72 degrees F Partly Cloudy Wind 2mph N
Sunrise 5:24am CDT Sunset 9:02pm CDT
The yellow irises are in full bloom on the LoonCam nest.
Unfortunately, that is the only thing that is blooming on the nest.
There are no loons. There are no eggs. There are no little chicks 'blooming'.
This truly has been one unusual year in every respect.
From the historically late ice-out date. To the failure of the loons to nest this year, even while other loons in the area nested almost immediately after their return.
There were still at least 5 loons on the lake here as of last weekend.
One neighbor witnessed a territorial confrontation between two pair of loons, one of which was apparently the pair that has been hanging around this side of the lake and the nest. In addition, they also saw a single loon on another side of the lake.
But it does not seem to be just our LoonCam loons that have not nested.
The other pair of loons that nested on the lake last year has not nested either. At least not in the same area where they nested last year. A couple people have told me that they have not seen any nesting loons on that part of the lake. A week ago I took the canoe and went looking to see if I could find a nest.
I could not find a nest or any indication that they were nesting in that area of the lake where they had been last year and successfully hatched two chicks. They were the two chicks that we banded last year, one of whom was found on Lake Phalen in St Paul in September, entangled in fishing line. Unfortunately, in spite of valiant efforts by the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center the loon succumbed to his injuries.
This may be the pair of loons that my neighbors saw in a territorial confrontation on another part of the lake.
Whatever the truth may be, where last year two pair of loons were nesting on the lake and had chicks by now, this year neither pair of loons appear to be nesting. Who know what the reasons are.
I had one report by someone else that they saw a loon on a nest on the other side of the lake [probably one of the two pair that were in the territorial battle]. So a couple days ago I went looking for the nest where they said they saw the loon. It may be there somewhere. But I did not find it. And I did see a pair of loons swimming out from that area as they preened and fished.
It is something that I will investigate again to see if there is indeed a pair of loons nesting there. But I could not find them a few days ago. If I find something, I will update you on what I find.
The loon pair that has been staying around this side of the lake has periodically come up to the nesting platform. But they have not been up on the nest since Monday morning. And each time it is only the male that has gotten up there. The female seems to be much more wary and she seldom comes to the nest.
The nest is still in the water and available to them if they want to use it. I gradually moved it over a period of many days so that they would always see where it was and so that there were no drastic changes.
But so far they have shown no indication that they are going to lay eggs this year.
If they do not, it will be the first time in 10 years that the loons have not used the LoonCam nest.
One of the other ramifications of the loons not nesting is that we will probably not be able to catch them and retrieve that geolocater recorder tags that we placed on all 4 of the adult loons. Those recorders have documented everywhere the loons have been for the last year.
But in order to retrieve the data, we have to be able to catch the loons. And in order to be able to catch the loons, they need to have chicks that they are protecting.
So it is a disappointment that we may also have to wait to learn where our two pair of loons spent the winter and what the route of their migration was.
So many unusual circumstances. So many questions. So few answers ... yet.
All we can do is to continue to watch and learn.
For now you can be assured that the loons seem to be very healthy and doing well. They are still around. They are fishing and preening and swimming and diving.
They just are not laying eggs.
Copyright 2013 Larry R Backlund