It was another week of very happy news and very sad news for the Squam loons. We'll start with the happy news: two more nests were initiated on Big Squam! One of these is a re-nest from the pair that previously lost their nest, so I am very much hoping that this one will be successful for them. The other nest is the first for a pair that I didn't expect to nest this year. The pair has a new female this year, and often loons do not nest the first year of a mate turnover. The nest on Little Squam and two of the other nests on Big Squam also continue to do very well.
The sad news is the loss of the first chick to hatch on Squam this year and the loss of one other nest on Big Squam. A chick hatched in Dog Cove over the weekend but disappeared almost immediately. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for loon chicks to disappear within the first 24 hours after hatching. If anyone saw or heard anything from Dog/Heron Cove this past weekend that might give an indication as to what may have happened to this chick, please let me know. Also, if anyone finds the body of the chick, please contact me and I will pick it up, although it is likely the chick was taken by a predator. Any information would be very much appreciated (including if someone heard the loons vocalizing a lot, etc.).
As for the loss of the other nest, it appears the loons were frightened from their nest and accidentally kicked their egg into the water in the process. Although it is unclear what caused the loon to flush off the nest, please remind all your lake neighbors and other lake users to keep a respectful distance from the "Loon Nesting Sanctuary" signs and ropelines around nests to avoid frightening the loons.
Although Squam's first chick of the year was lost, it is a reminder that
(hopefully) other chicks will be hatching soon! The Loon Preservation Committee and Squam Lakes Association are working together to re-start a Loon Chick Watch on the Squam Lakes. Squam Lake has experienced very low chick survival rates in recent years. We are asking volunteers to guard loon families for an hour or two on busy weekends to help protect them from collisions with speedboats and the stress associated with boats and canoes/kayaks approaching too closely. For more information, please visit http://www.squamlakes.org/news/become-loon-chick-watch-volunteer. We hope you'll join us to help protect the loon chicks of the Squam Lakes!
Thank you very much for your interest in the loons! For more information about loons and the work of LPC, please visit www.loon.org. Also, please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or reports, or to report an injured or dead loon.
Squam Lake Project Biologist
Loon Preservation Committee