Saturday, June 2, 2012 5:35am CDT

45 degrees F    Clear     Calm
Sunrise  5:27     Sunset  8:55pm 
The yellow iris on the plant that was so unceremoniously uprooted by the loons has now fully opened.  There are two more blooming on the irises on the far edge.
All we need are for a couple loon eggs to 'fully open'.
What could complete the picture more perfectly than for us to see two healthy little black downy loon chicks?
What could be a better reward to two loons who have so faithfully sat for hour after hour on the eggs?  Day after day.  In all kinds of weather.
The weather today would be perfect weather for the arrival of the loon chicks.
The lake is like a sheet of glass this morning.  The loon on the nest is not being rocked by waves at all.  And the mate swims out in the middle of the lake.  Two early morning fishermen are putting their boat in the water.  Tiny wisps of fog rise off the surface of the lake in the cool morning air and float away.
But what is happening inside the eggs remains a mystery to us.  Known only to the chicks in the egg and maybe the loons themselves.
For the rest of us, we cannot hurry it.  We cannot speed things up no matter how much we try.  It will happen when it happens.
But the chances of it happening go up dramatically today and for the next few days.  I would expect that if the eggs are going to hatch they will do it in the next two or three days.  Every hope of the last couple months now reaching its culmination.  Everything has pointed to this time.
So we wait.  Some more patiently than others.  But everyone waits.
Once the hatching happens, everything goes into high gear.
The focus of the loons changes.
No longer are they content to sit hour after hour, day after day.  In hot sun, in rain and in cold hail.  Then everything the loon does will change to protecting and feeding that chick.  And the feeding is a non-stop proposition as the parents dive over and over and come back with the tiniest of minnows to feed the chicks.
The chicks will be almost totally dependent on the adults for their food for the first six weeks of their lives.  Then gradually they will begin to catch a little of their own food until they are able to catch all of their food by the time they are about 3 months old.
But we get ahead of the story.  Nothing else happens until the eggs hatch.
So 'hatch watch' is on.
Yesterday I received sad news from Carol Jansky at St John's University.  Many of you have followed reports of one of the loons that we implanted with a satellite transmitter in the summer of 2010.
Carol gives us the following report:
"Big John and his mate lost their chicks sometime in the last week.  Br. Walter Kieffer and I surmise that either the eagles took the chicks or perhaps they were injured or killed by the golf-ball sized hail we had on Memorial Day

Better news , the loons on Stumpf lake survived the hailstorm and their chicks have hatched."

It is once again a stark reminder of the challenges that loons face even when they successfully hatch their eggs.  So we are sad at the apparent loss of two chicks.  But encouraged of the report of two other chicks.

New life is beginning all across the area.

We can only imagine what is happening inside the eggs that 'our loons' are so faithfully protecting.

Today the watch continues.

And hope springs eternal.


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

Because of the number of emails I am not able to respond to each one personally.  However, I will eventually read all of them.  And when there are several questions along the same line I will try to answer those questions here.

Copyright  2012    Larry Backlund