Saturday, July 12, 2014 5:39 am CDT

66 degrees F     Hazy     Absolutely Calm

Sunrise   5:37 am CDT     Sunset   9:00 am CDT

There is a haze hanging in the air.

The far shore of the lake is softened by a whitish bluish brush stroke from the humidity paint.

There is not a ripple on the lake.  Every detail is perfectly reflected in the absolutely calm water.

That is no ripples except for the line of ripples caused by something swimming out towards the middle of the lake.

A straight line from east to west.

Our loon family is out for their morning swim!

Mom, dad and the two not-so-little chicks.

This afternoon, one of the chicks is already 5 weeks old!  And the other will be 5 weeks old tomorrow afternoon.

Can it be?

Can it have all gone so fast?

It has.  And both chicks seem to be doing well.  They have grown so much.  They are now in their 'teenage' stage.  Their down looking a little more tousled.

They still eagerly accept minnows and fish from mom and dad.  But now they are able to eat fish that are a little bigger than minnow size as well.  The will, however, eat absolutely anything that is offered.

They can now dive with a little more ease but they are still almost totally dependent on their parents to supply their food.  Soon they will start catching more and more of their own food.

But what is that?

There is another single adult loon swimming out on the lake.

And over there to the left is a PAIR of loons.

Loons loons everywhere you look loons.  We are more than blessed.

A couple days ago I was out in the canoe looking to see if I could find the new chick that was hatched on the other nest on the lake.  I was very surprised to see 5 adult loons swimming together.  FIVE!  I never did see the new chick.  But I wondered if it was sheltered under the wing of one of the 5 loons.  Even that did not make sense that they would be swimming with other loons if they had a new chick with them.

I have no explanation.

More questions than answers.

In talking with someone who lives over on that part of the lake a couple days later, he said he wondered if that chick had survived or not.  He had seen the pair of loons but he had not been able to see a chick.

I know that a chick hatched because the remains of the eggshell were on the empty nest.  But we will have to wait to see if we see the chick or not.  Hopefully he is alive and well.  There are SO many dangers in those first few days and weeks for a tiny little loon chick.

This next week the USGS is planning to come up here to the lake.  We are hoping to catch the loons that we banded and put data recorders on  two years ago.  

For the last two years, those data recorders have been recording everywhere the loons have been and what they have been doing.  A WEALTH of information that will add so much to what is known about loons, but especially add to our knowledge about where they are in the winter and what they do.  That whole part of a loon's life has so little knowledge that we know for sure.  And this will add to that big empty space of knowledge.

But we have to catch them first to retrieve the data recorders.  And then the USGS can download the mounds of data and analyze it.  A daunting task for sure.

We know that the male on the LoonCam is the one we banded two years ago.  But the female is new and with any luck, we hope to catch her and band her as well.  AND to band the two new chicks from the LoonCam.

And then we will see if we can catch the other FIVE loons and see who they are.  And band them as well, if necessary.

It will be a LONG night.

We will go out on the lake shortly before midnight and work until the first glint of daybreak appears in the eastern sky.

I don't know for sure which night it will be until the USGS is able to finalize their schedule.  But they are hoping to be up here on Monday or Tuesday night.

In one of the future blogs, I will be sure to give you a report of what we found and how it went.

But for this morning, rest assured that "our" loon chicks are thriving.  Growing.  And getting big.

What could be better than that?!


&copy Copyright 2014    Larry R Backlund