Monday, April 16, 2012 6:26am CDT


34 degrees F     Rain    Wind 22mph N


On a miserably cold, windy and rainy Monday morning, two loons bob in the waves just out from the nest.

They seem to be content to just bob up and down on the waves.  Everyone else is huddled up against the wind and the cold.  Winter has returned.

But at least so far, this is no snow accumulation as was predicted, although I have seen some snow flurries.  Ahhhh, yes!  "The Theatre of Seasons"!

Not too much further north, there has been accumulation of snow.

But with the temperatures here, this rain could still turn to more snow that sticks to the ground.  And the nest.  The weather man had been predicting accumulations of up to one inch of snow.

You were probably as disoriented as I was this morning when you first saw the new view from the camera.

After being told that the camera was zoomed out as far as it could go, the 'miracle workers' have apparently found a way to zoom out further.  This morning you are seeing much more of the lake.  For those of you who get motion sickness, you may want to get a new prescription of Dramamine!

My first reaction when I saw the new view was "Oh no.  The wind and waves have dislodged the camera!"  But as I look closer, I think/hope that the camera is still firmly mounted and that we are truly just looking at an expanded view that has been zoomed out.  Thanks guys!

We still have strong winds from the storm systems that are moving through the central part of the country and the waves that they produce are bouncing the nest around pretty good.  Usually that does not seem to be a detriment to the loons.  They are used to bouncing up and down on waves.  And I don't think one of them has ever gotten seasick.

Their human counterparts - that may be a different story!

A lot happened yesterday.

The biggest thing was that the loons mated on the nest several times yesterday.

They are spending much more time around the nest this morning than they have previously.

That is the most encouraging sign yet that they are definitely taking ownership of the nest and that we may see more serious nest-building activity soon.

That is, if the nest survives!

One of the dangers in this kind of wind and waves is that the nesting material will just wash away.

So far things seem to be holding together.

It has been a problem in previous years where some of the nesting material has washed away.  And that is also a real problem with loon nests in the wild.  Sometime nests just plain wash away.  Even with loons and eggs on them.  This is especially true in lakes where the water level changes dramatically.

If the water level rises, it can literally inundate and drown a nest.  If the water level goes down dramatically, it is possible that the loons would not be able to get up on the nest.  These are things that happen every day in the wild but that we never see.  And since we never see it, we never stop to think about it happening.

One of the advantages of a floating nesting platform like this is that it can adjust to either rising or falling lake levels and protect the nest from either drowning or being left high and dry and inaccessible.  By rising and falling with the waves, it also helps to minimize the washing away of nesting material a little bit.

But even with all of that, there are no guarantees.  The nest is still vulnerable.

As you watch the waves this morning, you will see some waves that actually break over the nest or spray water high over the nest.

Oh what the loons have to put up with that we never even think about.

The last couple nights we have also had our old friend, Mr Muskrat, back.

He has been up on the nest several times running back and forth.  I am not sure what he finds so interesting about the nest.  But he sure seems to like to 'inspect' everything.

I don't worry about what he might do to the loons.  He is the one who is danger if he gets too close to the sharp beak of a loon.  I heard some gnawing sounds last night I think.  It was hard to tell with the noise of the wind and the loon nest rocking on the waves.  But my biggest concern about the muskrat is that he would gnaw through the cables coming from the camera.  If that happens after the loons are on the nest, that would be the end of our viewing for the year.

So we need loons up on the nest to convince the muskrat that this is not a safe or friendly place for him to be.

The forecast is for much of this week to be rainy and cold.

What is the old saying?  'April showers bring May flowers'!

So today, we wait for May flowers.  And sunshine.




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