Sunday, May 24, 2015 5:34 am CDT

58 degrees F     Cloudy     Wind Calm

Sunrise   5:34 am CDT     Sunset   8:46 pm CDT


On a calm and mostly cloudy morning, the loons have already made their nest exchange.

It actually surprises me how much of a consistent routine they have developed for themselves.  The female taking over in the early morning, staying until mid-afternoon.

And then the male taking over mid-afternoon and staying the rest of the day and all night.  He has just completed 14 hours and 51 minutes again.  

It has pretty much been conventional wisdom that loons shared nesting duty about equally.  With the female taking maybe 60% and the male 40%.   And that is what I think I have seen with previous pairs.

But this couple has turned that on its head with the male easily taking 60 to 70% of the nest time and the female 30 to 40%.

Is that due to her apparent youth and inexperience?  Or to other factors unknown?

In the past I have also seen the loons usually change every few hours.  

This particular pair seems to prefer longer times on the nest and less changes.

Oh, we continue to learn so much about these marvelous birds by being able to observe them in ways we never have before.

I am especially pleased with how much this female seems to have matured and settled into her routine of nesting duties.

She has apparently gotten over much of her previous skittishness when she would go into hangover or even leave the nest at the slightest little thing.  Or nothing at all.

She would even go into hangover if she would see me up by the house, let alone down by the lake.  Whereas the male could care less if I was even along the lakeshore.

In just the last few days, the female has finally seemed to know who I am.  And she no longer goes into that deep hangover, even when I am down by the lake.  It has taken a long time with a lot of gradual conditioning, but she seems to have learned quite well finally, who I am and that I am not a threat.

That bodes well for the future. 

But the calm morning will probably not hold.

Predictions for today and tomorrow are for possibly heavy rains and even some strong storms developing

The forecast is for upwards of 2 inches of rain but that has been changing somewhat in the last 12 hours with the heaviest rains now looking like they will occur over Wisconsin.

But we will still take whatever rain we can get.  It is just too bad that it happens on Memorial Day weekend when everyone wants to picnic and go to the lake.

But that also means less boat traffic and less disturbance for our loons.

We are now down to our last week or so before hatch!

If we are to have a successful hatch, the chicks are now developing rapidly inside the eggs.

The heart has been beating now for 2 1/2 weeks.  Tail feathers have formed.  Eyelids have formed.  The beak opens and closes.  The foot has claws or toenails and scales have formed on the legs.  And the head of the chick is now turning toward the large end of the egg.  The final position for hatching.

All things that are too wonderful to behold.

And all of it in just the space of a few weeks!


Copyright 2015   Larry R Backlund