Thursday, April, 16, 2015 5:01 am CDT

48 degrees F   Cloudy  Light rain    WInd Calm

Sunrise  6:26 am CDT    Sunset   8:00 pm CDT


A few drops of light rain are falling right now in the pre-dawn darkness.

Wails and a few tremolos from our loons echo across the lake.

It is magic!

'These are the times that stir men's souls.'

Something so primeval.  Something that connects deep within us.  Something that speaks so marvelously of the great north woods and wilderness.  Of wildness.

Our lives are richer for having the beauty of loons in our lives.

Yesterday was a much quieter day for our loons.  I am not sure if the 'intruder loons' have moved on to another lake.  Or if they have just found a grudging peace with our loons and have drawn some territorial boundaries.

But I did not see the multiple confrontations and chases of the day before.

There were a number of calls - tremolos and yodels - late last night.  But not to the same extent of the day before.

In the next few days, I will go through the 4 major calls that loons make.  Many of you already know them.  But for some of the  rest of us, It will be a good reminder of what they are saying when we hear them calling.

One of the loons visited the nest for about 5 minutes last night at about 6:30 pm CDT.  I am not sure if it was the male or the female.  But I think it was the female.  S/he sat there and quietly 'clucked'

I still have not been able to see the bands clearly to know who is who or if this is our pair from last year.  Since both of them are banded, I think it is.  But I cannot be sure until I get a good look at the bands.

There was no nest building activity and the mate did not attempt to get up on the nest.  After about 5 minutes on the nest, the loon left and swam away.

We are still early in the process so there is no need for worry or concern.

Just to refresh all of our memories, one year ago today we got over 18 inches of snow here at loon lake!

And the ice did not go off the lake for another week.

What a difference a year can make.

This year is closer to normal than that.

But the year before , 2013, spring was even later.  The ice did not go out until April 30th!  And there was still a lot of snow on the ground then, too.

As the loons get closer to nesting, I would expect that they will increase the frequency of their visits to the nest.  And that they will do some rearranging of the nesting materials and do some 'nest building'.

As we get closer to the time, I will give you some things to watch for that tell us the laying of the egg is imminent.  But for now, let us watch for and hope for visits to the nest with increasing frequency.

There have been some questions about how long a 'runway' does a loon need to take off?

Estimates vary widely.

Some say as few as 100 feet.  Others say up to 1/4 mile or more.

I usually say that they need to have up to 1/4 mile of open water in order take off.  A lot of it depends if they have some wind that they are taking off into.  With a little bit of wind, they need less 'runway'.

Unlike most birds that can take off almost straight up, loons need this long runway to take off.  Ducks can both take off almost vertically.  But not loons.  Geese need a little bit more space than ducks but they can also take off from a standing start.  Loons need a long runway.

Loons are very powerful fliers once in the air.  But since their body is so heavy compared to their wing size, loons must run across the surface of the water while desperately flapping their wings in order to become airborne.

One other thing I should mention.  Later today there will tornado warning drills.  At 1:45 pm and at 6:55 pm, all tornado sirens will sound.  

You may very well hear them on the LoonCam since all sirens will be sounding.  My understanding is that this is taking place all across the Upper Midwest.  Schools and businesses will practice their procedures of what they will do in the event of a real emergency.

There is no severe weather predicted for today so there should be no cause for alarm.  But I wanted you to be aware of that in case you hear the sirens.

The sun will be up in a little more than an hour.

And hopefully we will see our loons in all their splendor and glory.

This is such a magical time of year.  New life and the promise of new life all around us.

Stop and look and feel the wonder of it all.

Enjoy all that God has given you.


Copyright 2015     Larry R Backlund