Saturday, May 27, 2017 5:35 am CDT

49 degrees F   Clear Wind Calm

Sunrise  5:31 am CDT   Sunset  8:50 pm CDT


The first rays of the sun have painted the morning sky with hues of pink and gold.

Soon they will also gild the plants and the loon on the nest.

It is once again a spectacular morning on loon lake.

The lake is like a sheet of glass.  There is not a hint of a breeze and the trees around the lake are mirrored perfectly in its surface.

And our loons have just made a picture perfect changing of the guard 5 minutes ago.  The female left the nest to swim out to the male who was swimming in towards the nest.  After they compared notes in preparation for the hand-off of duties, the male loon swam into the nest, got up on the nest, turned the eggs and carefully settled down on them.

Geese are honking in the distance over something that has their attention.  You can hear a belted kingfisher call as he flies by.  Crows caw.

But for the male loon on the nest, all is well.  He is ever alert and watching for any danger.

The female has gone out further into the lake for a well-deserved break, a chance to stretch and a chance to catch her breakfast.  She has put in some unusually long times on the nest in the last couple days.  She deserves a break.

It is hard to imagine or even comprehend what is going on inside those eggs!

The miracle of LIFE itself. 

Something from nothing.  Something so wondrous it is beyond belief.

Even if I could create the life that is developing inside those eggs, I wouldn't know where to start.  I don't have the 'recipe' or the ability or expertise.

But thankfully Someone does!

For now we can only watch and wonder.

I would expect the eggs to hatch somewhere between Thursday, June 1st and Monday, June 5th.

But then what do I know?!  Like you, I am only an observer and a watcher.  I am in control of nothing.

The LoonCam has added to our knowledge of incubation times of loon eggs.

Historically it was always thought that it took 28 days to hatch a loon egg.  Some sources from years ago even said 30 or 32 days.

But then they never had the opportunity to watch loons as closely as you are able to with the LoonCam.  With the live camera, you have observed the laying of an egg down to the MINUTE.  And also with the live camera, we can 'see' the hatching of the egg to within a couple hours or less.

The miracle of hatching usually takes place out of sight UNDER the loon.  But by the loon's twitches as movements we can be pretty sure of when it is happening.  No one has ever had that kind of precise up-close information available to them before the LoonCam.

In over 10 years of the LoonCam being online, we have lowered the hatching of loon eggs to as low as 25 1/2 days!  And we continue to learn new things with every 'loon season'.  And you are a big part of that learning.

With the long-anticipated return of some sunshine today, temperatures will probably return to a more seasonable temperature of the low 70s.  This afternoon watch for the shadow of the camera to pass over the nest.  Some of you have asked what the different parts of the shadow are.

Through the years, many viewers have had different names for the shadow - ET, the Alien, etc.

When you see the shadow, the lower half is the supporting beam or tube that supports the camera.  The camera is surprisingly large and heavy so it needs very substantial support to support it safely during storms  As then nest bounces on the waves, the camera is whipped back and forth.  And that bottom column of the shadow is the support for the camera.

Then the center part of the shadow, the big rectangular part, is the camera itself (and its housing).  The housing protects the camera, the microphone and other electronics from the elements.  It is essentially a 'sealed' system to protect it from rain and snow and hail and wind.

Then the part that some people have wondered about especially is another part of the shadow that is smaller and sticks up on top of the camera.

That is the infrared light and its stand.

The infrared light is invisible to the loons, so it does not disturb them at all, but it allows us to see them clearly in even the darkest night.

So now you know a little bit more about the camera and what that "ET shadow" is!

Yesterday we started to see an increase in activity on the lake as people began their Memorial Day weekend activities.

Today there will probably be even more activity on the lake with the forecast of nice weather for today.  Rain is predicted to move in for Sunday and Monday but right now it looks like it will be only scattered showers with some chance of thunderstorms.

But with today being predicted for the sunniest day of the long Memorial Day weekend, many people will try to go 'up to the lake' today.

And that means that our loons will be alert and well aware of the increased activity.  By far most boaters are very respectful of not getting too close to the nest.  But many of them also understandably want to see 'our' loons.  They will slow down and look and point and watch through binoculars.

The male loon is much more at ease and tolerant of them.  The female will often go into hangover position as they approach.  But hopefully boats and people will keep enough distance so that the loons do not leave the nest.

If you or your family or friends will be out on a lake this weekend, encourage them to be aware of the possibility of nesting loons.  If they see a nest, the natural reaction of everyone is to get up close to it so they can see it better.

One or two people doing that won't have too much of an impact, even if the loon leaves the nest.

But if one person does it and then another and another and another, too much time off the nest by the loons can cause the nest to fail.  No one person is responsible for that failure.  But the combination of many people disturbing the loons can cause a nest to fail.

So as a faithful LoonCam watcher and loon lover, you can help to educate your family and friends about loons and 'loon etiquette'.  I usually say if you stay 300 feet away from a loon nest and watch them through binoculars, you will probably have little effect or impact on them.  If you get much closer than that, that is when the trouble starts.

So enjoy watching our loon family today.  And start to anticipate the MIRACLE of the hatching in the next week!  Share that miracle with your kids and grandkids and neighbors.

May you have a wonderful and blessed Memorial Day weekend.

And remember the reason for  Memorial Day as we honor  our service men and women who have given so much to keep us free.

And some who have given ALL!

God Bless You!


Copyright 2017    Larry R Backlund