85 degrees F Sunny Wind S 12 mph
Sunrise 5:25 am CDT Sunset 8:59 pm CDT
15 hours and 34 minutes of daylight
The last 24 hours have been a roller coaster ride worthy of the best amusement park!
Where do I even start to describe all that has happened in the last day?
So much to say. So much to describe. So much to remember.
For now let me try to summarize it a little bit and then maybe another time go into more detail about it.
The good news - the VERY good news - is that have had two healthy active loon chicks hatch on the LoonCam.
Also good news is that the second chick to hatch is healthy, active and impossibly cute is doing well. Even now as I write this he is swimming with both parents just out beyond the buoys around the loon nest. They are actively feeding him and letting him ride on their backs periodically.
What a wonderful heartwarming sight that is.
The not-quite-so-good news is the first chick to hatch, the one that hatched early yesterday morning, still is no where to be found.
Several times as I have watched them, I hopefully think to myself, “Is that a lump on the parent’s back?” But then the loon dives and there is no chick left on the surface of the water. And reality hits once again that we apparently did actually lose a chick.
We know he had been around all day yesterday. We saw him. We heard him. We marveled at him. Our hearts melted over him.
Then in the evening, the parents took him quite far out into the lake, which somewhat surprised me that they went so far with him.
After all, they did have a second egg on the nest to take care of
Just as it was getting dark, the male loon returned to the nest with Chick #1 riding on his back. He was still there. He was still safe. He was still adorable.
But when the adult male loon jumped up on the nest, predictably the chick tumbled backwards off the adult’s back. And try as hard as he could, he could not get up on the nest. He frantically swam around and around the nest. His plaintive little ‘peeping’ tearing at your heart strings.
He had found the chick ramp earlier in the day but never could figure out how to make the trek up to the nest.
But at least sitting on the chick ramp, he would be somewhat safe.
Throughout the evening you could hear the peeping.
I hoped that the sound of his cries or the call of the male would bring the female loon back to the nest to take care of him.
But no such luck. One adult. One egg. And one little vulnerable chick.
I tried to figure out what I could do to help him, and no answer was practical or doable.
I had only gotten a few hours sleep the night before. So I finally felt I needed to turn it off and go to bed. Hard to do, but probably necessary.
Early this morning I turned on the computer hoping against hope to see the little chick either with the male on the nest or the female in the water.
I could still hear his little cries. But no matter how much I looked and imagined I was seeing him, I did not see him. I heard him. But I could not see him.
Was he trapped somewhere on the nest? How long could he last? What would happen to him if I did nothing? I usually try to maintain a ‘hands off’ approach and let the loons and the nest be completely ‘natural’ and not interfere with them,. But could I live with myself if I COULD have done something and did not do it?
I was heartsick. I almost felt the kind of frantic feeling that the chick must have been feeling.
(to be continued)
Copyright 2019 Larry R Backlund