40 degrees F Clear Wind Calm
Sunrise 5:47 am CDT Sunset 8:31 pm CDT
We wait patiently for the first egg from our loons.
There have been many visits to the nest. And many many matings. But still no eggs.
I am a little bit surprised but at this point not to the point of great concern at all.
Just in the last day or two there have been signs of increasing nest building activity.
It was interesting to watch the loons as one of them would start to build a nice nest bowl and the other one would come and completely “rearrange” (aka effectively destroy) it by sitting in a different spot and throwing material into the bowl the other one had formed. And thereby filling it up again.
Yesterday afternoon I was very encouraged as the male made a very nice bowl. Then surprisingly he sat on the nest in that bowl for an hour-and-a-half. If I had not known better, just from the looks of him sitting there I would have sworn that there was already an egg on the nest. But it didn’t take long for that bowl to be destroyed as well a little bit later.
This afternoon I had to go out to the nest to replace the chick ramp. The chick ramp had been torn loose by the high winds and waves over the last few days and I found it washed up on shore. I wanted to replace it before the loons actually laid an egg because at that point there is no way I would go near the nest. As many of you ‘old timers’ know, I never go near the nest except in the most dire circumstances.
I watched for some time and when I could not see the loons anywhere within eyesight, I ventured out to the nest. I tried to work carefully but quickly to reattach the chick ramp.
Just as I was finishing, I thought I heard a slight splash. I didn’t see anything so I thought a fish has splashed.
But then both loons surfaced between the nest and the buoys!
Somehow someway from somewhere far out on the lake they had spotted me at the nest. And they immediately came to see what was going on and to protect the nest if necessary.
I slowly started backing away from the nest to make my way toward shore.
The female started swimming back out into the lake.
But the male kept swimming toward me. He did not seem upset at all. But he definitely was looking directly at me.
I kept slowly backing away as he kept swimming toward me. I ‘talked’ to him with some gentle wails and hoots and mews.
While he showed no aggressiveness at all, I knew that if he came after me he could do great damage with that sharp beak.
When he was about 15 feet away he dove. I could see he was still coming my way underwater. My concern went up slightly as I knew that he could attack underwater as well as on top of the water. Or even better underwater.
I kept backing up toward shore. He kept coming. He didn’t seem overly excited nor upset. But he was still coming at me.
When he got about 3 feet away from me (still underwater), he made a wide sweeping turn and started swimming away from me. He surfaced near the nest.
As i continued to back up toward shore he swam near the nest and continued to watch me until I had reached the shore and left.
I did not feel any aggression from him. But also I knew that he was very clearly telling me that it was his nest, not mine!
While I was attaching the chick ramp, I also was looking at everything else with the nest to make sure everything was ok.
I was surprised how nice and how deep the nest bowl was!
It is probably the best nest bowl that I have ever seen in all the years of doing the LoonCam. I just hope it survives and that they use it.
It was deep. And plush. And almost perfectly centered. It almost looked like a perfectly formed volcano with a deep crater in the middle of it. If it survives it will be one of the better nests I have seen.
It is hard to really comprehend how large and how deep it is by looking at it on the camera. The camera wipes out some of the depth perception.
But at sunset tonight the low angle of the sunlight gave a better idea of the depth perception and showed how good the bowl actually is.
Will tomorrow be the day that eggs are laid? Let’s hope so.
I do have a slight concern in that when there has been a change of mates the loons will sometimes not nest that year. And we have had “a change of mates” with the previous male coming back after an absence of a year.
But let’s not think that right now. It is a possibility. But let’s hope that our loons will once again nest this year and that we see those beautiful little loon chicks!
And let’s think positive thoughts about having eggs in the next few days.
Copyright 2019 Larry R. Backlund