Saturday, April 28, 2012 5:31am CDT


46 degrees   Cloudy   Wind  6mph NNE  Sunrise  6:05am    Sunset  8:16am


In the early morning twilight, two loons sit vigil near the nest.

Both of them have their beaks tucked under their wings, sleeping.

But for a loon it is never a very deep sleep.  Danger does not allow that.  At any moment they need to be wide awake and ready for anything that comes.

But for now, they are able to relax and get some sleep as they float on the small waves.

The temperature did not get as low as was forecast and so there has been no snow overnight so far.  "But wait 5 minutes!"

The forecast for today is for a chilly spring day with rain and a high of 48 degrees, just about where it is now.  So maybe there is hope that the temperature will be higher than forecast today also.

For now we have to be satisfied with the occasional time that they actually visit the nest to be able to see them.  Those times will gradually increase until the day that the first egg is laid.  From that time forward, almost anytime you look at the nest you will see one of the loons.  For the next four weeks they will be nest bound until the most exciting day of all.  The day we get our first glimpse of a little chick peeking out from under mama or papa loon.

I know that there are some who wish that we had a wider view of the lake and surroundings.  But this is as far back as this camera can be pulled.  It is what it is.  The important part is to not miss anything on the nest.   For what it is worth, at least 75% of the time when you do not see a loon around the nest, they are actually no where to be seen.  Most of the other 25%, they are either out of range of the camera or on the 'back side' of the camera.  I know that may be small consolation but hopefully it is some consolation.  It is not as if they are 'just up off the edge of the camera if only we could see more'.

But I sure understand your desire to see more.

I would invite you over but I am sorry that I do not have room for everybody!

I want to thank so many of you who are so wonderfully concerned about the security of the loon nest.

It is not that it is some big secret.  But since the LoonCam has become so well known world wide and watched by so many thousands upon thousands of people, we have chosen not to openly publicize its location.  All it takes is one goofball to decide they want to do something.  Fortunately goofballs usually are pretty lazy and if information is not put right in front of their face they will not take the effort to find information.

So thank you for your concern.  It is very much appreciated.  The loons have enough to worry about with one more thing.

Let me say a quick word about the different calls that a loon makes since we have not explained them yet.  We have talked about different calls but have not explained what they mean.

As the audience grows when the eggs are laid, I will try to remember to repeat this information for everyone.  But now you can become the expert before your friends know about it.

Loons make 4 basic calls:

1.  The WAIL.  This is a long undulating call that simply says to another loon, "I am here.  Where are you?"

2.  The TREMOLO.  This is a call of concern.  Something has caught the loon's attention and it either does not like it or it is concerned about it.

3.  The YODEL.  This call is the highest stress call that a loon makes.  It is made only by the male loon.  Much of the time when it is used, it is a territorial call and warning to other loons to stay away.

4.  The HOOT.  This call is a very quiet call and is used when loons are sitting close to each other or when adults are with their chicks.

LInks to recordings of all 4 calls can be found on the homepage in the "Loon Cam FAQS" page.  There you can hear actual recordings of all 4 calls so that you know what they sound like.

There is a lot more to be said about calls but let that basic information cover it for now.

One of the biggest questions everyone has is 'Have the eggs been laid yet.'  The answer to that is no.

The next biggest question is 'When will the eggs be laid?'  The answer to that is I don't know.

All we can say for certainty is that we are one day closer than we were yesterday.

We are well within the 'normal range' of dates for egg laying.  So there is no need for concern yet.  I have gotten some reports of some loons that are already nesting.  But then loons further north may not nest for another month yet.

So all we can do is be patient.

Nothing we do or say can speed things up for the loons.

We are simply spectators in this great drama of nature.  This watching the Miracle of Life.

The loons are the ones who are in control.

So get another cup of coffee.  Or tea.  Or hot chocolate.  Or popcorn.  Or whatever you like.

And sit back and enjoy one of nature's most beautiful and enigmatic birds.

And enjoy the drama.


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

Copyright  2012  Larry Backlund