Hot off the presses, from Eric

If you can help Eric by doing one of the needed lakes, please contact him directly.
We now have the help we need here on Dunmore this Saturday, thanks to all who offered. Mike

Begin forwarded message:

From: Vermont Center for Ecostudies <ehanson>
Date: July 16, 2013 11:11:53 AM EDT
To: korkuc
Subject: Vermont Loon Update
VCE Logo

Loonwatch is this Saturday, July 20th

There are still a few key lakes that need volunteers:

  • Bomoseen
  • Sunset (Benson)
  • Harriman Reservoir
  • Island
  • Wallace
  • Great Averill
  • Stiles

and possibly:

  • Mollys Falls
  • Ewell
  • Shadow (Concord)
  • Mollys
  • Norton
  • Osmore
  • Spring
  • Woodbury.

If you are interested in surveying one of these lakes or ponds, please contact me,, and I will confirm with you towards the end of the week.
All Loonwatch forms can be found on the VCE website.

Adult loon with chick
© Elinor Osborn

Record Nesting Year!

Volunteers and staff have documented a record 79 nest attempts so far this summer. This easily eclipses the previous record of 72 nest attempts in 2010!
To date, 47 pairs have nested successfully, while 12 were unsuccessful. Of these 12 failed nests, 4 may have failed because of the record rainfall, and another might have been abandoned after prolonged exposure to fireworks nearby. From the successful nests, 73 eggs have so far hatched, but 10 chicks disappeared early on, often after intruder loon activity.
Many nests were started late this year, likely because of water level changes and competition with other loons. We’re still waiting to see how these late nests fare.
There have been 5 first-time nests documented on Center Pond, Coits Pond, Green River Reservoir – Big Island, Miller Pond, and Neal Pond. Chicks have hatched out for the first time on Lake Elmore, Long Pond (Eden), and Metcalf Pond.

Bald Hill Pond Loon
Eric Hanson holds the Bald Pond loon after removing fishing line
©Maree Bushey


On July 11th, VCE Intern Lauren Schramm, volunteer Maree Bushey, and I caught and released an adult loon on Bald Hill Pond. The loon was reported to VLRP after it was seen entangled with fishing gear. I never have high expectations that we will be successful, but with a little luck, good lighting by Lauren, and a dive by me to the back of the boat with net outstretched, we were able to capture the bird and cut the loose fishing line free. The 3800-gram loon appeared very healthy overall. We hope that the ingested hook dissolves in its stomach acids and that the rest of the fishing material passes through. The bird is banded so we should be able to follow its progress.

We have been searching and chasing another loon entangled in fishing line on Green River Reservoir for over a month, but with no success yet.

Yankee Magazine Highlights VLRP

A few weeks ago, Craftsbury acquaintance and Yankee Magazine Blog writer Julia Shipley spent a morning with me. Here is her story.

Guides for Lakeshore Owners and Boaters

VLRP, in association with the Vermont Watershed Grant program and the Redducs Family Foundation, has published two brochures: Vermont’s Common Loon: A Guide for Lakeshore Owners and Vermont’s Common Loon: A Guide for Boaters. These educational materials are being displayed in self-serve boxes at most breeding lakes, as well as included in mailings to volunteers, contributors and partners. We are working closely with lake associations and volunteers to distribute the guides to lake shore owners. If you have received the brochures, please take a moment to read through them. They are full of helpful hints on how to live successfully with loons. If you have not received copies and would like them or know of someone who would be interested, please let me know.

Water Draw Down Intervention

After losing its first 2013 nest to flooding on Thurman W. Dix Reservoir near Barre, the pair re-nested at the southern end of the reservoir on the big island. I called the Barre Public Works, a VLRP partner, to let them know and learned they were planning to draw the water down 4-5 feet in the next 1-2 weeks to repair Hurricane Irene damage to the dam. This would likely have left the new nest stranded, so we decided to try to move it onto a raft in two stages. First, Mike and I placed the raft next to shore and lifted the nest bowl onto the platform along with a lot of extra plant material and muck. Later that afternoon, the loon was observed happily incubating the eggs on the raft. So far, so good.

Thurman Dix Loon on raft
Adult loon on nest raft
©Cindy Grimes

A week later, VLRP intern Lauren Schramm and I moved the cement blocks further out to place the raft in deeper, safer water. Within 30 minutes, the loon was back on the raft sitting on the eggs. Again, so far, so good. By July 8th, two chicks hatched out. Success! With all the rain, the raft actually prevented the nest from flooding a second time and the draw down issue was averted.

Thank you volunteers and supporters. As always, the continued amazing success of Vermont’s loon population could not happen without you.

Eric Hanson
VLRP Director

Metcalf loon with chicks
Metcalf Pond loon with chicks
©Mike Crepau
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VCE is a private, non-profit group of research biologists
dedicated to uniting citizens and science for conservation.
Vermont Center for Ecostudies | PO Box 420 | Norwich, VT 05055
Copyright © 2013 Vermont Center for Ecostudies. All Rights Reserved.
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