Wednesday, June 3, 2015 5:45 am CDT

62 degrees F   Cloudy   Wind Calm

Sunrise   5:27 am CDT     Sunset   8:56 pm CDT


The sun is just ready to come up on an absolutely calm lake which reflects the clouds in its mirror-like surface and also reflects the male loon as he sits in front of the nest with the chick on his back.

The egg lays alone on the nest.

Once again exposed to the elements all night long.  With no loon to cover it or keep it warm.

There are no obvious signs of a chick trying to break out of the egg.

But then at 5:40am, as the male calls the female gets up on the nest, turns and rolls the eggs and settles down on them.  Then again turns rolls and settles.  And once more.

What's the problem?

She is on time for work!  It must have been the other shift that didn't sit on them over night!

Behavior that I have never seen before.

The male has remained close to the nest all night with the chick on his back.  By now there has to be a HUGE bond that has formed between the chick and the male loon.

The female left the nest last night at 7:04 pm.  And the egg has lain exposed since then.

It is not looking good for a successful hatch for this egg.  The 28 day anniversary since this second egg was laid is tomorrow morning at 8:18 am.  There is still a chance it might hatch but that chance and that window grows slimmer with each passing hour.

I would have normally expected it to hatch yesterday.

Does the loon know or sense something that we didn't or do not?

Once again we can only wait and wonder.

The male has not let the chick out of his sight since he got off the nest night before last.

But for now, the chick is safely on Dad's back and Mom is once again sitting on the remaining egg.

Yesterday afternoon some of you who were watching saw a pair of fishermen come inside the buoys and stop and fish right up next to the nest.

I am afraid I was not as 'understanding' as I usually try to be.

I had stayed away from the lakeside of the house in order to give the female on the nest the best possibility of staying put if she did not see me or anyone else.  The front lawn needs mowing but I thought that can wait for another day or two if she is on the nest.

So I was going to mow some of the other lawn  out of her sight.

But when the mower did not start, I remembered that I had run it dry a couple days ago.  So I went out in front of the house to get the gas can where I had left it.

To my shock there was a big fishing boat sitting right next to the nest casting their lures up along the edge of the nest.

I waved with both arms for them to move.  Both adult loons and the chick were well out beyond the buoys.  I was surprised they had not called.  I did not see if the female was already off the nest or if they had scared her off.  But they obviously had concerned the loons enough that they moved out beyond the buoys.

But the fishermen were so intent on fishing that they did not even see me.  I did not yell because I did not want to upset the loons even more.

I started to walk down toward the lake and one of the fishermen looked up and gave me a 'friendly wave'.  I once again waved with both arms for them to leave the area.

He called out to me, "Yeah, we see them!" as he turned and pointed at the loons.  So he obviously knew that this was a loon nest, that loons were using it and that loons were there with a chick.  And yet that made no difference to them.  To them it was just a perfect place to catch a fish!

I am glad I didn't say what I was thinking!

I used the standard line that I have used for a while now and I said, "This is federally protected loon nesting area."

His response?

"Well you should have some signs up!"

"What do you think all the buoys and the raft are?"

"I dunno.  People put buoys out all the time!"

We have discussed signage in years past.  But have decided against it because unless the signs were as big as a freeway billboard, it would only draw people in closer so that "they could read the sign".

My replay to him as I once again motioned for them to move off to the side was, "WOW!  Wow!".  And I turned to walk away.

I got a kick out of a statement that someone else made on chat about the incident.  Some of you may have actually been watching and heard the conversation.  One of the viewers said, "You can't fix STUPID!  Even with duct tape!"

Well, what none of you could see on the camera as the fisherman and I were having our "conversation", is that the other fisherman in his boat caught a bass.  I would guess that the bass had to have maybe been 3 pounds.  A nice bass.

And he caught it right next to the nest during this whole "conversation"!

It pointed up the reality of what the chicks face.

The night before when the chick had been frantically swimming around the nest crying as the male loudly called from up on the nest, I sat and watch heartsick.  Wondering what if anything I could do.

My greatest fear was that I would see a big swirl of water and a 'swoosh' as our chick disappeared into the mouth of some big bass or northern.  

Fortunately that did not happen.  But my heart was in my throat for most of that time.  We have lost chicks before.  Probably to fish.

But seeing him catch that fish from right by the nest was once again confirmation that that fear and danger is very real.

Fish love to hide under docks and other "structure"  Waiting for some food to come their way.

And, like I have often said, a little loon chick is the perfect topwater lure!  Without hooks!!

This bass was hiding under the nest.  Waiting for a meal.  That meal could so easily could have been our little loon chick.

Many of you have watched on the cam as the adult loons have approached the nest.  And you have actually seen them swim right under the nest.  I think they do it for that very reason.  To make sure no big 'chick eating' fish are hiding under there waiting.

But for now, our little chick is well.  Thriving.  And staying safe as he rides on dad's back much of the time.

Dad's back gives him protection from fish below and eagles above.

It's a big scary world out there.

And little loons need to be careful!


Copyright 2015  Larry R Backlund