Wednesday, May 14, 2014 am CDT

30 degrees F     Cloudy     Wind  Calm

Sunrise   5:55  am CDT     Sunset   8:35 pm CDT

There is a touch of frost in the air in some areas.

But the first egg is warm and safe under the loon.

And a second egg could happen at any time.

Now is the time to watch closely.

The time to let all your friends know that the loons are on the nest.  twitter.  Facebook.  Or any of the other social media that you are a part of.

These days are all too fleeting and they will pass so quickly.

And then the loons will be gone for another year.

With eagles, they are there for months.  And we get to watch the little eaglets grow.

With loons, they hatch and then in a day or two they are gone.

So don't miss a minute of it.

Some of you have asked about where things are located so that you can get an idea of distances.

And for many of you, this may be your first time viewing the LoonCam.

So let's go over a few of the basics.  Some of the viewers have been here for many seasons and they are great sources of information for you as well.  And they are more than happy to share their knowledge with you.  Just ask.

This loon nest is on a lake in central Minnesota.  For protection of the nest, we don't identify the exact location.

It is a floating platform that is anchored in about 3 feet of water about 150 feet from shore.  The nesting materials are placed on the platform but then the loons do the rest as far as actually building the nest.  

The green growth that you see on the edges of the platform are irises and daylilies.  As they grow they help to hold nesting materials in place and help to prevent erosion of the nesting materials from wind and waves.  Also they give the loons some measure of concealment and security.

There are willow branches at two corners of the nest.  You can see the ones on the upper right side of the picture sometimes.  And there are some right behind the camera.  these branches are intended to keep eagles from swooping down directly on the loons.

The camera that allows you to watch the loons is mounted right on the nesting platform.  It places your "eyes" about 3 feet away from the loon on the nest.  Nowhere in nature could you come that close to a loon and observe it without chasing it off the nest.  But here you can watch totally natural behavior close-up and personal.  All without disturbing the loon or changing its natural behavior.

The camera is a brand new camera that we got just a few days ago.  The previous camera ( and a lot of other equipment) was struck by lightning and destroyed.

So we have been frantically rebuilding everything in the last few days.

The shoreline that you see in the upper left hand corner of your picture is about one mile away!  There are are 13 buoys plus a swimming raft that surround the area to try to keep boats away from the nest.  The white buoys that you can sometimes see in the top of the picture are about 100 feet away from the nest.

In 2012, in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the USGS, we were able to band loons on the lake here.  Each loon received a colored band and a silver band on its right leg that are unique to that loon.  On the left leg we attached a data recorder that has recorded everywhere the loon has gone.

So when you  see the male on the nest, look at his legs and you will see the bands and the data recorder.  From those, we know he is the male and he is the same male that has been here in the two previous years.  It appears that the female is unbanded and is therefore a different female than the one that was here in 2012.

It appears that the cam went down last night for some reason.  Just a reminder once again of how many things must work perfectly to bring you this experience.  It was reported last night and hopefully it will be back up soon.  Sunday morning we\hen it went down, "an encoder had crashed".  Whatever an "encoder" is and wherever it is located along the long line that the signal has to travel.  Hopefully it will be back up soon.

Once again, enjoy watching these beautiful loons today.  

And be amazed again at the wonder of Creation!

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

Copyright  2014     Larry R Backlund