Website picture2
e-Newsletter Vol. 43
In This Issue
2015 Loon Census Results

Upcoming Events

What's that call?
Contact Us 
Stay Connected


Happy Fall!  It seems like forever since I've been in touch, but hopefully I can catch you up on the loon happenings over the last month or two.

For the 9th year, a team of intrepid swimmers led by Wendy Van de Poll swam the 7-mile length of Squam Lake to raise money for the Squam Lake Loon Initiative, to help reverse the declines of loons on the lake.
The triumphant end to the 2015 SWIM.  The 2015 team included (L to R): Wendy Van de Poll, Lisa Davy, John Eisner, Jen Marts, Mark Longley, Rick Van de Poll and Carol Zink.  Spotters Katie Hollier and Jeff Marts kayaked the entire way to provide extra support for the swimmers.

Also in mid-August, LPC volunteers enjoyed camaraderie, stories, and a preliminary report on the 2015 breeding season at potlucks in three different monitoring regions around the state. Thanks so much to everyone who came to these events. I know August is a busy time of year, but it's a good opportunity for us to thank our volunteers for their help over the course of the summer.  As I've said before, LPC would not be able to do our great work without the support of our volunteers and members.
Top: Volunteers enjoy a potluck dinner at the Shaker Museum in Enfield, NH.  Bottom: LPC Senior Biologist/Executive Director Harry Vogel presents preliminary end of season results to volunteers at the Mahanan Pavilion on Franklin Pierce Lake in Hillsborough.  Bottom photo courtesy of Frank Malinoski.

In the last e-newsletter, I told you about a sick loon that I captured on Little Lake Sunapee in early August.  A necropsy performed at Tufts Veterinary School confirmed a lead-headed jig in the loon's gizzard and body fluids tested very high for lead as well. Another lead-poisoned loon was collected just a few days later on Lake Winnepocket in Webster, NH, after ingesting a lead sinker and being attacked by another loon. A third adult, another suspected lead-poisoned loon, was collected on Crystal Lake in Gilmanton in mid-August.  We have received several other calls from concerned folks about unusual loon behavior, but many of them turned out to be preening or bathing loons.  In case you have not seen this behavior, we have photos and videos posted on our website (scroll to the bottom of the page for great bathing footage). 

The full 2015 season results will be available in our Fall newsletter, due out in late October.  Once again it looks like "our loons" had another successful year with a record number of nesting pairs and chicks hatched!  For the second year in a row, Winnipesaukee (aka The Big Lake) hatched more than 25 chicks, a good sign that intensive management by LPC staff and volunteers is paying off.  Two-thirds of the chicks hatched this year on Winni came from nest sites with a raft or sign.  We also had a few "firsts" this season including the first hatch on Lake Sunapee in at least 40 years, the first nest attempt on Kilton Pond, and the longest incubation on record of more than 83 days on Squam Lake.  

By now, you may have noticed that the adults are starting to turn a little grey at the base of their bills (although one loon on Lake Wicwas in Meredith is a little farther along). Most of the chicks (now juveniles) are as big as their parents and are spending more time on their own as the adults socialize and even visit nearby lakes.
Photo courtesy of Kittie Wilson.
Photo courtesy of Marge Thorpe.
Photo courtesy of John Rockwood.

In the upcoming weeks, more adults will leave their territories for good and head to the ocean where they will spend the winter. If there is a chick still present on the lake, one of the adults may stay with it until late fall or until the lake starts to freeze. Our colleagues at BRI are continuing their fall departure study so we will share any results with you when they are available.

There's still time to purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win one of four awesome prizes.  The drawing will be held at our Holiday Open House on Saturday, November 28.  

Fall is a great time to be on the water, as the hum of the motors starts to wane, the red & orange hues are reflected on the surface, and you may find yourself alone with the loons!  

Until next time,

Susie Burbidge
Outreach/Volunteer Coordinator
2015 Loon Census Results 

Four hundred fifty-seven loon watchers went out on a cool, misty morning to count loons on lakes & ponds around the state, contributing their one-hour tally on that day to the season-long count.  During the census hour, participants covered 121 of the 363 lakes that LPC surveyed this year: south from the Massachusetts border in Windham, east to the Maine border in Wakefield, west to the Vermont border in Orford and north to Clarksville (close to the Canadian border), and several locations in between!  
LPC volunteer Naomi Levesque counts loons during the annual loon census on Streeter Pond.  Photo courtesy of Leslie Bergum.
The census is a good opportunity to get family members, neighbors and friends interested and concerned about loons in NH and it is an event for people of all ages.  Our youngest participants came from Camp Deerwood on Squam Lake while other folks have been doing the census for more than 10 years in a row; in fact, one participant has been doing the census since the late 1970's!
Four adults were counted on Streeter Pond in Sugar Hill during the 2015 loon census.  Photo courtesy of Leslie Bergum.
Census observers detected over half of the adult loons counted in the season-long monitoring, and about a third of the chicks.  The one hour census snapshot--404 adults, 74 chicks & 3 immature loons--was lower than last year, but weather probably played a large part since rain showers, fog and the threat of thunderstorms kept some people inside on that Saturday morning.  
Thank you again to everyone who braved the weather!  

Save the date for the 2016 census on Saturday, July 16 from 8-9 am!

Celebrating 40 Years of Loon Preservation in New Hampshire!
The Loon Preservation Committee is dedicated to restoring and maintaining a healthy population of loons throughout New Hampshire; monitoring the health and productivity of loon populations as sentinels of environmental quality; and promoting a greater understanding of loons and the natural world.

Susie Burbidge
Loon Preservation Committee