Thursday, May 25, 2017 5:18 pm CDT

73 degrees F   Clear and Sunny  Wind 7 mph SE

Sunrise  5:33 am CDT   Sunset  8:44 pm CDT


What a beautiful day!

Sunshiine and calm winds have returned.  Our loons have needed the break.

There have been two minor eagle incidents today but neither one caused much disruption.

Early this morning while the female loon was on the nest, an eagle decided to perch close by in the neighbor's tree.  She did not like it.  Nor did the male who was further out in the lake and came in to call and scold the eagle.  As did the female on the nest.

I did not want to go down to the lake to look to see what was going on because the female loon is still very hesitant with anyone being visible to her.

But when she did not go into hangover when I came out of the house, I decided to see if she would tolerate me going down to the lake shore to see if I could see the eagle.  I was ready to go back in the house immediately if she showed any concern.

To my amazement, she looked at me but never lowered her head the whole time.

When I got down to the lake I could see the eagle sitting in the neighbor's tree.

I have been trying to get her used to me being around in very small doses.  Maybe it is finally beginning to work.  Or maybe the male told her that I am ok!  The male never seems concerned when I am around, even when I went IN the lake once to rake weeds that have washed up on shore.

I remember a number of years ago when I first started the LoonCam, I was amazed when it seemed that the loons actually knew who I was.  Back then I could be down in the front lawn when the loons were on the nest and they didn't care.  But if a visitor was with me, they would immediately go down into hangover.  I was beginning to question my sanity.

But when I spoke to an expert in waterfowl at a large university, he said that it could very well be possible.  He said that although he did not work with loons, he was convinced that some of the birds he was studying really did know who he was and tolerated him being around them.

The next few days look like there will be warmer temperatures and quite a bit of blue sky.  But there will be scattered showers for most days of the Memorial Day weekend here in the US.

There are a couple things you may want to watch for.

Especially if it is sunny, you will see the loon on the nest with its mouth open, like it is panting.

That is because it IS panting.  

Much like a dog, it is a way of getting rid of excess body heat.  Loons are much more comfortable and at home in cool or even cold water.  So to sit on the nest in the hot sun is a real sacrifice for them.

The other thing to watch for is black flies.

With the warmer temperatures, I would expect that the black flies will be more of a problem for our loons.  I have talked about them before so I won't go into all the details again other than to say it is a species of blood-sucking black flies (Simulium annulus) that targets loons and loon blood almost exclusively.

There have been numerous cases where the black flies have become so bad that the loons have actually abandoned their nests.

Hopefully it will not reach that stage with our loons.  But watch for very small gnat-like flies flying around the loon's head and landing on the loon's head.

There will be yet one more challenge for our loons this weekend - boats and people.

With this being Memorial Day weekend, it is the first big holiday of the summer.

So you can expect the lake to be very busy with skiers and jet skis and fishermen and boaters and swimmers.  

When you add all of that to the eagles and other challenges, let's hope that our loons also have a 'holiday' weekend!


Copyright 2017  Larry R Backlund