64 degrees F Clear Wind Calm
Sunrise 5:26 Sunset 8:56 pm CDT
Today has been another absolutely spectacular day here in Minnesota.
Blue skies, lots of sun and low humidity.
We are rapidly approaching our longest days of the year. And during these days we also experience something else that many of you in other parts of the country do not - a long period of twilight in the evening. Just a beautiful, peaceful time of the day.
A perfect summer day.
The one thing that would make it better is loons.
I still have not seen our loons since early Sunday morning when I told you about seeing them. But I have been gone so much that I have not had much time to look. And I have not had a chance to get out on the lake since they left the nest.
Yesterday I told you that I 'was not concerned at all' that I had not seen them. That they could be anyplace. And that is true that they could be anyplace. But the first part was a little bit of a white lie.
When it comes to the loons, it seems like I always get concerned.
And I didn't want to pass that concern on to you without knowing what I was talking about.
But I have to admit that my concern was starting to grow.
When I got home just before dark on Sunday night, I immediately went down to the lake to look for our loons. They weren't there! There were waves so I kept telling myself that they are out there someplace even though I expected them to be closer to the nest.
I am used to them remaining in the area of the nest for the first couple weeks. And then they gradually wander out further and further.
And they definitely were not in the area of the nest.
I thought back to Sunday morning when I had last seen them about 5 am. About an hour after that there had been NUMEROUS wails and even yodels from quite a distance away. I looked but I could not spot them I did not see an eagle but I figured that THEY had seen one in the area and did not like it.
So that started to concern me when they still were not around Sunday night at dusk.
Then Monday morning about 5:30 am I went down to look to see if I could spot our loons. NOTHING. Anywhere. I had fully expected to see them somewhere in the area of the nest. But they were not there nor could I see them with binoculars anywhere on the lake.
My concern grew. That is when I told you the white lie that I was not concerned at all!
I kept telling myself that they were just hiding in the bull rushes someplace where I could not see them. And that they were there and that they were OK. But I WANTED to see them to KNOW that was true.
So that is when I told you that I was "not concerned at all". I was starting to become concerned. Not an overwhelming concern but concerned none the less. I wanted to give you facts that I KNEW, not something I feared. And I did not want to concern you.
About 3:30 pm on Monday, I heard a loon yelling "EAGLE!" I know! It is silly but it really has gotten to the point where most times I can tell when they are calling about an eagle in the area as compared to some other call.
There was a SINGLE loon sitting just out beyond the buoys!
Was it one of our loons? There were two mature bald eagles circling overhead. And the loon did not like it.
I strained mightily to try to see chicks. My heart sank. I could not see any chicks. Just the loon concerned about the eagle. My concern went up another notch and my heart sank a little deeper.
Had all the calls I heard on Sunday morning actually been eagles targeting our chicks? I actually thought the unthinkable! Had the eagles actually TAKEN our chicks?
I wondered if they took them all the way over to where they had nested last year? But that was TOO far away with two tiny chicks.
My concern grew.
Early this morning, once again I went down to the lake with binoculars right at dawn.
NO sign of loons that I could see anywhere. My concern went up another notch. I started to think how do I tell YOU about this? What if our chicks are really gone? I didn't want to say ANYTHING until I was sure of something. But it was looking worse and worse.
The evenings and nights had been silent. No loons calling.
Later this morning I was talking to another resident of the lake about some business concerning the lake and maintaining its quality. After we took care of business, he asked me about the loons. I told him that I had not seen them since early Sunday morning but that they could be almost anyplace.
But then he said something I did NOT want to hear.
He had been around the entire lake on their pontoon on Sunday afternoon. They specifically were looking for loons. And they did not see ONE loon! Anywhere on the lake.
My heart really sank. And my concern went up a number of notches.
I was being forced to come to terms with what I did not want to come to terms with. Our loons were GONE!
Where? Why? HOW?
Once again my thoughts went to you. All of you who have watched and cared so deeply about our loons and those two cute new loon chicks!
How was I going to tell you that I think they are actually gone but I don't know how or when or where?
About 9:15 pm tonight, just after the sun had set I was raking weeds in the lake and we were in the long twilight hours, I heard a loon wailing.
Yes! Unmistakably it was a loon wailing.
I ran up to the house to get the binoculars. Another wail. And then another.
In the shadows of trees reflecting in the darkening light, I think I see a loon. But I can't be sure. I strain to see.
It IS a loon about a quarter of a mile away around the lake. But it definitely is a loon in those shadows and darkness.
Just then there is a YODEL a little further away. There is a MALE loon. Then tremolos and answering tremolos. Wails and answering wails.
I see a second loon, apparently the male, swimming toward the first loon that I had seen.
Oh how I wish they would come further out into the lake out of the dark shadows of the trees reflecting in the lake so that I could see them.
But they stay in the shadows.
Can it be?! CAN IT BE?!
I think I see a tiny little speck of black moving between the two adult loons!
CAN IT BE?!
I strain and look and squint. The more I look, the more I become sure that it is a little chick swimming between the two adults. I don't want to just think and I hope that it isn't wishful thinking.
The more I look, the more I am convinced it is a little CHICK!
It is OUR loons!
But is it just one chick? Or are there two?
Then I see another shadow that might be the second chick!
The more I look, the more I am convinced that BOTH loons and BOTH chicks are there!
I am still not FULLY convinced but I am more than 90% sure of what I have seen.
Now I want to see them in bright daylight to be absolutely sure!
But my heart soared.
Our loons were there!
Our chicks were there and seemingly active and healthy from what I could see.
So tonight is a good night!
A VERY good night!!
Copyright 2017 Larry R Backlund