73 degrees F Sunny Wind Calm
Sunrise 6:04am CDT Sunset 8:17pm CDT
Well, it is official.
We definitely HAVE AT LEAST ONE LOON ON THE LAKE!
I heard a loon calling and when I went down to the lake just now - sure enough, there was a loon swimming along the edge of the ice!
I had gotten reports yesterday of loon sightings on the lake.
When I checked one of them out, it turned out to be mergansers. But then I thought I spotted a loon. But he dove to quick for me to be sure. That resident called me later in the afternoon to say that he saw a loon out in front of his place.
Earlier in the morning I had received a call from someone who saw a loon out in front of her place as she sat and drank her morning coffee.
So I think that we can be sure that there is at least one loon back on the lake.
Last Thursday morning, someone on the east side of the lake reported hearing a loon fly over early in the morning. But she thought that it continued on over the lake toward a river that was ice free. The lake was still completely covered in ice.
We are getting close!
And the loons seem to be as anxious as we are.
I have kept track of ice-out dates for over 30 years on this lake. The latest the ice has ever gone out here in those 30 years is April 23. As you remember, last year the ice went out March 18, which was the earliest ever in over 30 years.
So we are officially now the latest ice-out date in over 30 years.
Today the ice is really turning black which is a good sign that it could start breaking up soon.
We have had 80 degree temperatures for the last couple days and that is really taking a toll on the ice. It was only a week ago when we had some major snow and the lake was frozen up to shore.
It has now melted enough around the edges that there is some open water. Yesterday morning, the ice was out about 500 feet from shore. The gentle wind had blown the whole ice sheet toward the other side of the lake where it was piling up on shore.
That is when we saw one unconfirmed loon on the side with some open water.
Late in the afternoon, a small thunderstorm passed nearby and the wind changed directions. Within half an hour, the whole ice sheet had shifted back to this side of the lake and the ice was almost up to shore here again, with ice piling up in some areas.
Now this morning, the ice sheet has once again shifted back to the other side of the lake.
As tempting as it is to put out the loon nesting platform [especially with a loon sitting out there], I cannot do it until the ice has broken up and is off the lake. If I had put it out before yesterday afternoon, it would have been completely destroyed when the ice sheet shifted and came this way.
The power of ice when it moves in the wind is amazing.
We can only wait until mother nature takes its course. Wait until the ice is gone.
It could happen anytime, especially if we get a fairly strong wind.
My personal guess is that we have at least a day or two before the ice goes out. If it is 2 days, that means that the ice will not be out of the lake until May 1st!
That is unbelievable.
But we have at least one loon on the lake right now. So there is hope. The loon had the characteristic break at the end of its call that we heard from one of the loons last year. Is it one of the same pair that we watched last year? It could be. But remember we banded both pairs on the lake last year so we may be able to know for sure who is who this year. We will have to wait until we can get a view of the bands.
Stay tuned. Now it gets exciting. Tell your friends and family and neighbors to start watching
Copyright 2013 Larry R Backlund