55 degrees F Thunderstorms Wind E 7 mph
Sunrise 6:11 am CDT Sunset 8:11 pm CDT
Thunderstorms are moving through the area right now.
Lightning. Thunder. Rain.
Rain which we need. It has been so dry for the last few weeks.
Minnesota is not like many states out West where rain showers are few and far between and where you can go for months with no rain. Rain every week is what keeps Minnesota so green. And what keeps our 10,000 Lakes in good shape.
So when we go several weeks without rain in the spring and summer, that is a long time for us to go without rain.
The rain is also good for the loons and for the plants growing on the loon nest.
Yesterday I planted a purple pansy in memory of Prince who so tragically passed away a couple days ago.
Normally I have had "natural" plants on the nest. Plants that occur naturally in a loon's habitat.
The irises that I have planted on the nest are reminiscent of the fleur-de-lis that the French voyageurs would plant at portages in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area which preserves the old fur trade routes of the Voyageurs several hundred years ago. Some of those fleur-de-lis still grow in the Boundary Waters.
On Wednesday night I decided to get some yellow pansies to plant on the nest to give some visual interest to a "gray" nest. And to give you something to watch while we wait for our loons to decide if they are going to use the nest or not.
Then came the tragic news Thursday morning of Prince's death which seems to have caught the attention and touched the heart strings of the world. Normally I do not comment on things other than loons here on the LoonCam. But for some reason after I had planted the yellow pansies it just seemed fitting to plant a 'purple one' as well.
So I went to the local nursery yesterday and got a purple pansy which now joins the yellow ones on the nest, as well as the other plants that are slowly starting to grow.
But I digress.
We are here for LOONS, aren't we?
For those of you who are new or have not followed closely what has happened, let me quickly summarize.
The LoonCam loon nest has been used by loons every year (but one) for well over 10 years.
And we have had phenomenal success with eggs being laid and chicks hatching.
Normally loons use the same nest that they used the year before. Especially if the nest has been successful.
But last summer tragedy struck as the male from the LoonCam pair of loons washed up on a neighbors shoreline, dead!
We still do not know for sure what killed him.
So that has thrown everything into question for this year's nest.
Will the female from last year come back with a new mate? Will a new pair of loons take over the nest? Or will the nest go unused this year?
All of those things are very real possibilities for this year.
There is still a good chance that loons will use the nest this year. It is still early in the season. If they have not gotten serious about nesting in the next couple weeks, then there is reason for concern as to whether they will use the nest this year. But for now there is still great hope that loons will once again use this nest this year.
The good news?
Within the past hour, a pair of loons swam very close to the nest. The did not try to get up on the nest but they were clearly aware of it and interested in it.
This is pretty typical behavior of loons, especially loons searching for a new nesting area.
They will check it out numerous times over a period of time. Seemingly just to see what the area is like and what goes on around it.
Then when they are ready to get serious, things can happen fairly quickly. They will be up on the nest repeatedly and minor nest building all of a sudden becomes serious and the next thing we know they have laid eggs and settled in for the long haul of incubation.
The fact that this pair of loons is aware of the nest and have checked it out several times is encouraging
Will they eventually use the nest?
I can't answer.
Only the loons know the answer to that question.
But we are privileged to have this intimate look into their world. To observe them so closely. To see things that few people have ever had the privilege to see. To observe their behavior 'up close and personal' without ever disturbing them or changing their natural behavior.
What a privilege that is!
And share it with your family and friends.
Questions or comments? Email us at LoonCam at yahoo dot com. Because of the volume of email I will not be able to respond personally to each email. But I will eventually read every one and for recurring questions I will try to answer them here in this blog.
Copyright 2016 Larry R Backlund