Wednesday, May 17, 2017 5:41 am CDT

59 degrees F  Cloudy Light Rain  Wind Calm

Sunrise  5:41 am CDT    Sunset  8:39 pm CDT


It is a quiet, misty, moody morning on Loon Lake this morning.

Officially the sun has just come up but we cannot see it because of the clouds and  light rain.

There had been prediction for more severe thunderstorms and heavy rain overnight.  But fortunately those storms did not hit here and all we have had are some occasional light rain showers that come and go.

Our loon has even been getting some much needed sleep as it tucked its beak under its wing.  But even then it was ever vigilant with its eyes opening regularly to be aware of what was going on around it.

But now all the other birds and nature are beginning to wake up to a new day as well.

It is hard to believe that we are already over a week into the incubation of the eggs since they were laid last week.  So much has happened in that time.

I always stand back in awe when I stop to think what might be happening inside that egg.  The miracle of LIFE from 'nothingness'.  Most of the time it is something so far beyond my comprehension and ability to understand.  A wonder to behold.

To think that in just 4 short weeks we can go from the egg yolk and egg white that we make our morning omelets with to a beautiful downy black loon chick!  How do you even begin to comprehend that?  Much less explain it.

Or even more impossible DO it?  But someone does it.  Someone so far beyond our abilities and skills.

And so we wait for the climax of that wonderful miracle.

The commonly accepted time frame for hatching of loon eggs has always been 28 days.  But the LoonCam has so greatly added to our knowledge and our ability to actually observe the loons close up.  Researchers always had to sort of guess at when the egg was actually laid and when the chick hatched.

But a number of years ago we were the first to ever capture the actual laying of a loon egg on video.  Now because of the LoonCam, watching loons lay their eggs has become almost 'old hat' to you.  It is still exciting but most of you have seen several times.

For many years, this LoonCam was the ONLY way that any of us had a chance to watch loons 'up close and personal'.  But in just the last couple years several other people, with varying degrees of success have also been trying to do loon cams.

And because of our ability to closely monitor the loons, we have known exactly when the egg was laid and we know within hours of when the loon chick hatches.  With that new knowledge we have been changing the commonly accepted wisdom of what is known about loons and we have consistently seen hatching take place in less than the 'traditional' 28 days!

In the next few days I will give you my best guess of when we might see the hatching of the eggs.  But that is a ways off yet so it can wait for now.  

Let me point out one of the little 'wonders' that you can watch for over the next few days.

Yesterday we were up near 90 degrees here on Loon Lake.  But in the next few days, high temperatures are only going to be in the 50s.  It will be more comfortable for our loons and you will not see them panting as much while they are on the nest.

But watch for something else.

A loon normally has its wingtips cross and make an "X" over the top of its tail - on top of its body.

But during cool weather on the nest, watch to see what they do when they settle down on the eggs.

They will lower their wings along their sides.  They will cross the wing tips.  But they will cross them and then lower their tail on TOP of the wingtips!

By doing this, they create a 'sealed' warm space underneath their bodies where drafts and cold air cannot infiltrate.  A little 'hermetically' sealed incubation space if you will with just the perfect temperature and humidity for our developing eggs.

And then in spite of cold winds and rain, there is a perfect space with all the right conditions no matter what the weather.  Sealed against all the dangers and onslaughts around it.

Such a small detail but such a profound part of making sure that everything is just right for our chicks to develop.

It is so easy to miss those small details.  But when we stop and look and think about it, we begin to realize how much wonder there is in even the small details of this marvelous creation that we are blessed to be a part of!


Copyright  2017  Larry R Backlund