Wednesday, June 21, 2017 4:02 pm CDT

88 degrees  Sunny   Wind 3 mph S

5:26 am CDT    9:04 pm CDT

Summer is here!

Meteorological summer arrived about 11 pm last night.  And today is an absolutely wonderful relaxing summer day here in Minnesota.

The sun does not set until 9:04 pm for several nights this time of year.  And then the magical times of long twilight.

But what makes it even better is that the loons are swimming by out in front right now as I speak!

I have not seen them for the last 3 days.  And I have wondered how they are.

I have been gone so much again the last few days that I have not seen them nor had the time to look for them.  Two nights ago I heard them call from halfway around the lake.  When I went down to look I saw an eagle flying over that part of the lake.  But I could not see the loons.

So it is SO good to see them again right now.

The chicks have grown SO much.  They are now about half the length of the adult loons!  

They are hardly like the little chicks that we saw leave the nest two-and-a-half weeks ago.  They still have their down which has now turn to a dark brown.  They can now dive for short periods of time.  But they are still almost totally reliant on their parents to bring them food.

And that is what they are doing right now.  Both adults are busily bringing minnow after minnow to the chicks who eagerly gobble them up.

They look good.  They look healthy.  And they are very active.  

As the adults dive for minnows and fish (yes, by now they can eat small fish, not just minnows), they peer underwater to see what is going on down there.  I would also like to be able to be with them and peer down on the adults going after the fastest of little fish.

It is so gratifying to see them still not only surviving, but thriving.

Tomorrow night we are hoping to go out and capture the male to remove the data recorder that we put on his leg back in 2012.  It will be good to retrieve it and download the data to see where all he went after we banded him and put the data recorder on his leg.

It probably has not been recording anything for the last 3 years or so.  They are designed to record data for about a year.  But the experience has been that they have recorded data for 2 years.

So hopefully we will gain much more information about our loons in general and this loon in particular.  Where did he go after he left the lake here that fall?  When did he make the migration down to the Gulf?  Where did he spend the winter on the Gulf?  When did he come back in the spring?  How high and fast did he fly?  How deep did he dive?  Did he make the trip in one long phenomenal flight?  Or did he stop somewhere along the way.

So many questions.  And hopefully soon a few answers if we are able to capture him tomorrow night.  If we do, then begins the long task of analyzing all the data.

The chicks are still too young to be able to band them tomorrow night so that probably will not happen.   Whether Kevin feels like he should capture the female and band her tomorrow night is questionable.  We will have to wait and see.

So think of us tomorrow night.  In the darkest part of the night, probably sometime after midnight we will be out on the lake trying to find the loons, capture the male and retrieve the data recorder.

If we do, I will try to tell you what the data shows when I get a report on it.

But right now, everything feels right with the world.

And with our loons!


Copyright  2017    Larry R Backlund