Where’s Mom?

We would normally have expected Mom to return to the nest sometime in the morning to greet her chicks and possibly take over nest duties for a while before the entire family headed out to the open water, where loons belong, and start raising the chicks. When noon came along and still no Mom, we were a little surprised, but this female is known for her long rest breaks. And we remembered that last year she left Dad to tend the new chick for the entire day.
By the late afternoon we were concerned enough to have the Lakes Region biologist go do a search of the small lake. No Mom on the water or along the shore. By this time Dad had given up waiting on the nest and took the chicks out to the middle of the nest cove. Two healthy, rambunctious chicks and just Dad to keep an eye on them. He managed to scrounge up some tasty morsels but the cove isn’t the best foraging area for chick chow.
As darkness fell, Dad took the loons back to the nest, which is pretty much unheard of for NH loons. Once the chicks are swimming well, they normally head to the open water for good. I think Dad made the right decision. With two chicks less than two days old and only one guardian, it’s probably best to stay hidden in the bushes. 
It is now 10 pm and still no Mom. It’s possible that she got stuck on another lake while visiting. There’s a gibbous moon with 71% illumination tonight so maybe she could fly back in the dark. But is she alright? Can she fly at all? We don’t know. Perhaps we’ll know tomorrow.