Loon Update - July 31, 2013
This week brings the possibility of another chick on Big Squam! The last nest on the lake is expected to hatch this week, so I have my fingers crossed for this pair. This is a second nesting attempt for them, which accounts for the late hatch date. I have gotten a number of questions about whether the chick will have time to grow up and be able to leave the lake in time--fortunately, we are still within the time frame that this will not be a problem. If the expected hatch were a few weeks later, I would be concerned; but, as it is, the chick should be fine on that point.
Sadly, we did lose one of the chicks on Big Squam this past week.
Although I am not certain what caused its death, it appears the territory was taken over by another loon; and, as often happens in these situations, the chick was likely killed by the intruding loon. This leaves only one surviving chick on Big Squam and the remaining nest.
On a much happier note, the Little Squam chicks continue to grow and do very well. The adults have been very busy feeding the chicks crayfish, and the results are plain to see in the size of the chicks!
Given how very few chicks we have on the lake, we need to do everything we can to protect the survivors. Please ask your neighbors and other lake users to watch carefully for loon chicks on Little Squam and the area on Big Squam marked with orange "Caution: Loon Chick" signs while boating and to stay at least 100 ft away from the family. If you are able, I hope you will consider volunteering for Loon Chick Watch to help educate lake users about the needs of the loons and protect the chicks from the close approach of boaters and boat collisions. If you are interested, please contact Jennifer Mattrick at the SLA (jennifermattrick_at_squamlakes.org
Don't forget that this Friday, Aug. 2nd, is The Swim, in which Wendy Van de Poll and her team of Swimmers cross the 7-mile length of Squam to raise money and awareness for LPC's Squam Lake Loon Initiative (SLLI). The purpose of the SLLI is to increase monitoring, management, research, and outreach on Squam Lake to protect the Lake's loons and to understand the causes of recent population declines. Please come to the Sandwich Town Beach at 11:30 on Aug. 2nd to welcome the Swimmers back on land and to celebrate their achievement. LPC thanks local businesses for donating food and drinks for the celebration! To support the SLLI and The Swim, please go to http://www.loon.org/donation-form.php and check the box for The Swim. Thank you to Wendy and The Swimmers for their tremendous efforts to help Squam's loons!
Squam Lake Project Biologist
Loon Preservation Committee