Tuesday, May 22, 2012 5:42am CDT

56 degrees F    Partly Cloudy   Wind  3mph S
Sunrise  5:35am     Sunset  8:44pm
It is a quiet morning for the loons.
As the sun is coming up, right now there are no eagles, no intruder loons and no wind and waves for them to deal with.
The forecast for today is for a high of about 80 degrees and blue sky.  But the wind could pick up and affect the loons on the nest later this afternoon.
Some people have commented and worried about the nest and the amount of material that has washed off during the wind and waves this year.
There is more that has washed away than what I would like to see.  And the loons have been very active this year in doing a lot of adjusting the landscape.  They have even removed some of the 'structural' material of cattail 'sticks' from the front edge of the nest.  And as many of you watched them do it, they dug out and uprooted a whole big clump of iris on the left and pulled it up toward the nest bowl and they completely got rid of one other small clump of daylilies on the right side of the nest.  
All of this "landscaping" has in turn has allowed some of the other material to wash away.
But so far there is no reason to worry about the safety of the nest.
It is, however, something to keep an eye on.  If the erosion would get worse, we would be faced with a very difficult decision of whether to step in or to interfere.  Or even if anything could be done that would help.  But at this point, I am not too worried about the safety of the nest unless we get some very strong storms.
On the front and back sides, you can see the platform itself which forms the base that the nesting material and the nest itself rest on.
It is sometimes difficult to get a true perspective  on the cam.  Or to realize how big loons really are.
As you look at the nest on the camera, keep in mind that from the front edge of the nest to the back edge is a little over 5 feet.  And the same distance from the left hand side to the right hand side.  So that might give you a little better feel for how large it really is.
One of the other things that does not show up well on the webcam is the thickness of the nesting material.  The loons have built up a fairly good mound of material that forms the nest bowl....even if they have had to rob other parts of the nesting platform for material.
Loons are not elaborate nest builders.  They will use whatever is available nearby.  So they will not bring material on to this nesting platform.  They will just use whatever is here.
They do the same wherever they nest.  Sometimes a loon nest consists only of a small depression in the sand along the shore if they cannot find anything better.  
One nest I saw in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area many years ago was a small concave area of a rock out in the middle of the lake with only the smallest amount of moss growing on it.  Nothing else.  Just rock.
So this nest is quite lush compared to many loon nests.
You are starting to see the growth of some small green plants around the nest bowl.  These are weeds that sprout naturally out of the material on the platform.  There is no 'dirt' on the nest.  It is all weeds and other material that naturally washes up on a lakeshore.  Think of it as compost out of your compost pile - vegetation in varying degrees of decomposition.
The heavy rain over the weekend thoroughly soaked the material on the nest, which had gotten very dry, and so I would expect that you will really see growth of that greenery over the next few days.  The roots from those weeds will help to stabilize some of the material as well and help to hold it in place.  And it will give the loons something to peck at and pull at rather than the now defunct pansies.
If we can make it through the next couple weeks, we are home free.  Once the eggs hatch, the new little loon chicks will leave the nest within about 24 hours.  And then they will be at home in their 'true home' - the water.
Yesterday was a fairly quiet day for the loons especially with everything else that has happened this year.  No eagles dive bombing the nest or the loons.  No major territorial battles.  No wind, rain or hail.  Just a very nice, calm 'Minnesota Day'.
Let's hope the same for our loons today.
Comments or Questions?  LoonCam(at)yahoo(dot)com
Copyright  2012   Larry Backlund