51 degrees F Partly Cloudy Wind 2 mph NE
Sunrise 5:40 am CDT Sunset 8:43 pm CDT
We wait patiently but there is not much indication that the loons are going to use the nest this year.
It was very encouraging when they got up on the nest the first morning after I had put it out and they mated that morning. That was less than 24 hours after the ice had gone out of the lake.
With the record late ice out date this year, it was always a question of what impact that would have on our loons. But they are very adaptive and it was good to see them on the littlest bit of open water even before the ice completely went out of the lake.
There have been numerous matings on the nest - all of which were also encouraging. Some people counted at least 11 matings.
But in spite of those matings, they have spent very little time in the area of the nest.
There are other loons on the lake this year and there have been many, many territorial battles going on as evidenced by the calls back and forth in the middle of the night.
One of the most concerning things this year is that apparently we have also had a change of mate. The female from the nest last year that we banded is the female that has been on the nest. But the male is unbanded. So we cannot be sure who he is.
Nor can we be sure of what happened to last year's male. Was it simply a mate change for some reason? Or did something happen to him over the winter or in either of the long migration flights that all loons must make?
All questions that we have no way of answering. We can only speculate.
In all the years of doing this, we have had only two years when the loons did not nest. Both of those occasions were when something had happened to one of the mates. The last time was when the male was sadly killed the summer before.
There have been reports from a couple people that they think there is a pair of loons possibly nesting very nearby. IF that is the case, then it is best that another pair does NOT nest on the LoonCam platform. With two pair of loons within sight of each other, there would be constant territorial battles and the probability that both nests would fail because of that.
So I think it is time to make the difficult decision.
In the next day or two I will pull the nest in for this year.
And this will be only the third time in the last 15 years that loons have not used the nest, laid eggs and had little loon chicks.
Even through this we learn the challenges that loons face day after day, year after year.
The good thing is that loons seem to be doing well and increasing. The sad part is that, for at least this year, we will not be able to watch them on the LoonCam.
But there is always NEXT YEAR!
Copyright 2018 Larry R Backlund