Friday, April 13, 2012 7:52am CDT


50 degrees F   Cloudy   Wind 3mph E


The action on the loon nest starts to pick up.

I was at a speaking engagement last night so I missed what happened. 

But from reports here we had our first mating of the year!

The loons have also been up on the nest already this morning.

This is VERY positive evidence that they will probably use the nest this year.

We are discussing what to do about the night vision and are not sure why there is not more than what you are seeing now.  The camera was tested by the Broadband MN people before they brought it out here to the lake and they said they had good night vision.  So they/I have been surprised at the black picture so far.  Except we have not had a warm-bodied loon up there either.

They have ordered a supplemental infrared light.

Whether we will be able to install that next week when it comes, is unknown.

We will just have to wait and see what the loons are doing at that point and if we dare try to add it to the camera.  I am sure the loons would come in to see what we are doing.  Whether they would get upset or overly concerned is a call that we would have to make then.

Yesterday I planted a couple pansies on the nest to give some color.  (Thanks for the suggestion.  It is probably the first time that loons anywhere have had pansies on their nest!)

I watched for sometime before I decided to go out to the nest.

When I did not see the loons anywhere, I thought it would be safe to go out.

I had no sooner gone out there than the loons showed up!

They swam very nearby but did not seem upset or overly concerned at all.

I took only a few minutes to plant the pansies and then left.  As soon as I left, the loons also left and swam out into the lake, apparently satisfied that I was not a threat to them or the nest.

But what followed afterwards, was absolutely wonderful to watch.

They were out in the lake away from the nest.  Both loons started splashing and diving excitedly.  At first glimpse, one could have thought that it was a confrontation.  But I knew this was both loons of the pair.

They preened.  And then splashed.  Just like a small bird in a birdbath.  And then dove. And surfaced.  And did it all over again.  Then surprisingly they actually turned over on their back.  White breast to the sky.  Feet up in the air.  Wings splashing water wildly.

They would right themselves and do some more preening.

And then repeat the whole procedure, including the 'upside down' splashing!

I have seen this behaviour a couple times before but never for this long.

Both loons continued to do this for upwards of half-an-hour to 45 minutes.

Splashing over and over.  Turning upside down and splashing.  Quickly rowing across the surface of the water with their wings.  Preening every feather, especially the wing feathers all the way out to the wing tips.

Preening the black and white "checkerboard" on their backs to make sure every square was just right.

Over and over and over.

The preening and even some of the splashing is a very common occurence.

But the tipping completely over on their back and splashing is something I have seen only a few times before.  And to see them do it this many times and for such a long period of time was a joy to see.

Some of those things are things which I wish we could show you on the camera.  But there is absolutely no way to capture them with the camera.

Today promises rain and thunderstorms.

Hopefully nothing gets severe.

In fact, we are supposed to have rain for the next several days.  We need the rain and the moisture.  And the rain will not affect the loons.  But severe wind could do damage to the nest and the platform.

But with this unusual weather this winter and spring, who knows what to expect.

The last couple mornings we have had very cold temperatures of 23 degrees!  It has been in the teens a little further north.

The forecast for the next few days promises even more bizarre weather.

We are supposed to get snow on Monday.  Yes, you read that right.  Snow!

When I first heard that, I figured it would be just flurries.  But they are predicting accumulation of up to 1 inch is possible!  There is a reason that they call Minnesota "The Theatre of Seasons"!  We will just have to wait and see what happens.

The drama and the excitement start to build.  You don't want to miss a minute.  Now is the time to tell your family and friends and schools and Twitterers and Facebook friends to join us for the fun.



Comments or Questions?  LoonCam(at)yahoo(dot)com.