Wednesday, May 28, 2014 10:02 pm CDT

63 degrees F     Clear     Calm

Sunrise   5:31 am CDT     Sunset   8:50 pm CDT

Expected Egg Hatch  Sometime June 6 - 11

Today has been a very warm and sunny day.

After our long winter that stretched into spring, in just the last few days summer has arrived with a vengeance.

One of the things that has also arrived with a vengeance are mosquitoes!  The "other" Minnesota state bird!

There had been no mosquitoes at all.  Then on Sunday night they were there in swarms, driving you indoors!  The heat of the last few days has obviously hatched them by the millions.

I don't know of any Minnesotan who likes mosquitoes!

I have mentioned to you my love for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area up along the Canadian Border.

I have often said, "God, if you are a JUST God, you will have a corner of heaven, if for nobody else but me, that looks exactly like the Boundary Waters .... WITHOUT mosquitoes!!"

Of course, it HAS to also have loons!

Some of you have also commented on the small insects that have swarmed right in front of the camera lens.

They definitely are not mayflies.

The mayfly hatch has not really started yet.  I have seen just a few around so that would make me believe that the main mayfly hatch will happen sometime in the next few days.

Also, the insects in front of the camera are not the blackflies that can torment loons, some of which you have already seen landing on the heads of the loons (more on them in a minute).

My best guess is another small insect and there have been swarms of them on land.  So it does not surprise me to see them on the nest, although I do not remember seeing that in previous years.

I don't even know what kind of insect they are.

The look somewhat like a mosquito only much smaller.  And they do not bite or sting.  They simply swarm around your head by the thousands and are just a nuisance more than anything else.

I don't know for sure if that is what the ones you are seeing are.  But that would be my best guess.  I have seen them in front of the camera as well.  So you are not imagining them!

Now a little bit more about the blackflies that bother the loons.

These little flies are one more thing that makes loons so amazing.

The blackflies feed EXCLUSIVELY on loon blood!

Talk about being specialized in life to the point where they feed exclusively on loon blood.  One wonders how they can even survive when that is their only or primary food source.

These blackflies, "Simulium euryadminiculum" [although I have also seen them referred to as simulium annulus], can sometimes get so bad that a loon will abandon its nest.

These black flies seem to be drawn primarily to chemical scents emitted by the loons and possibly to a lesser extent by color or shape.

Much more needs to be learned about the effects of the flies on loons but it seems that they can transmit blood parasites that can weaken the loon's immune system.

So as you watch on a warm day without much wind, watch these small blackflies gather on the loons head.  And watch as the loon will shake his head or rub his head on his back to try to get rid of them.

Once again, little things that you would NEVER be able to see without your closeup view from the LoonCam.  Things that add so much to our understanding of what challenges the loons face from day to day.

Also remember that the eggs may hatch in just over a week!

Can it be that it is that time already?

And then hopefully we will see two impossibly cute little loon chicks.  But our view of them will be fleeting.  For they will leave the nest within about 24 hours.  Usually never to return again.

And then another season of the LoonCam will come to a close all too soon.

Don't miss a minute.  They are so precious and so fleeting.  

Savor every one.

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

Copyright 2014   Larry R Backlund