42 degrees F Clear Calm
Sunrise 5:48am Sunset 8:31pm
One loon on the nest.
The other floating nearby.
The first hints of daylight start to illuminate the surface of a completely calm northern lake. The dark outline of the trees of the opposite shore are perfectly reflected in the mirror of the lake, as is the floating loon.
Little wisps of fog drift across the lake in the chilly morning air.
Elsewhere, other birds are beginning to wake up and start their early morning songs.
All is well with the world.
Today promises to be a spectacular "Minnesota day" with temperatures in the mid-70s, blue skies and bluer lakes. Tomorrow we return to the possibility of thunderstorms.
Will today be the day that we see the long awaited second egg? If past history and experience teach us anything, it could very well be. One would expect that the loons would lay a second egg. But there is no guarantee of it. Sometimes they only lay one egg.
Then we start the countdown to hatching.
The most exciting time when we finally are able to see a little chick peek out from under the adult.
That impossibly cute ball of black down. Whereas some young of birds are downright ugly, there cannot be a person in the world with a heart so jaded who sees a little black downy loon chick with the bright white belly that does not immediately and reflexively say "Awwwwwwww!".
The normally accepted incubation period for loons is 28 days. With a range of 26 to 30 days.
On this particular nest, by being able to so closely observe because of the Loon Cam, we have been somewhat rewriting that commonly accepted wisdom. We have seen eggs hatch in as little as 25.5 days. We can only wait to see what happens this year.
But you are a part of something that loon researchers through the years could only dream about.
They could tell that a loon had laid an egg.
But they never knew for sure exactly when it was laid. And they never got a chance to see it actually BEING laid. But you get a chance at both of them. We can know almost to the minute when the egg was laid. And we can know very closely the time the chick actually hatches.
You may see a number of insects flying around the nest today.
We are in the middle of the mayfly hatch. They hatch, live for only a few hours or a day, and then die. But they emerge by the thousands.
They do not bite nor cause any other harm. But sometimes their sheer numbers can be overwhelming as they fly around you. They flutter upwards and then spread their wings and just float down. Then flutter up and float down. Repeating this over and over.
So you may see them around the nest and around the loons. But do not worry. Unlike another fly, which we will talk about some other time, mayflies do no harm to our loons.
Our ever hardy pansies and irises on the nest continue their struggle to survive.
The roots of one of the clumps of irises that was completely uprooted lie exposed to the sun and air. It is questionable if it will survive for the next thirty days. But it is trying.
The yellow pansy was pulled out completely by the loons and now resides in the bowl of the nest. The entire rootball was pulled out along with the plant. Yesterday it even looked like it was trying to bloom even as the loons sat on it.
I wonder if I can get my money back! Do pansies come with a loon moneyback guarantee?
I keep hoping that if the loon continues to sit on the pansy and the rootball, that she may actually hatch a full flat of pansies for me!
Since I will be in meetings all day, I unfortunately will miss the laying of the second egg if it happens today.
So thank you in advance to all of you who so carefully watch and document all that happens on the nest. It is a great service to others who are not able to watch as often.
Maybe there will be another video of the actual laying of the egg if it happens today.
But for now, sit back and enjoy the beauty of 'our' loons.
And marvel at the miracle that is the formation of new life out of nothing.
Comments or Questions? LoonCam(at)yahoo(dot)com
I do eventually read all emails. But because of the volume of them, I am not able to respond personally to each one. But when the same question is asked by several people, I will try to answer it here in the Blog.
Copyright 2012 Larry Backlund