Tuesday. June 3. 2014 6:12 am CDT

54 degrees F     Clear     Wind 2mph NW

Sunrise   5:27 am CDT     Sunset   8:56 pm CDT

Expected Egg Hatch Sometime June 6 - 11

It is a beautiful sunny morning as the sun breaks over the trees on the shore of the lake.

A light breeze is blowing, just enough to help keep the blackflies away from the loon but not enough to rock the nest.

A pair of geese swim by with their two new goslings in tow.

The loons just made their morning nest exchange a little while ago and now the female has taken over from the male.  The female seems to be settling into the routine better and better each day.

Yesterday morning she was on the nest for over seven and one half hours!

She is still super sensitive to any disturbance.  But even with that she is getting better and more experienced and does not leave the nest readily, although she goes into hangover from almost any disturbance.

The male is still doing the majority of the incubation duty, especially since he is doing the long overnight shift.

Last night he was on the nest for 13 1/2 hours and the night before for over 15 1/2 hours.

Some of you have asked what the other loon does and where it goes when it is off the nest.

The time off the nest gives it a chance to catch fish and eat, to swim, to preen and take care of its feathers to keep them waterproof and in general to just take a break.

They are not necessarily close to the nest.  Many times when I have looked out on the lake, I cannot even find them or see them.  It is not unheard of for a loon to even fly to an adjacent lake.  Or just to fly, seemingly for exercise or 'the fun of it' and to keep their flight muscles in shape.

However, most of the time they are simply fishing or swimming somewhere else on the lake.  But they keep to their own part of the lake or their own territory if there is more than one pair of loons on a lake.

Crossing that invisible line that defines a loons territory can trigger an all out confrontation between competing loons.

A loon's diet consists primarily of small fish.

But they will eat many different things including crabs and leeches and insects and other things.

One of the requirements for a good loon territory is that it have an abundance of small fish.

A loon can eat up to 2 pounds of fish a day!

Most of the fish are small.  An ounce or two or less.  So a loon has to be a good fisherman when they must catch that many fish.  But they can also catch fish that weigh a couple pounds!  It would seem like it would be impossible for them to swallow a fish that large.

But they do.

Today is day 22 since the first egg was laid.

We are getting close!

According to the time line from the chick embryo growth video that I gave you a couple times, our loon chicks have probably now developed down that covers the body and their head is tucked between their legs as they now almost completely fill the egg.

My best guess is that the eggs may hatch this weekend.  It could be as early as this Friday or as late as a week from tomorrow.  But probably the best chance of seeing them hatch is this weekend.

I will say a little more in the next couple days about the signs to watch for that indicate hatching is taking place.

But once again today, enjoy this wonderful and totally unique opportunity to watch loons in the wild as they incubate their eggs in preparation for new life!

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

Copyright 2014    Larry R Backlund