Friday, May 25, 2012 5:52am CDT

52 degrees     Clear     Wind 5mph N
Sunrise  5:32am     Sunset  8:47pm
A bright yellow sun shines down on our loons from a bright blue sky.
Both of those have been rare commodities the last couple days with all the rain and thunderstorms.  We are now officially at the second wettest May in history for this area.  
But today promises to be a spectacular "Minnesota Day"!
The nest has taken a beating over the last couple days with the high water, the wind and the waves.  And the loons themselves have not helped matters by removing 'structural' vegetation that underlies the entire nest.  That in turn has allowed some of the other material to wash away and you can see the framework of the  floating platform itself on the front an back sides.
There is reason for concern but not 'great' concern at this point.  It all depends on how much more rain we have in the next couple weeks and how much wind comes with it.
It is something that bears close watching.
Because of all the rain, the lake level has come up at least 6 inches or more over the last couple days.  The neighbor's dock is now almost totally underwater and mine is close even though I raised it several inches last week.  I measured last night and the water level of the lake is over 12 inches higher than when the loons first returned two months ago!
That rise in lake levels causes me great concern over what is happening to natural loon nests all across this region of the country that has gotten so much rain.  I am sure many of them have flooded and have been lost.
But since the nest we are watching is on a floating platform, so far it is ok as it has risen with the rising water.
But we are probably at the limit of the length of one of the anchors ropes that is firmly attached to the bottom of the lake.
It presents a dilemna.  I am averse to ever approaching the nest when the loons are actually nesting.  I think that is why the loons apparently trust me - they know I am not a threat to the nest.  But if there is a danger of the nest going underwater, I would go out to see if there is anything I could do.  I would try to wait until a time when the loons are taking a long 'break' from the nest.   But those times are few and far between because even when they are off the nest they are usually carefully watching from afar.
The nesting material on the platform has also absorbed a lot of water from the rain over the last few days.  That adds a tremendous amount of weight to the nest.  But so far the styrofoam and pvc pipe are doing well and  holding it up out of the water.
Replacing some of the nesting material that has washed away is not as easy as it sounds.
One cannot just dump more material on the platform.  It would quickly wash away as well.  The 'structure' that underlies the nest would have to be rebuilt as well.  And that would probably take far too long and be far to intrusive to the loons.
So we are left with only difficult choices.
The best choice is to leave everything as it is and hope that the nest survives for the next couple weeks AND that the high waters goes down somewhat.  But the level of the lake will not go down overnight even though it did "come up overnight" with all the heavy rain.
Let us hope that we can do that and do not have to intervene in any way.
One of the other dangers, especially this weekend, is wakes from boats.  High wakes from a boat can easily wash over a nest.  Even when the boat is some distance away.  The boaters have not done anything wrong (unless they purposely come close to a nest) but with the high waters, there is not much of a margin for error.  So ask your boating friends to just be aware of it.
With this being Memorial Day weekend, if the weather is nice there will be thousands of people who take to the lakes for the first big weekend of the summer.
The view from the webcam is somewhat deceiving.  There is still a lot of material on the nest even though some has been washed away.  The nest itself still has probably at least 6 to 8 inches of material under the eggs.
Today is forecast to have light winds as is tomorrow.  That is a great break for the loons.  So let's hope that they have a quiet day in every way.
Some of the strange 'territorial battles' have continued.  Let us hope that they have a break from them as well.
So today, let's enjoy the respite and look forward to the day that we see two new little loon chicks hatch.
Watch closely and encourage your friends to watch with you.  
Because the time is so fleeting.
Unlike nests where you can watch the chicks hatch and grow for weeks or even months, when the loon chicks hatch, we only have about 24 hours to watch them.  Such a short and a fleeting glimpse.
Because with loons, the chicks will usually leave the nest within about 24 hours of hatching.
And then they will be gone.  They will be where they were created to be.  In the water.  Not bound to something as 'uncomfortable' to them as being on land.
So the next few days become more and more exciting as we wait and watch for the eggs to hatch.
Comments or Questions?   LoonCam(at)yahoo(dot)com
Copyright  2012     Larry Backlund