Sunday, June 8, 2014 4:20 am CDT

44 degrees F     Foggy     Calm

Sunrise   5:25 am CDT     Sunset   8:59 pm CDT

One Egg Hatched, One To Go!

It is a very foggy morning on the lake.

One can't see more than a few feet in front of them.

From somewhere out in the fog comes the plaintive call of another loon.  A wail.  Then again. And again.

Is it our mate?

Or is it another loon?

We can't tell.  We can't see that far because of the fog.

But there is a lovely warming brooding feel about it.  The still morning air.  The first glimpses of light on the eastern horizon.  The dense fog.  The call of a loon drifting across the lake.

It can easily transport one back through the ages of time immemorial.

And raise goosebumps on your arms.

But the main event is on the nest in front of us.

One miracle has already taken place.

Is another one on the way?

The first egg has hatched.  Is the second hatch already underway?

It is hard to tell.

The male loon on the nest is up and down.  Very fidgety.

Is it the active little chick that hatched only 12 hours ago that is making him move around so much?  Or is there another chick hatching out of the second egg right now?

It is hard to tell since he is doing such a good job of protecting the first chick and hiding everything from our view.

The first birds of the morning start their wake up songs.  A far away train whistle adds its plaintive sound to the magic of the morning.

And there under the loon on the nest is the little black chick that we have already fallen in love with.  Impossibly cute.  Impossibly active.  He has already stolen our hearts.

And dare we hope it?

Could there be a second chick soon?

Even though the two eggs were laid 2 or 3 days apart, it is possible that because of a miracle called "catch up", that they might hatch much closer together than that.  Even hours apart.

Our first chick made his appearance at 4:07 pm CDT yesterday afternoon.  That is the first time we actually saw him.  So that is the official time we will use as the time of hatching.

However, he was probably actually out of the egg a couple hours before that because when we first saw him, he was already dry and his down was fluffy and black when dad went off the nest and bowled him over and left him all alone.  But it gave us a great view of him sitting with the other egg and the broken egg shell that he had just come out of.

In addition to that, the female had before that brought small minnows twice and got up on the nest with them as she rapidly hooted.  She seemed to feed them to something.  But we could not see what.  It was on the far side of the male on the nest and his body shielded everything from view.

But what else could it be?

There had to be a chick under the right wing on the far side of the male.  But we would just have to wait longer before we actually saw the first chick.

I have never seen a loon come up on the nest with a minnow that early in the process.  It was as if she could not wait to feed her new baby.  Nor have I heard that many rapid hoots as she made each time she brought a minnow.

Now we wait.

We wait for daylight.

We wait to see if there is already another chick there?  Or one on the way.

But there is also another thing that you need to prepare yourself for when the second chick arrives.

Most times there will be a knock down drag out fight between the two chicks!

It is SO hard to watch.

You swear they are going to kill each other as they peck and attack.

It apparently is the proverbial "pecking order" being established.  And usually it is triggered by the first chick, who is older and stronger.

It can go on for some minutes.  But those minutes seem like hours while it is happening.

And then as suddenly as it started, it is over.

And the two chicks are the best of friends and companions from that time on.

For those of you who did not see it or have not read last night's blog entry, our first chick has already been in the water and has already done a lot of swimming!

And in heart stopping moments, one waited for a large fish to take him as dad went back on the nest to tend the second egg and mom just swam away out into the lake.  Leaving our brand new chick all alone on such a big and dangerous 'ocean' of water.

He cried over and over.

The male on the nest called and even 'screamed'.  The chick tried to get back up on the nest but he could not.  It was too big for him.

All the while he was so very vulnerable to disappearing in the mouth of something from below.  So vulnerable to being someone else's meal.

But he finally found the chick ramp and made his way back up to safety on the nest and under dad's wing!

To me, it seemed too early to jump in, only hours after he hatched.

But it was both mom and dad that called him into the lake.  And then left him.

It was hard to watch to say the least.

But he survived.  He was safe.  And right now he is under dad's wing on this foggy morning.

Some of you also wondered about all the noise last night and some even saw reflections of some of the light of fireworks.

Those were not fireworks by people on the lake.

They were fireworks from a community celebration in a small village a few miles away.  There are so many towns and villages and cities all across the state that have community celebrations like this.  And there will be some town somewhere that will have them so that  almost every weekend a celebration like that takes place somewhere.

But that is the endless loud booms that some of you heard on the LoonCam last night.

Just pretend that they were celebrating the birth of our new little loon chick!

But for now, it is back to eggwatch.

Now is also time to tell your friends and family to watch this miracle take place before their eyes.  It still is not too late for them to 'catch the fever' along with you!  Because it is so fleeting and will be gone so quick.  Don't let them miss a minute of it!

Settle in and watch for the first signs that the second egg is hatching or has already hatched.

No doubt you will see the first chick peeking his head out from under a wing and crawling all about.

But watch for a second one as well.

How can anything get more wonderful than this?!

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

Copyright 2014   Larry R Backlund