Tuesday, May 12, 2015 2:12 pm CDT

57 degrees   Mostly Cloudy   Win 12 mph NW

Sunrise   5:47 am CDT    Sunset   8:33 pm CDT


It is a cold windy day here in Minnesota.

We did not have frost here but it did get down to 37 degrees this morning.  The weather should continue to warm over the next few days.  More rain is predicted for Thursday evening and then again on Sunday.

There are whitecaps on the lake that are bouncing our loons around whether they are  on the nest or off.

But they take it all in stride. 

Whether they are on the nest or not, they would be bouncing on the waves.  Obviously they don't need Dramamine nor do they get seasick.  It is just their world.

The loons just did their nest exchange a few minutes ago.

They are getting MUCH better at it and making the exchange smoothly.  The female is getting more and more comfortable on the nest and not ready to leave at the slightest provocation as she did last year.  She is still more ill at ease than the male but she is coming along rapidly.

She just spent the last 7 hours and 37 minutes on the nest!

That has to be a record for her.  If you had told me even a couple weeks ago that she  would do that, I probably would not have believed you.  And the male spent 17 hours on the nest Sunday and Monday.

Once again, you learn new things every day.

I think these are the longest shifts that I have ever seen.  But then in previous years without the loons being banded, it was hard to tell who was on the nest and for how long.  But it seemed that most of the time I have been watching loons they seemed to do a nest exchange every few hours, not these long long shifts on the nest.

Once again we are seeing things and learning things that would have been impossible in any other way.

What really surprised me this afternoon was that the neighbor mowed their front lawn with a big riding mower and it did not seem to overly concern the female.

I thought 'this will be interesting to see how she reacts'.  

And she barely reacted at all!

She went into a slight hangover once in a while.  But very little.  I was surprised.  And I wondered to myself if maybe it was the male on the nest and I had missed the exchange.  But no, it was the female who is getting more and more comfortable with her duties.

The neighbors are as concerned about the loons as much as I am.  Or more.  So I knew that if the mowing bothered the loons they would stop.

But the female loon was perfectly ok with it.

I am very encouraged by the apparent maturing of this female.

I have not been able to get over to where the other pair of loons on the lake has nested the last few years for a couple weeks.  With our loons here, I am "landlocked".  But when I checked a couple weeks ago, I did not see any sign that they were trying to nest at that point.  Hopefully they will nest again either at their old site or a new one.

I have not heard nearly as many territorial battles so hopefully territories have been all settled.

One of the reasons I hope that pair has chicks this year is that they were banded and fit with geolocater tags in 2012.  We were not able to capture them last year to retrieve their geolocaters because they lost their chick.  We tried to capture them but were not able to do it.

So if we can capture them and retrieve the data recorder, it will add much more knowledge about loons.  Where they go and what they do.

There is (or was) still an 'intruder loon' on the lake.  A couple mornings ago, our loon was drawn off the nest as they 'did battle' with the intruder.  I did not see it but one of the neighbors said they did.  Apparently it was a fairly short and mild battle.

So our loons continue to face challenges.  Even if we do not see them on the LoonCam and they take place elsewhere.

But today I will hold onto how well our female has been settling into her role.

I am very pleased and happy.

It bodes well for the future of this nest and our little future chicks.


Copyright   2015     Larry R Backlund