42 degrees F Clear Calm
Sunrise 5:59 am CDT Sunset 8:21 pm CDT
It is a perfectly still morning.
The lake is like a sheet of glass. A slight haze hangs in the air over the lake.
Geese are honking and other birds are calling in the still morning air.
The loons are floating together not too far out in the lake from the nest.
All is peaceful.
Yesterday we were reminded of how quickly things can change into the most shocking and unexpected events. Out of the blue.
All without any warning.
Most of the day yesterday had been a fairly routine and uneventful day.
Warm temperatures. Gentle breezes. A little bit of light rain. Some sunshine. Just a nice spring day in Minnesota on "Loon Lake".
It had been an encouraging day as the loons spent time on the nest more often and for longer periods of time.
There was continuing and even increasing nest building activity. Especially by the male. But also some by the female.
They mated on the nest 4 more times today. We are up to 21 times by my count.
I think this is the most I have ever seen. They mated for the first time all the way back on April 12th, almost 3 weeks ago.
The male has done by far the majority of the nest building activity. He has dug the nest bowl deep and placed it almost exactly in the center of the nest. He has pulled material in from around him and placed it along his sides and built up the nest.
The female has numerous times come on the nest and humorously (sort of) undone most of the work that the male has done. She has sat in a different spot each time over closer to the edge of the platform. And she has pulled material that the male has built up until there is hardly a discernable nest bowl left.
And then he comes back and rebuilds it all over again.
I have laughed as I have imagined the conversation between them.
"Why did you undo everything I had done?
I didn't like where you had the couch.
Well, where do you want me to put the couch?
Don't ask me.
Well, how should I know if you don't tell me?
Well, if you don't know what I want by now - well, that is just typical.
How can I know if you don't tell me? ................"
About 4:30 this afternoon, they had been on the nest once again and mated.
The female stayed on the nest for some minutes, mewing and moving nesting material around. The male swam around the sides of the nest.
After some minutes, the female went to leave the nest and almost fell off/rolled off into the water right by the male.
They turned and faced each other bill to bill.
Suddenly one of them attacked the other and there was a full blown face off with splashing and diving and penguin dance and yodeling by the male.
It happened so fast I could hardly believe what I was seeing. I thought to myself we sure don't need this!
I was stunned.
Not only did I watch some of it online, I went to watch it "live" out on the lake.
I have seen something like this only two other times, where the pair actually fought each other even if ever so briefly. One of those times may have been with this same male.
I laughed (through my concern) and wondered if he had finally had enough and said "I am NOT moving any more furniture!"
Fortunately several of our faithful viewers caught it on video.
I have played those videos over and over trying to see what actually happened and what triggered it. It looks like the male was the one who started the fight. But even that is hard to tell definitively. And I have no idea what actually triggered it.
But peace seems to have returned.
And this morning the pair peacefully floats together out on the lake.
Once again we are so privileged to observe behaviors that we would never be able to see in any other way.
With the increased visits to the nest over the last few days and with the increased nest building activity, I think we must be getting very close to the first egg being laid.
But once again, we cannot control any of it.
We can only be observers and bystanders.
What will today bring.
We can never predict it?
So we all watch and learn together!
Copyright 2015 Larry R Backlund