Monday, July 6, 2015 11:26 am CDT

64 degrees F     Raining     Wind 8 mph N

Sunrise   5:31 am CDT   Sunset 9:03 pm  CDT


It is a cloudy, cool, rainy morning.

A grayish haze obscures the far shore of the lake.  A combination of rainy mist and 'fog' from the lake.  Waves roll in, occasionally accented by a white cap.  There is a misty, moody, mysterious calming effect about all of it.

Somewhere out there are our loons.  They are in their element.  And probably much more comfortable  than they were in the heat and humidity of the last few days.

Some pretty strong thunderstorms moved through in the middle of the night.  Fortunately we did not get any severe weather here.  Just a lot of rain.  Maybe a couple inches at least.  There were a couple places in the area that got an amazing 6 and 7 inches of rain.  But nothing like that here.

But there was a LOT of thunder and lightning!

The arrival of this rain should clear out some of the haze and humidity and heat and smoke that we have had for the last few days.  Yes, I said smoke!

We have had a lot of haze and spectacular sunsets and moonrises from forest fires all the way up in northern Saskatchewan!  The smoke has been heavy enough that the air in the northwestern part if Minnesota has been declared unhealthy.  It is hard to believe that the smoke has made it this far, but it has.

I have seen our loons numerous times over the last few days.

And the most important thing that you have been wondering about is - our chick is doing well!

He survived the VERY heavy boat traffic on the lake over the 4th of July weekend.

He has grown so much.

It is hard to judge size from a distance.  But I would guess that he is at least  10 inches long!

A far cry from the little guy we saw jump into the lake when he was only 2 hours old.

He still has his gray down rather than feathers.  And he is able to dive easily now, for up to 30 seconds at a time.  But he still relies on mom and dad to supply his meals.  And both of them have been doing a good job at keeping him well fed.

Eagles continue to be a matter of concern for our loons.  And they let it be known whenever an eagle is in the area.

 But so far our chick is safe from the eagles.  They have dove on the loons numerous times but they have not been able to take the chick.  And he is big enough now to be safe from big bass and northern pike although a snapping turtle could still do damage.

Many of you will recognize the name of Kevin Kenow from the USGS.  Kevin is the person who is the chief researcher on the loon studies that the USGS is doing.

Kevin will be giving a presentation this Wednesday evening at Itasca State Park here in Minnesota.  Itasca State Park is where the mighty Mississippi River begins its 2350 mile journey from Minnesota down to the Gulf of Mexico.

If you are in the area, I am sure you would be fascinated to attend Kevin's presentation and hear the results of some of the research that is being done with our loons.

If you have never checked out the USGS website that shows where the juvenile loons that were implanted with satellite transmitters last summer, you would find it very interesting.

So very little is known about the activities of juvenile loons.  We knew that they went down to the Gulf or the Atlantic coast.  And we thought that they stayed there for the first two or three years of their lives.

But with the knowledge from these satellite transmitters, everyone has been absolutely amazed by what we are seeing.

Three of the juvenile loons left the Gulf of Mexico in May and went up to the Maritime Provinces of Canada.

No one ever knew or suspected that they would do something like that.

It is known that loons from the Northeast feed on a very nutritious small fish up in that area.  But no one ever thought that juvenile loons from Minnesota would make the long trip up to the Maritimes, especially when they are still less than one year old.

How did they know?  Who told them about these fish?  How did they find their way?

Once again, the more we learn the more we realize how little we know and how many more questions there are to be answered.

You can view the latest map of the juvenile loon's locations at:

May you continue to enjoy your summer months.  And enjoy our loons.


Copyright 2015   Larry R Backlund