Saturday, May 25, 2013 11:32pm CDT

56 degrees     Cloudy     Wind  8mph SE
Sunrise  5:32am CDT    Sunset  8:47pm CDT
Memorial Day weekend has started.
If the sun comes out and it warms up at all, the lake will be abuzz with speedboats and waterskiiers and jet skis.
But the chilly, rainy, cloudy weather has kept the traffic on the lake down except for the intrepid fishermen who prefer this type of fishing weather to hot and humid.
There have been a number of fireworks going off tonight as well.
So the increased activity of the summer season has started.
A pair of loons passed by the nest a couple times today.  I have not seen our single female from last year.  Could it be that she has found a mate?  Could it be that her mate from last year has made a VERY belated appearance?  Could it be another pair of loons?  There are at least two other pair of loons on the lake in addition to our single female.
I was not able to see if either loon had bands on their legs so I could not identify if these were loons that we banded last year or if it was other loons.
As they swam by the nest, they showed no inclination of getting up on the nest.  And then they swam over toward the other side of the lake.  So I am not sure who these loons are or if they are even interested in nesting this year.
Without seeing bands, it is impossible to tell if this is our female from last year with a new mate, or her old mate or if, more likely  it is an entirely new pair of loons.  As always, there are more questions than answers.
Not the least of which is why her mate has not been here or if it is him, where has be been?  And why would they mate so late especially when other loons are already on eggs on the nest.
We are rapidly approaching the time to make a decision about pulling in the nest or not.
Even if a pair of loons got up on the nest tomorrow, it usually takes about two weeks before mating and nest building and laying the first egg take place.  That would put us into the middle of June before a nest is established.  And then about a month before the first chick hatches, we are already into the middle of July.  That is a full month and a half later than what we normally see.
This is not totally out of the range of dates for loons, especially on wilderness lakes.
But this is a very developed and very heavily used lake.  So it is not a good scenario for loons here to be nesting that late.  Not to mention being fair to neighbors who have been so supportive and understanding through the years.  This nest and LoonCam could not exist without the help and support of understanding neighbors.
But it is becoming very obvious that this year is going to be the first year that loons have not used this particular nesting platform.
I will give it another day or two for you to listen to the sounds of the lake and hopefully sounds of the loons.  Or to see that all too rare sighting of a loon.
But I think it is what needs to be done.
I am filled with conflicting emotions.  We all wanted to see our beautiful loons on the nest.  We all wanted to see two adorable loon chicks.  So many things that we wanted.  But so many things that this year are apparently not to be.
Who would have ever thought that we had such a long cold spring with feet of snow!  Who would have thought that ice-out would be the latest that it has been in over 30 years?
Life is wonderfully complex.  And just when we think that we are starting to understand it, we realize that we still know so very little.  There are so many things that are still beyond our understanding.
But that is part of what makes life so wonderful and so interesting.
So we will continue to watch and listen and learn.
Copyright 2013     Larry R Backlund