Thursday, May 22, 2014 5:33 am CDT

40 degrees F     Clear     Wind  NW 1 mph

Sunrise   5:35 am CDT     Sunset   8:44 pm CDT

A loon sits quietly on two eggs.

It must be the male because it does not go into deep hangover when I walk out in front of the house.  The female is very shy and usually goes into hangover at the slightest little hint of anything going on.  I have never seen a loon that has been this 'shy' before.

But this loon sits confidently on the nest.  So I think it is the male.  The other loon is swimming far out into the lake from the nest - so that must be the female.

If this is the male on the nest, he may have been there since 5 pm yesterday!  I have also never seen one loon of the pair do so much of the incubation time on the nest.  That would mean he has been there for over 12 hours.  Unless there was a nest change sometime during the night, which is possible.  But with this pair, I do not think so.

I am glad that we finally have sound back due to the diligent and hard work of the good folks at Broadband (although at the moment the cam seems to be off).  The camera itself is working fine so it is once again something somewhere along the line that is not working.  One little 'piece' out of so many that does not quite 'fit'.

Thank you once again for your wonderful patience and understanding after we have had to deal with so many issues after the lightning strike.  It is amazing what something like that can do.  But then when it comes down to it, I guess it is amazing that we are able to send a picture like this at all.

So thank you for your understanding and support and concern.

Since you were able to hear the sound yesterday, let me explain some of what you are hearing.

In past years you have heard some of the squeaks and creaks and groans of the raft as it bounces in the waves.  The more waves, the more noise.  To a certain extent, it is just something we have to put up with.

The structure of the raft itself transmits those noises louder to the microphone than what you hear on the nest itself.

I have worked over the last few years to try to minimize the amount of squeaking from the styrofoam.  But as the waves move it around, there is no way to completely stop it from squeaking.

As you have seen from the reaction of the loons, it does not bother them.  It just bothers us by hearing it on the microphone.  I have stood next to the nest when it has been moving and you can barely hear any of the squeaking noise although once in a while you can hear some of it.  The structure just magnifies the sound as it transmits it to the microphone.  It is something that I keep working on to minimize it.

But there is a new sound this year that I could not figure out.

No, it is not chains.  It is not something that duct tape will help.

At first I could not figure out what it was.

I am still not 100% sure.

But I have come to the conclusion that it is the new "chick ramp" that I added last year.

Normally chicks leave the nest within about 24 hours of hatching.

But as we have seen a couple times before, especially with the chick in 2012 who loved the nest, sometimes a chick will try to get back on the nest.  It is relatively rare but they do sometimes get back on the nest.

The chick in 2012 was the most unusual one that I have ever seen.  He loved to come back to the nest over and over.  And he would come back and drag the parents with.  Finally they tired of it and just let him come back to the nest by himself.

And that may have ultimately been his undoing as we lost him later in the summer, possibly to eagles.

But normally when a chick leaves the nest, they do not return.

They are a waterbird from that time on and they stick closely to their parents.

However, especially because of the chick two years ago wanting to come back to the nest, I added a new chick ramp to help it get back up on the nest.  I had experimented with several different attempts at a chick ramp through the years.  All of which were dismal failures.

But the new chick ramp that I added last year may have solved the problem.

However, like most things in life, the solution of one problem maybe created another problem.

I think much of the sound that we are hearing this year is coming from that chick ramp and NOT from the styrofoam or other parts of the nesting platform.

Oh well.

It gives me one more thing to work on between this season and next year.

But I wanted to let you know that is probably much of the noise you are hearing when the waves hit the nest.  And since I cannot go out there while the loons are there, it is just something that we will have to put up with this year.  And maybe I can come up with a solution for next year.

The next few days promise to be warm and sunny.  A break that all of us need.

There may be some rain that comes through on Sunday and Monday, but that is to be expected this time of year.  And the loons do not mind a little more water!  At least it is not the heavy hail that some parts of the country got hit with yesterday.

Although we have even seen our loons in previous years sit on the nest through light hail storms with the hailstones bouncing off them!

What a loon will not go through just to make sure that a new generation of loons has the best chance of entering the world and surviving to continue the mystery.

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

Copyright 2014  Larry R Backlund