Wednesday, July 23, 2008

News from County Line Lake (Sawyer Co)

This message was sent to LoonWatch from Cathy Gagliardi:

It is with great sadness to bring you this update, as our nesting pair of Loons have abandoned their 2 eggs. Something must have totally spooked her as she left the nest and never went back.
Our neighbors were at our cabin over the 4th (while we were in CO) and told us they saw both Loons out in front of our cabin on Sunday (6th) and then last Thurs (10th) when I arrived, I saw both of them too.
Friday morning, there were 3 Loons out front and we had a feeling something was clearly wrong so we ventured back into her bay on Sat. - sure enough, there lay 2 completely intact eggs but hot to the touch and they stunk badly. I can imagine being exposed to the elements for that long had some serious affects.

With our lake down, she had gotten so creative with her nest and constructed a mud platform on one of the bogs in the back bay. The edges of the nest were higher than the bowl so her eggs could never roll out and she was surrounded by water and weeds. If the time-table was correct for incubating (around 28 days) those eggs were due to hatch this past week so all she had to do was stay for a couple more days but something must have happened.

The timid loons don’t easily tolerate close disturbances from curious onlookers in boats and canoes, and a Loon frightened from its nest exposes the eggs to predators that constantly watch for opportunity, or exposes the eggs to the baking hot sun. However, if frightened too many times (or so badly) they will abandon their nest so this is very disheartening that this could be exactly what happened. If she was spooked by some form of wildlife I suspect I would have found egg shells or no eggs at all.
The "Stay Back" sign was put in place and I believe all of us have been so diligent about not disturbing her but this might be a good reminder to be sure to let our guests & children know this too. Post a sign on your fridge or somewhere...but we need to get this word out during nesting season. The Loons give their tremolo call when stressed or scared, so if it's not a soaring Eagle that they are stressed about, it most likely is us humans.

On a good note, while back in the Loon bay, I observed a pair of Sandhill Cranes....WOW, they are huge and I believe this is a first-time-ever for this specie to pick our lake for nesting. I did not see any chicks although I was sure hoping there might be one or two in between them when I took a few pictures but when I downloaded them and zoomed in, all I see is Ma & Pa.

I regret taking down the "Stay Back" Loon sign now, due to this specie being as skittish as our Loons - so please everyone, let's all stay back from that Loon/Sandhill bay and hopefully our Cranes will have a successful nest.

I hope this finds all of you well and I'll post some pics on our website soon.

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