Wednesday, May 8, 2019 11:45 pm CDT

30 degrees F Rain/Snow Wind 30mph


Yes, you read that right. Snow.

It has been hard to see on the LoonCam. But it is snowing and actually accumulating a little bit on some of the grassy areas.

Two and a half weeks ago when I said that Mother Nature was having a hard time deciding whether it was spring or not and I brought up the game of SIMON SAYS (partly in tribute to an amazing friend), little did I know that on May 8th we would possibly be dealing with snow!

But here we are. When will Mother Nature listen to us saying “SIMON SAYS”?!

There should not be much of any accumulation here tonight but it is supposed to continue snowing off and on throughout the night.

But there is a band of snow that is supposed to reach from the tip of the Arrowhead at the Canadian border all the way down to the Minnesota/Iowa/South Dakota border in southwestern Minnesota. Exactly where that band lines up will determine how much snow we get here at Loon Lake. I don’t expect much here. But some areas are predicted to get up to a FOOT of snow.

I don’t expect that it will affect our loons much. They are well equipped to put up with almost any kind of weather except a frozen lake. And we sure don’t need to worry about that. (I don’t think!)

The cold water and rain certainly won’t bother them. They are used to that and seem to prefer it over hot weather.

A few years ago we had some snow (or was it just a really heavy frost - I don’t remember for sure now) and in the morning the nest was all white and there was a narrow band around the loon sitting on the nest where there was no snow/frost because the loon’s body heat had melted it.

It seems like the visits to the nest and the matings seemed to have lessened over the last couple days. I kept telling myself that there was nothing to worry about. But I do sometimes (most of the time?) worry much more than I should.

This afternoon and evening, there were more visits to the nest and seemingly a little bit more of an urgency to build a nest bowl for the eggs. At times the male and the female seemed to be working at cross purposes. Building on different parts of the nesting platform. Or one of them digging a nest bowl and the other one filling it in.

But the added urgency is a good sign.

Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

If there continues to be more urgent nest building, that is a good sign that we may be getting close to the laying of the first egg. The second egg will usually follow about 2 or 3 days later.

A loon normally lays only 2 eggs. Since they are so large it takes a lot of energy to produce them. Once in a while they will lay only one egg. And rarely they might lay 3 eggs. But 2 eggs is the norm.

Historically it has always been said that it takes 28 to 30 days for a loon egg to hatch. But years of observation on the LoonCam have been changing that. Before the LoonCam, know one knew exactly when the eggs were laid nor did researchers know exactly when they hatched.

But with the LoonCam we have the ability to determine exactly when the egg was laid and to know within a few hours of when the chick hatches. And because of the ability that the LoonCam gives us to observe closely, we have seen that an egg can hatch in as few as 25.5 days.

What will happen this year?

There is no way of knowing in advance.

And that is part of the mystery and suspense of the LoonCam.

So we will just have to wait and watch. And learn.

Copyright 2019 Larry R Backlund