The Loons are once again trying to nest on Clary Lake. This year’s nest is located in more or less the traditional loon nesting location, in the cove over by the floating bog on the north shore, just east of the outlet. The loons haven’t faired too well in recent years and I truly hope they succeed this time around. The last time they successfully hatched some eggs was back in 2008. We’ve documented numerous failed nesting attempts since then, and severe variations in water level has been the primary cause of nest failure. Last year, their eggs turned out not to be fertile.
Typically the male and female loons build the nest together over the course of a about week in late May or early June and lay eggs shortly thereafter. Gestation is 28 to 30 days. Since they can only walk on land with great difficulty, they try to build their nest just a few inches above the water surface to facilitate getting on an off it. I don’t know when they started sitting on this latest nest, but it appears to be a good 8″ to 10″ above the water surface indicating the lake may have already fallen as much as 5″ or 6″ since being built. Therefore I’d guestimate they started sitting on the nest around the 1st of June, give or take a few days. With a lot of luck, we might see babies somewhere around the end of June. This however depends on the lake level staying relatively stable for the rest of this month. It is currently falling about 3/4″ per day, and it won’t take long to strand the nest at that rate.
The lake level is currently -38″ below the high water mark and falling. I challenge Mr. Kelley to shut the dam’s gate to maintain the current water level for the next month to give the nesting loons a chance to raise a family.
Here are a few more pictures of the loon nest. This year’s nest isn’t as conveniently located and easily photographed as last year’s nest was. I will however grab a tripod and my long lens and try to get some better pictures in a few days.
I will get over in the next couple of days and set out our floating “Loon Nesting” signs. Please respect the loon’s privacy and do not venture nearby the nest. Please. Give them a WIDE berth, at least 300 feet. They’re going to have a hard enough time as it is hatching their eggs without being driven off the nest by curious boaters. Thank you.