Squam Lake Loon Report June 15th - by Tiffany Grade with The Loon Preservation Committee
Squam's loon pairs continue to be busily going on nests--we gained four more nests on Squam Lake this past week!! The other nesting pairs continue to do very well, so at this point we have 1 nesting pair on Little Squam and 6 nesting pairs on Big Squam. This is a *very* good start for Squam, and I am hopeful that it will continue!
If you are looking for something fun, educational, and loony to do with guests visiting you at the lake this summer, you might consider going on Loon Cruise! For the last seven years, LPC has been partnering with the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center to offer trips on the lake focused on seeing and learning about loons. Trips go out in the Science Center's comfy pontoon boats with one of their naturalists, and I am on board to narrate the trip and take guests to the best spots to see loons on Squam Loon cruises are Monday and Friday afternoons at 3:00 from now through August 28th. For more information, please visit: http://www.nhnature.org/programs/loon_cruise.php.
"Meet the Loons of Squam."
As always, please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions, reports, or concerns, and please let me know if you see a sick,
injured, or dead loon.
Long Point/Sandwich Bay
This week we're going all the way down to Sandwich Bay to visit the pair there. The
current pair has been together since 2011 when they produced one
chick--the first to hatch from this territory since 1995! This territory
had a few years of excellent productivity in the early 1990's but has
generally been only sporadically productive over the years. The male of
the current pair was originally banded in the Yard Islands in 2008 as the
mate of the very spirited Yard Islands female that we met last year. They
were together in 2008 and 2009, but he was driven out of the territory by
another male and was unpaired in 2010. During that year, he spent his
time on the fringes of the Yard Islands and Long Point/Sandwich territory.
By 2011, he was paired up and the pair produced a chick. The pair
remained together in 2012 and 2013 but, much to my disappointment, did not
have another nesting attempt in those years.
In 2013, the female was caught up in the struggles and evictions of female
loons that rolled across the lake that year. Two other females (one of
them the newly-evicted Yards female) intruded on the Long Point territory,
and she was ultimately driven out by an unbanded female. Late that
summer, the male was under the weather and left the territory. I spent
several weeks watching him with considerable concern, ready to attempt a
rescue if necessary, but he ultimately rallied and recovered from whatever
was ailing him.
All this destabilized the territory and, in 2014, the male spent the early
part of the summer sitting by the nest island, waiting rather forlornly
for a female to pair up with. When his mate from 2011-2013 finally showed
up rather late, they did not form a pair bond. An unbanded female was
also present in the territory, but all three kept to themselves and we
were without a pair in the territory last year. Needless to say, I was
thrilled when both loons returned (promptly!) this year and paired up.
Hopefully they will attempt another nest this year!