60 degrees F Cloudy & Misty Wind Calm
Sunrise 5:27 am CDT Sunset 8:56 pm CDT
A misty moody haze hangs over the lake.
Not rain. Not quite mist. Nor even a fog.
I don't know how to describe it other than that. Just a moody haze that hangs in the air.
The surface of the lake is calm. Just a few ripples. No wind. No waves.
My heart sank when I first looked down at the lake and the nest.
I had at least expected to see a loon swimming near the nest.
Only an empty nest. I have to assume that it was empty all night once again. But neither of the loons nor the chick in sight!
Had something happened overnight to our chick? I didn't want to even think of the possibilities.
And since the LoonCam is still down because of the lightning strike yesterday afternoon, I could not turn to the cam for a closer view. I strained my eyes and looked through the binoculars but I could not find our loons.
Now some of my view of the lake is blocked by trees along the shore. They HAD to be off to the side. DIDN'T they?!
So I walked down to the lake through the long heavy dew-laden grass that needs mowing so badly. Watching all the way.
No, there are no loons in sight.
I call. But no answer.
My heart sinks even more.
I keep telling myself that the loon must be on the other side of the nest. A view now hidden from my sight by the plants growing on the nest. And I cannot go to the camera and look. It is only the frozen picture of our female sitting in the rain yesterday when the lightning too our the LoonCam.
But I look and I look and I cannot a loon anywhere. The Sweet Rocket and the daisies are still blooming amid the mist.
But no loon.
I scan the lake with the binoculars. No loon!
I have this knot in my stomach wondering what has happened to our loons overnight. And especially our chick.
Then I see a loon far off in the distance through the haze.
Is that our male with the chick?
The loon dives. And there is no chick left on the surface of the water.
No! It CAN'T be that we have lost our chick overnight! Can it?!
I don't dare let the thought linger in my mind for fear that it might actually become real!
I look at the nest once again. I see a dark bump. My mind plays tricks on me trying to convince myself that it is the head of a loon right up against the far side of the nest. But I know I must be imagining it.
The other loon that I saw far away has now come closer but is still quite a ways out in the lake. But it is definitely swimming this way. But it can't have the chick. Because when it dove, there was no chick left on the surface of the water.
But as it comes closer, it calls a couple times. Two wails.
I look at the nest again. I don't see the dark lump that I had tried to convince myself was the head of one of our loons. Hopefully the loon with the chick. Could it be? Or are my eyes and my mind just playing wishful tricks on me.
Then a loon actually does come around the corner of the nest!
It WAS a loon back there! And it looks like there is a bump on its back under its wings!
Could it be? I hope but I don't dare let my hope run too far yet. The other loon continues to swim this way and once again wails a morning greeting. Yes. There is movement on the back and the head of a little loon pokes out from under the wing and looks around to see whose morning alarm clock is sounding a wail.
As the other loon continues to come closer, I can now see that it has a little minnow that it is carrying in its beak. It must be our female. Mom bringing breakfast.
She swims up to the mate and the little loon struggles from under the wing. Now he is fully sitting on top of the adult's back. My how he looks like he has grown! She holds out the minnow to him and he eagerly scarfs it down.
In the matter of half a minute a world of despair has changed.
All is well with the world.
Right now the three loons are swimming together. Or should I say that two loons are swimming. One is riding his royal coach and being fed.
But indeed, after a long dark night, once again all is right with the world!
Copyright 2015 Larry R Backlund