66 degrees F Scattered Clouds Wind 2mph SW
Sunrise 5:39am Sunset 8:40pm
Today promises to be a hot and windy day for the loons with temperatures reaching 90 degrees.
I had hope this morning to write about something other than the unusual goings on with the loons this year.
But those unusual goings on continue and I want to give you a little bit of a glimpse of what is going on out of view of the camera (for whatever small comfort it may be, even if the camera had a wider view of the lake, you would not have been able to see all these activities).
About 7am yesterday morning, after I wrote yesterday morning's blog, the loon left the nest to swim out to two other loons that were circling each other. I think - but I cannot be sure - that two of the three loons were 'our' pair.
They circled and dove and splashed but there was no major fight. But it definitely was a confrontation.
Then a fourth loon came flying in!
The four of them circled and followed each other all the way to the other side of the lake. After some minutes of continued circling and diving, they divided into two and two and one pair swam a little further away while the other pair watched.
Then one of the loons takes flight with its long running on top the water take off and flies away. I can hear the flying tremolo call as he circles around the lake.
But now when I have been watching him, I cannot find the other three loons anywhere, no matter how hard I look through the binoculars or the telescope. It always amazes me how one minute you can see several loons and the next minute, no matter how hard you look, they are no where to be seen.
Now I hear multiple flying tremolos as it seems there are a number of loons flying a short distance from the lake.
I even hear an answering call from down low that sounds like it may be coming from the area of a channel off the lake where another pair nested last year and there have been reports that they are nesting there again this year.
As I am looking for the 'other three' loons, an amazing sight comes into view.
THREE loons flying in formation heading straight toward me as they come in for a landing!
One of the three loons is a loon that I have come to call "Pencil Neck". I usually don't name loons because I find it almost impossible to tell who is who. But this one is a somewhat smaller loon with a long thin neck. And so in my field notes, I have come to call him Pencil Neck since his profile is fairly distinctive.
Pencil Neck has been involved in several of the chases over the last few weeks - usually being the chasee rather than the chaser.
The three loons circle each other and finally Pencil Neck moves off to the east, while the other two follow at a distance and keep a careful eye on him.
Finally he moves far enough away that one of our loons returns to the nest. Twenty six precious minutes off the nest.
In my notes I had written, "Right now, peace has returned."
Then at 7:56pm last night, I hear yodels.
I go to see what is disturbing the loons.
One loon is still on the nest. But what is obviously the male is a short distance away broadcasting his territorial yodel to anyone who will listen and who is in listening range. And that range covers a large area since a yodel will easily carry for a couple miles.
The loon on the nest swims out to join him.
There is some circling and a small splash dive.
Suddenly the loon on the surface flaps away as it tremolos.
The other loon surfaces where the first loon had been. It follows low in the water, then dives.
The second loon once again calls and flaps away as it quickly rows across the surface of the water.
This happens four or five times before one of the loons returns to the nest. Each one is not really a 'chase'. They are more of an 'escape'.
I cannot help but wonder if this is a confrontation between our two loons. I see no other loons anywhere in the area during this whole time.
I still have trouble believing that some of these confrontations are between a nesting pair. But I have no other explanation for some of the behavior that I am seeing this year. I don't want to believe it. I don't believe it. But the facts seem to indicate that there may be a conflict there.
In my notes I had written, 'if this is happening as it seems, this is one dysfunctional couple. It does not bode well for the future of this marriage.'
But we can only watch and learn.
Who knows all that goes on every day that we never see. Or notice. Or understand.
Only by watching carefully what is going on around us, can we even hope to begin to understand. And even at that, our understanding is so limited.
Maybe the most positive thing out of all this unusual activity this year is the realization that right now we have an abundance of loons. Something that people all around the country would give anything to have ONE pair of loons near them.
What will today bring?
That is a script yet to be written.
But we can guarantee that it will be full of suspense and drama.
Maybe too much drama sometimes!
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Copyright 2012 Larry Backlund