much or this often.  They obviously have learned their lessons well since they look much like their parents when they dive.  They slightly rise up, then the body curls over and they gracefully slip beneath the surface in one smooth motion.

One chick does it several times.  And then the other chick, not to be outdone by its sibling, begins to dive also.  Dive.  Surface.  Dive again.  I wish I could see what they are doing below the surface.  Are they just practicing their diving skills?  Or are they actually attempting to catch minnows?  And maybe even actually succeed once in a while.

It is fun to watch them as they seem to be actually enjoying their repeated dives.  The adult just sits and watches.

They are diving for up to 20 seconds at a time.  So obviously they are swimming fairly deep.  And they are surfacing some distance from where they dove.

It is good to see them able to more efficiently dive.  It will help protect them on this very busy holiday weekend with all the boats on the lake.  The lake is likely to be a zoo!  The heat.  The first nice weather.  And one of the biggest holidays of the year with the 4th of July weekend.

It is a good time for all of us to remind each other to be on the lookout for loons and to give them their space when we are out on the lake.  Even though our chicks are starting to dive more and more, that is not the case with all loons this weekend.

Loons farther north and in Canada and also those in New England are just now hatching their chicks.  And those chicks are very vulnerable to being hit by speeding boats when they cannot dive to get out of the way.

So whether you are celebrating Canada Day today or the 4th of July this weekend, watch for loons.

Happy 4th and happy Canada Day to all of you!  May you enjoy this time with friends and family.

Take time to give thanks for all the blessings that are in your life!


Questions and Comments?