It’s been another tremendous year loon-wise.
Seven new pairs attempted nesting with five producing chicks:
- Caspian Lake
- Lake Raponda – far southern VT near Wilmington
- Chittenden – 2nd pair
- Goshen Dam (Sugar Hill Reservoir) in Ripton
- Lake Fairlee – chicks hatched in early August
Two pairs experienced failed nests:
- Curtis Pond
- Lake Iroquois
Two new territories were established and nests were built, but we’re not sure if eggs were ever laid:
- Great Hosmer Pond -north
- Lake Parker
We also had a report of another loon nest on Knapp Brook Pond that we’ll watch very closely in 2017. Unbelievably, we’re at 91 confirmed nests so far, but still waiting on some Loonwatch surveys to learn about possible nests on several remote lakes. Chick numbers are pretty similar to last year’s even with the bump up from 2016’s total of 87 nests.
Here are some notices and other information for you.
Nest warning sign volunteers: Please make sure your signs are off the water by now. If you need help, please contact me. Store signs in such a way that wood bases are mostly off the ground tilted on cement blocks, etc.
Final chick survival surveys: Please check on your chicks during the last 2 weeks of August and let me know what you find. Chicks sometimes become much more independent and harder to locate in September.
Volunteer hours form: If you had several hours of volunteering or more, please take a few minutes to fill out the volunteer form and mail to me, PO Box 22, Craftsbury, VT 05826. The address on the original form I sent out did not have my PO Box #, so please take note. Thanks.
VCE enews: Watch eNews for a fascinating look at the Lake Fairlee nest through a remote camera that takes a photo every 10 seconds, including a moonlit shot of a Great Blue Heron keeping the nesting loon company for the night. We also share some insights on how hyrdro-electric companies and other groups that maintain dams have helped nesting loons.
VCE intern, Amber Wolf ,and seasonal biologist, Grace Mitchum, helped build and swap out dozens of loon nest warning signs along with moving a raft to a new location on Chittenden Reservoir in hopes of helping the new pair avoid being flooded out in future years. That pair was lucky this year to have a natural nest succeed.
Thanks to all the Loonwatch volunteers who headed out on July 16. We’ll be assembling those results over the next several weeks and will share them with you in the next VLCP update.
Enjoy the rest of the summer.
All the best,
Eric Hanson Loon Biologist
Vermont Loon Conservation Project
Vermont Center for Ecostudies