There sure was a lot of debate about when the second egg was actually laid, and until we have a chance to review taped footage, we won't know for sure. I believe that it happened sometime late Saturday, June 10, or early Sunday, June 11. We'll try to confirm this at a later date.
Many of you expressed concern about how much time the loons spend off the nest. This is quite common in the early days of incubation, and sometimes even quite late in the incubation period (approximately 27 days). I've been monitoring loons for 10 years, and I've witnessed pairs that seemed to be off the nest more than on, and miraculously, they still hatched young. Quite something!
For those hoping to catch the loons switching incubation duties, the best time to observe is 6-9 am & 5-8 pm. If this pair stays in their usual cycle, the female will be on nest at night, and the male during the day. In past years, they have been quite routine in this behavior pattern. We believe that this is a typical routine with common loons, as males roam the territory during darkness, and often can be heard yodeling as part of their territorial defense behavior.
Unfortunately, the spider web is a nuisance we've had to deal with every year. I guess the perfect circle provided by the camera lens is too good to pass up. The lens does have a wiper to clean it, but the web is made on the outer, protective housing, some inches away. If anyone knows of some method that might prevent the spiders from building the web, we'd love to hear about it.
In the coming weeks leading up to anticipated hatching the week of July 3, you can expect to see the loons on the nest more than off, frequently turning the eggs, and switching incubation duties per the approximate schedule discussed earlier. Along with their diligence, the chicks developing inside of those shells will need good fortune and luck, as is always the case with nature and living things. Aren't we lucky to have such an intimate chance to observe wildlife in all it's glory, without disturbing their natural breeding behavior.
Enjoy, and have a great weekend!
BioDiversity Research Institute