Wednesday, April 22, 2015 5:15 am CDT

31 degrees     Cloudy    Wind 15mph NW

Sunrise   6:16 am CDT     Sunset   8:08 pm CDT


The wind just will not let up.

All day yesterday it blew from the northwest.  Cold and biting.

There were snow flurries off and on all day.  Dark scudding clouds blew across the sky.  Mixtures of rain and snow would turn to all snow.  Then to pellets of ice.  Something meteorologists call "gropple", which is snow that has partially melted and then refrozen and falls as an icy pellet.  Then back to snow.  And rain.  And even hints of sun.

The waves on the lake have been constant as well.  The nest has been bounced and battered and buffeted by the waves and the wind.

So far everything on the nest is still holding together.  The constant action of the waves always pose a danger of washing loon nests away.

This floating platform can at least 'ride with the waves' to a certain extent.  Although there is still the danger of the waves washing the nesting materials away.

But a nest on shore is even more vulnerable to high waves which can batter it and wash up over it.  And literally wash the eggs out of the nest.

That is why loons often try to build their nests in a somewhat sheltered area if they can find one.

And that is why in some ways this nesting platform is 'all wrong' - because it can be exposed to the effects of the wind and waves.  But it also illustrates how strongly loons value its protection from shore predators.

Even though they sometimes bear the brunt of the wind and waves, they are protected from shore predators by being out in the water about 150 feet from shore.  And they seem to choose that over being on shore.

Our loons have been visiting the nest periodically.  And their visits seem to be increasing in frequency slightly.  Even with a little bit of nest building activity.

That is a good and very encouraging sign.

Over the next few days I would encourage you to watch for that increase in nesting activity.  More frequent visits to the nest.  Longer times spent on the nest.  Possibly more matings.  And increased nest building activity.

They will move a lot of the nest material by taking it in their beaks and placing it along side them.  By doing this they gradually build a 'nest bowl'.

But the more serious nest building is when they start to dig with their feet and dig down into the nesting material to deepen that bowl.  They will dig and then settle down into it, making it feel just right.  Then they will turn  some and repeat the procedure.

Each time the nest becomes more defined and deeper and made just to comfortably fit them.

I would say we are still a few days off from egg laying.  But we are getting closer.

One of the surest signs we are getting closer is when you see the loon on the nest getting serious about nest building.

But it is going to be a rocky ride for them.  The wind is forecast to continue all day today and maybe in to tomorrow   And the unseasonable cold continues.

Our loons take it all in stride.

They have seen it before and they will see it again.


Copyright 2015   Larry R Backlund