Monday, April 23, 2012 6:35 am CDT


30 degrees  Clear  Calm


Large banks of fog drift across a quiet northern lake.

The rising sun is started to chase the fog back and forth across the lake.

Through the fog, the reflections of trees are cast in the smooth surface of the water.  Here and there a fish jumps.

It is a chilly frosty morning.  Frost blankets the docks and the grass and the tops of cars.

And the battle of the loons continues.

A battle for territory.

A battle for a nesting site.

A battle that in this case might be called the "War of the Pansies"!

For that is what this is about.  Which loons will control which part of the lake.  And ultimately which loons will take ownership of the nesting platform on which to lay their eggs.  The nesting platform that a few days ago had some yellow and blue pansies blooming.

Pansies which now are a little worse for the wear caused by mating loons.  By muskrats.  And by beavers.  They are still there waiting to bloom another day.  They have not been eaten by critters.  

And another day will come.

Three loons have been together out toward the middle of the lake.  At times it seems like they are peacefully swimming together.  Then suddenly there will be excited dives and splashing.  And it is obvious that there is more going on than what it first looks like.

It is from these 'splashing dives' that many times a full-blown chase sometimes ensues.

I have not seen a chase yet this morning but I would not be surprised if there has been one or that there will still be a chase yet today.  Obviously there has been no cease fire yet and the terms of the settlement and the boundaries are yet to be drawn.

We get anxious and just want the loons to lay a couple eggs so that in a month we can see two beautiful chicks.

But there is a whole drama that has to play out that leads up to that wonderful event.  And that drama has not yet fully played out yet this year.

Without the Loon Cam, it is a drama that most of us would never even be aware of.  Yet it is an every year occurence for the loons.  Something that happens to loons all over the great north that they call home but that most of us never get a chance to see.  We want all our stories to be all nice and pretty and free of conflict and 'lived happily ever after'.  But nature doesn't always work that way.

In fact, truth be told nature seldom works that way.

So this conflict is what it is.

Even in this we need to look and listen and learn.

I have to be honest with you.  I do not know which loons are which right now.  I cannot tell you which are 'our loons'.  Which ones are the ones that have already been on the nest many times and doing some fairly serious nest building.  They have not been wearing their "runner's numbers" so that we can easily tell them apart.

Two years ago there had been some conflict between loons and that is the year I think we actually had a change of loons that used the nest.  Nesting activity had proceeded like expected.  And then it came to a halt for almost two weeks.  But then it picked up again and 'the' pair nested and laid two eggs.  However, the pair acted different than the one from previous years.  If it was a different pair I cannot be sure.  But every indication was that we had a change.

Who knows what the outcome of this one will be.

This has definitely changed the pace of things and changed the amount of time they are spending on the nest.  I have not seen them up on the nest yet this morning and they were on the nest precious little yesterday.

We can only wait and watch.  And learn.

It is totally out of our hands at this point.  We are mere observers to the great drama playing out before our eyes.

The loons are writing the script to this play.

They are also the directors and actors.

We sit in the audience watching all of it unfold.



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

Copyright 2012  Larry Backlund