Thursday, June 13, 2019 5:20 am CDT

44 degrees F Clear Wind NW 3 mph

Sunrise 5:24 am CDT Sunset 9:02 pm CDT

15 hours 38 minutes of daylight

The sun is just about ready to peek over the eastern horizon.

It is an unusually cool morning for the middle of June. But it promises to be a sunny and very pleasant day today. There is just a slight breeze from the northwest so there are a few gentle ‘wavelets’ on the lake. Unlike yesterday when there were waves all day long including times with white caps.

It took some searching with binoculars this morning but I finally spotted our loons not too far away among some weeds just a few minutes ago. I had almost given looking when I heard a single wail - almost as if the loons were saying, “Hey! Here we are. We are over here!”

I looked and looked and strained my eyes, but in the early morning light I could not see for sure if our Chick #2 was with them or not.

Yesterday with all the wind and waves it was almost impossible to spot them among the waves. The couple times I did see them, I could not make out whether the chick was with them or not.

Last evening, about 5:30 pm I was raking up some weeds along the shore with my back toward the lake. Suddenly I heard a single quiet wail that seemed very close.

I turned around and there were both our loons in fairly close, between the nest and the buoys. They were very calm and just floating there watching me. There was the single quiet wail but no other calls.

It was good to see that they still felt safe coming near the nest, especially with me there.

I had looked carefully for them before I went down to rake the weeds and I had not seen them anyplace. So I was surprised when they showed up almost immediately. Where they had been I don’t know. But obviously they had been watching and came in as soon as I was there.

My greatest concern with all the events of the last week and me having to go out to the nest twice to rescue both chicks was that they would no longer feel it was a safe and welcoming place to nest and have their chicks. And that the bond and trust that especially the male seemed to have in me would be damaged or broken.

But they seemed comfortable coming in very close.

Not wanting to push my luck, I immediately headed up to the house to give them space and peace. I have tried to stay out of sight for the last several days so that they could re-establish that this was a safe place for them.

When I got up to the house, I looked with the binoculars. They were already swimming back out into the lake.

I hate to ascribe things to them that can’t be proven. But it was almost as if they came in to just say “HI” and say that there were no hard feelings and that this was still a place where they felt safe and comfortable. It always is dangerous to ascribe feelings to them. But that is what it felt like.

In reality, it may just be that that is what I wanted to feel.

When they were in by the nest last night, I strained my eyes to see if I could see the chick. With the big waves it was hard to see. I am almost positive the chick was not swimming with them. But was he on the back of one of the adults?

I couldn’t tell as they bounced up and down in the waves.

One minute I would convince myself that indeed there was a “bump” on the back of one of the loons. And the next minute I was not sure at all.

It is the same thing this morning. One minute I was convinced there was a bump. The next minute I felt that it was just raised tail feathers.

So I wish I could tell you for sure that Chick #2 is still with them and is OK.

But it is still a question in my mind.

I will just have to keep looking and hoping.

I KNOW he was there and doing well on Monday evening at dusk. But that is the last time I can say I saw him for sure.

I WILL let you know if I see the chick or can confirm that he is still safe and with the parents.

Let me mention a couple ‘extraneous’ things.

People have mentioned several times that they were waiting and hoping for the irises to bloom on the nest.

With the unusually cool spring, all the plants and flowers are behind schedule.

But what you cannot see from the camera, is that one of the yellow irises HAS been blooming! It is off to the left and the stem is leaning out, just out of camera range.

Now here is the special part.

It started blooming last week on Friday, June 7th - the day the first chick hatched. How special is that? And it is still in bloom.

Another little bit of extraneous news is a message I got from my internet service provider on May 25th. They said I was well up into the TERABYTES of data usage. They did not threaten to cut off service for that high amount of data usage. Nor did they say anything other than to point out how much data I had used for the month of May. But I took it as somewhat of a ‘warning’ or yellow flag.

So for the last couple weeks I have been concerned that they might cut off service or throttle back on the speed that we can transmit the video to you. So far nothing has happened so I think we are safe. I am not sure I want to see the next bill though if they decide to add charges for high data usage.

But it is just a reminder of what it takes to send out a high definition video 24 hours a day.

So how much is a terabyte of data?

Many of us can remember back to the early days of the internet when we were on the cutting edge of first using email. I first used Hotmail in the early to mid-90s, long before Microsoft bought it. If I remember right, the amount of storage available was 2k. That is 2,000 bytes of data. A byte is 16 bits of data.

Then it went up to 2 megabytes and we could not believe how much data that was that was available to us to use!

So what is a TERABYTE?

One thousand kilobytes is a MEGAbyte. One thousand megabytes is GIGAbyte.

And one thousand gigabytes is a TERAbyte! Or about a TRILLION bytes of data! (2 to the 40th power!)

Those numbers are something that were almost incomprehensible when we started this LoonCam 16 years ago.

But it is just a reminder of how special it is that we are able to watch our loons in real time, 24 hours a day, in full color and motion and with sound. Something that would have been impossible not very many years ago.

It is good to stop and think about the wonders of all of it, especially the wonders of the loons themselves.

And how blessed we are. And how often in life we take so many of our blessings for granted.

Today, may YOU have a BLESSED day!

Copyright 2019 Larry R Backlund