Thursday, May 3, 2012 7:26am CDT

60 degrees F    Cloudy    Wind  3mph NE
Sunrise  5:57am     Sunset  8:22pm
Both loons sit on the nest face to face as I write this.
Each time they get up on the nest one can only wonder 'Will this time be the time?'
One of these times, it will be the time.  
And then everything will change.  Once there is an egg on the nest, the loons will be there almost any time you look at the cam.  The egg becomes an anchor.  Something that binds them to the nest for the next month.
But until then, they will come and go.
One can't help but wonder if 'this one' might be the time.
However, we are only spectators.  We can only watch and wait.  And hope.  There is nothing we can do which will speed up the egg laying.  Nor slow it down.  The loons are the ones who determine everything that happens.
We need to remind ourselves that we are still well within the 'normal range' for laying of eggs on this nest.  So there is still no need for concern even though we become impatient.
Today there are still thunderstorms moving through the state but none that are threatening the loon nest right now.
There were heavy winds and rains during the middle of the night last night but so far the nest is holding up.
Last night was an active night for other wildlife as well.
The muskrat made several visits and there was a report that the beaver once again was up on the nest (although I was on the phone and missed the beaver visit).
Something happened after the first beaver visit that I did not tell you about.  As you may know, when the beaver visited before he decided to make a meal of some of the willow branches on one corner of the nest.  Willow branches that are meant to keep eagles from swooping directly down on the nest.  The willow branches on that corner of the nest are now just stubs.
The branches on the other corner of the nest where the camera is mounted are still intact.
I was concerned not only for those willows but even moreso for the television and sound cables that come down along the camera mount.  It would take only one bite by the beaver to sever those cables and we would lose everything for the year.  Video and sound would be gone and with the loons getting close to nesting, there would probably be no chance to replace them.
The muskrat could do the same damage.  Just that he would not do it as fast as the beaver.  It might take several chomps by the muskrat before he severed the cables.  Whereas the beaver could do it in one chomp.
So a couple weeks ago when the loons were no where near the nest, I once again made my way out to the nest with what I hoped might be at least a partial solution.
I sprayed the willows and cables and mounting pole with hot pepper wax!
For those of you who are gardners, you know what that is.  It is just what it sounds like.  Hot peppers in a spray solution.  It is used to keep deer and rabbits and other critters from munching on things in the garden.
Will it work here?  We can only hope it will.
Hopefully one taste by either the beaver of the muskrat will convince them that this is not something they want to gnaw on.
That is unless we have a Mexican beaver or muskrat that LIKES hot food!
Over the last few days there have been several instances of a 'mating behavior' that I have never seen before and was quite hilarious to watch.  For lack of a better description, you could call it the "sitting on her head" behavior.
I am not sure if it is inexperience on the part of the male or if something else is going on.  But it has been funny to watch as the male mounted the female.  Although he did not quite get the 'alignment' right and he simply fell over on top of the female and just sat on her head!
You could hear the female making some muffled noises as the male sat on her head.  It was as if she was saying, "My mother told me not to go with you.  She said you didn't know what you were doing.  And that you would never amount to anything.  But did I listen.  NO!  Now GET OFF ME!  Get off my head!"
And with that she literally had to almost carry the male along with her as she moved to get out from under him and off the nest.  Several of our faithful viewers caught the whole episode on video and you can see one of the videos here (sorry that I can't post all of them  but thank you to all of you!).  It happens starting at about the 4 minute mark of this video.
So have a good laugh this morning as you wait for eggs to arrive.
Comments or Questions?   LoonCam(at)yahoo(dot)com
Copyright 2012   LarryBacklund