Friday, June 13, 2014 5:22 am CDT

43 degrees F     Clear     Calm

Sunrise   5:24 am  CDT     Sunset 9:02 pm CDT

The sun is just about to peek over the horizon.

In a few minutes the first rays will clear the trees and skip across the water.

Little low wisps of fog drift across the lake and up over the nest.  But those will burn off quickly once the sun has its way.

Today should be a much quieter and sunnier day for our loons after the winds and clouds yesterday.

But even yesterday, the nest was spared the worst of the winds.  With the direction the winds were from, there were large whitecaps out in the middle of the lake but at the nest itself there was just the side effect from the waves.  The waves hitting the nest all day long were big enough.  But at least it was not the whitecaps further out on the lake.

The loons rode the waves all day long like the pros they are.

Right now both of the adults are floating together well away from the nest.  It looks like - at least I want it to look like - two bumps on the back of one of the adults that could be two chicks under the wings.

But I cannot see them clear enough to be able to say for sure that both chicks are under those wings, but it sure looks like it.

This morning there are two eagles flying over the lake looking for fish.  Hopefully NOT looking for little loon chicks.

Their presence is enough to be of great concern to the loons who wail over and over.

One of them has just caught a fish and is now flying away.  Obviously they too have hungry mouths to feed this morning.

The last time I got a good look at them last night, both chicks were with the adults and looked to be doing fine.

One was swimming alongside the adults and the other chick was perkily perched on top one of the adults, happily riding along through the waves.

I know that there is still a very faithful group of people watching and hoping to get any glimpse of the loons.  Even a quick swim-by.  I hope that you catch a glimpse of them today.

I was surprised last night when the male came swimming by the nest with the chicks in tow and he actually veered toward the nest and got up on the nest.

There was a wail from somewhere out on the lake and he immediately answered with 6 wails of his own as he sat on the nest.

While he sat on the nest, the two little chicks swam together in the waves.  But they never came closer than 5 or 10 feet from the nest.  It was a great contrast to watching them after they first left the nest, where they would swim around the nest peeping loudly as they looked for a way to get up on the nest with mom or dad.

But now they swam peacefully together, bouncing on the waves, while dad spent at most a minute on the nest before he slipped back into the water and joined the chicks.  And then they were off once again.

A couple mornings ago in the blog I talked about how most researchers have talked about a special area where the loons will take the chicks after they have left the nest.  This area away from the nest where they would spend the first couple weeks with the chicks.

At the time I was writing that, I had a mental block and no matter how hard I tried, I could not come up with the name that is usually used for that area.

It is usually called a "nursery".  That is simple enough and fitting enough, isn't it.

But in all these years of watching the loons that I have used the LoonCam, I have never seen that behavior - of going to a separate area that is sheltered or in weeds as a 'nursery.

The loons that I have observed closely have always just stayed in the general area of the nest after the chick have hatched.  Out in the open portion of the lake.  This is not to say that in certain cases loons do not use a 'nursery area'.  Just that I have never observed it with these loons and this nest.

And then they gradually venture further and further from the nest with the chicks.

Yesterday I was able to verify with some other people on the lake that the other pair of loons that has been on the lake has nested.  But they apparently have not hatched their eggs yet because he had observed them still on the nest yesterday afternoon.

I have wanted to get out on the lake and do some observations of my own.

But with the loons on the nest or even closeby, there is no way that I can get out on the lake at all.

Now that the chicks have arrived and are a few days old, hopefully I can get out with the canoe or a boat and do some of my own observations.

Another resident on another side of the lake asked me yesterday about the single loon that has been hanging out in front of their house.

I wonder if that is the "intruder loon" that we have talked about before that has had confrontations with "our" loons from the LoonCam?

If only we knew all the answers to all the questions.

Or if we even knew all the questions!

A couple people have asked me what happens to the nest and the camera when it finally gets shut down.

The camera is taken off the nest to protect it from the weather and potential vandals between now and next year.

The nesting platform itself is pulled in and put up on shore where it will stay until ice out next spring.  Repairs and changes and improvements will be done over the summer, until more repairs have to be done next spring from the effects of winter snowstorms and wind.

All the anchors must be taken up.  All the buoys must be brought in .  All the cables that bring you the picture and sound must be rolled up and stored.  The swimming platform must be brought in out of the way of boat traffic.

So there is a lot that must be done after the camera is shut down.

There is a local community festival in August and they have already asked me if it would be possible for them to display the nest so that people can see what it looks like.  So the nest will make that trip to be on display for that day.

That alone is not an easy thing to do because of the bulk and weight of the nest.  It is a major project to transport it anywhere.

And they have asked me if I would be willing to be there to talk about the nest and answer questions.

Even the nest itself has become a 'star'.

But it doesn't hold a candle to the main attraction - our loons.  

And especially the two little loon chicks!

Questions or Comments?   LoonCam at yahoo dot com

Copyright 2014    Larry R Backlund