Saturday, May 5, 2012 5:03am CDT


51 degrees    Cloudy    Wind  2mph N

Sunrise  5:55am     Sunset  8:25am


In the first tiny bits of daylight, I can just barely make out the silhouettes of two loons floating between the nest and the shore.

This seems to be somewhat new behavior this year of spending the nights close to the nest.  I am sure it has happened before but I just have not seen it this often.  Then at dawn they swim by the nest to check it out, and may even get up on the nest and then swim off into the lake.

This particular pair of loons seems to come closer in to shore than seen in previous years.

The more we learn, the more we realize how little we truly know.

There is a whole drama of life that takes place all around us every day.  And 99% of it we never see.

We have been reminded of that fact on other cams over the last few days.

Nature is magnificent and beautiful to see close up like we are able to do with this webcam and others.  But it doesn't always follow some happily ever after script.  Sometimes it can be heartbreaking and cruel.  And sometimes it doesn't follow our benign view of what we would like to happen.  But that is sometimes what we forget.

Now I am not saying any of that in reference to what we have seen here so far.  But it is just a good reminder that we need to be realistic in our expectations of what we see.  And maybe that is one of the great services of wildlife webcams - that we have a whole new understanding of some of the challenges that wildlife faces on a day to day basis that we never stop to think about.  If we learn nothing other than that, our viewing of wildlife webcams will be a great learning experience.

Here on the LoonCam, we still hold on to the hope of new life and not of difficulty.

We hope with all our hope that every time the loon gets on the nest that 'this' will be the time that she lays the first egg.  But so far she has not.  And it is important to remind ourselves that we are still within the 'normal' range for laying of eggs.

The early spring has made us anxious.

Reports of other loons having already nested and laid eggs makes us wonder about this pair of loons.

But once again we must remember that we are  only spectators.  No matter how much we want to do something, there is nothing we can do that will 'make' her lay an egg.  And that reminds us once again what a miracle that laying of the egg and new life out of it truly is.  With all our much vaunted knowledge, no scientist knows how to do what the loons can do.  And no scientist can create a little loon.

All of the signs continue to be positive and hopeful even if the arrival of the egg has not been as quick as we would like.

The loons are spending increasing amounts of time on the nest.

The nest building behavior continues.

In fact, in some ways there has been 'too much' nest building.I am not sure if we have moved from the "War of the Pansies" to the "War of the Irises".

The pansies have taken a beating from being sat on and nibbled and pulled and prodded.  But they both still hang on.  And even try to bloom.

But the last day or two, one clump of irises have also taken a beating.

In all the nest-building behavior, the loons completely dug around the clump of irises on the left.  Then having dug around it, they began pulling on the roots themselves and the clump.  They have completely pulled it loose and out of the nesting material.  It now sits at a cockeyed angle on the edge of the nest. 

If you look carefully, you can see all the roots now exposed to the air on the right hand side of the clump that they have pulled up toward the nest.

It illustrates the strength of the loons.  That is not  a small or insignificant clump.  It has significant weight to it but the loons have been able to get it loose and actually pull it up towards the nest.  But the irises are as hardy as the loons themselves.  And they will no doubt try to put down roots in the new place they have been 'planted'.

The next time you see the loons on the nest, pay special attention to the loon's wingtips.  The wingtips are long and slender.  But notice how they make almost a perfect "X" as they cross over the top of the tail.  I won't say anything more than that right now.  Just notice that "X" over the top of the tail.

After they have laid an egg and are on the nest all the time, I will point out something else to you.  But just notice and remember that for now.

Will today be the day for the first egg?

Once again, we can only watch and wait and hope.


Comments or Questions?  LoonCam(at)yahoo(dot)com

Copyright 2012   Larry Backlund