Sunday, July 29, 2018 10:15 pm CDT

63 degrees F  Partly Cloudy  Wind 5 mph NW


Where does time go?  

We are already two thirds of the way through summer.  

Didn't it just begin yesterday?!

My apologies for not giving you any updates for a while.  But then there has not been much to update.

First of all let me tell you that the pair of loons that visited the nest a number of times is doing well.  They have remained in the area and on many days spend several hours just sitting in the general vicinity of where the nest was. 

There have been no chicks on the lake this year.

After the LoonCam was shut down, it took several days for me to do the work of pulling the nest in.  And during that time the loons never once even visited the nest, let alone got on the nest.  So that seems to confirm that it was the right time to pull the nest in.

The other two times that the loons did not use the nest were years when we had a change of mate like we did this year.

But they have still displayed interest in and even ownership of the area.  Several times they have come in and 'gently' ushered Canada geese away.

So hopefully we will see this pair once again next year with one 'small' difference.  Next year hopefully we will see beautiful 'small' loon chicks!

In a sign that summer is rapidly fading away, this pair of loons has several times peacefully spent time swimming with a third loon.  This happens more and more as loons even with young that are almost grown become less and less territorial.

Let me tell you about something else totally unrelated to our loons but may be of interest to many of you who love the wonders of nature.

I don't know what it is like where you are but I have seen more monarch butterflies this year than I have in several years.  Which is good news after they have had a couple hard years, especially on their trip north from their wintering grounds in Mexico.

Back in June I saw 3 monarch caterpillars but then lost track of them after a few days.  I was concerned that they may have been taken by birds.

So right after the 4th of July I decided to take a couple caterpillars in to protect them and hopefully have them become adult butterflies.  I have done this before but I have not done it the last couple years.

A few years ago when I was working with the technical people from BroadBand Minnesota, the president of the company saw what I was doing with monarchs and said to me "Maybe you should start a monarch butterfly cam!"

I told him that as interesting as it would be, that is the last thing I need is responsibility for another live webcam.

Now here is where the story builds.  I was planning to only take in only those couple caterpillars.

But then as I was gathering food to feed them, I would see another one.  And another.  And another.

So far i have about THIRTY caterpillars that I have brought in to raise!  And with each one I say 'that is the last one'!  But it is hard to see another one and not bring it in where it is safe and can become another monarch butterfly.

Two have "hatched" (I am not sure what the right term is for a butterfly emerging from a coccoon or chrysalis) in just the last couple days.  A third one will probably emerge tomorrow.

One went into chrysalis just a few minutes ago and another one is getting ready.  There are 13 others that are already in chrysalis.  And other 10 or 15 that are hungrily feeding on milkweed.  It is amazing how much milkweed this 'herd' of monarch caterpillars can eat every day.  I have to go out at least three times a day to gather milkweed for them to eat.

There will be at least one or two butterflies that will emerge every day for the next couple weeks.  And add to our population of beautiful monarch butterflies.

Let me leave you with this miracle or wonder of nature.  And I would like you to explain it to me.

I am doing this from memory so give me a little latitude if I don't have the times exactly right.

Monarch butterflies go through about 4 or 5 generations every year.  Each generation through the summer lives for just 2 to 5 weeks.  That is until the last generation of the summer, the one that will migrate down to Mexico.

THAT generation lives for 6 to 8 MONTHS.  Yes.  Not weeks but MONTHS!

The exact same butterfly.  The same species.  And most of them live for only a few weeks.

Until the 'magic' generation that lives for 6-8 months.

Explain that to me.

It is one of those things that to my finite mind defies explanation other than to call it a MIRACLE.  It is one of many things about which I simply shake my head and say "I don't know how you done it God, but God you done GOOD!"

So I wish you "loon lullabies" and "monarch memories"!


Copyright 2018  Larry R Backlund