55 degrees F Clear Calm
Sunrise 5:43am Sunset 8:35pm
Birds sing their early morning song.
The first glimpses of light appear from the eastern horizon and silhouette a loon sitting on a nest on a quiet northern lake.
Faithfully keeping its charge of protecting eggs.
About 2am this morning, two faithful LoonCam watchers reported something that I have never seen before. And it is something that causes me great concern.
So far this year we have seen a beaver on the nest. The ever present muskrat. A Canada goose. A sandpiper.
But last night they reported seeing a raccoon on the nest!
Yes, you read that right. A RACCOON!
Two people said they saw the same thing. I am not sure if the loon left the nest but it did not sound like it.
The reason that is of such great concern is that raccoons are one of the greatest predators of loon eggs. With nests on shore, a raccoon will scare the loon off the nest and then devour the eggs.
That is one of the great advantages of a floating nesting platform like this - it discourages land based predators. It is also the reason that it is as far from shore as it is (150 feet), to discourage any land based predators from swimming out to it.
Raccoons are able swimmers but this is the first time that I know of that one has discovered this nest.
We can only hope that it is also the last time and that if he comes back, the loon is on the nest and gives him a sharp reminder of why he should not be there.
But it is something that causes me great concern, just the fact that he has found his way out to the nest.
Raccoons tend to be nocturnal so there is not much chance that we would see them out there during the day. But the night is their abode. Fortunately the loons are on the nest most of the night.
This one definitely demands close watching.
There also seem to be some continuing territorial issues with a single intruder loon. Over the past several days there have been a few confrontations and even a couple chases.
There is also one other 'creature' that you have seen on the night cam. In past years some have referred to them as 'fairies' flying around the nest.
It is an insect called a caddis fly. Fly fisherman know it well and may even time their trout fishing trips to coincide with the caddis fly hatch.
We have already talked about the mayfly hatch. We are still in the middle of the mayfly hatch even though it is starting to taper off I think. But we are also in the middle of the caddis fly hatch. They are a long winged insect that is lighter colored. There are over a thousand species of caddis flies.
Both mayflies and caddis flies provide a lot of food for fish and insect gathering birds.
Neither one of them bite humans and are only a nuisance because of their sheer numbers.
So today we wait to see what new adventures the day brings for our loons.
We definitely do not need another visit from Mr Raccoon.
Today promises to be another one of those patented Minnesota days. Temperatures in the low 80s. No humidity. Blue skies and 'sky tinted waters'. Fish jumping. Birds singing. And loons.
And all is well with the world.
Comments or Questions? LoonCam(at)yahoo(dot)com
Copyright 2012 Larry Backlund