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e-Newsletter Vol. 65
In This Issue
2017 Loon Census Results
Caught on Camera

Upcoming Events

Fish Lead Free
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Happy Fall!  I'm sorry I have not been in touch for a while, but I hope the rest of your summer was great!  Summer returned here in New Hampshire for a few days, but more seasonal temps are in store for the weekend.  It's hard to really enjoy apple picking when it's 85 degrees, unless you are apple picking in North Carolina which I had the privilege to do with my family last weekend!  
Since I last wrote, the results for the 2017 loon census have been compiled which you can see below.  We have also assisted with a few loon rescues, including one that I got to help with on August 22 on the lake where I live in western NH.  The tangled loon kept beaching itself, so with help from Jim Boehmer and his 7-year old daughter, Isabella, we were able to capture the loon, untangle it, and then release it back on the lake. 
A tangled loon beaches itself on Eastman Pond in Grantham, NH. Photo courtesy of Jim Boehmer. 
Unfortunately, a tangled loon on Mascoma Lake did not have the same fate as it was found dead on September 17.  LPC volunteers, Terri & Bud Lynch, and lake resident, Bill Beattie, were actually keeping an eye on two tangled loons on that lake, but whenever we attempted a rescue, they kept diving or vanished into thin air.  It is amazing how loons can go undetected when they do not want to be seen!  Dr. Mark Pokras of Tufts University did a necropsy of the Mascoma loon last week and found that fishing line entanglement was the cause of death for the emaciated loon.  This was the fifth dead loon in the last 7 years collected from Mascoma Lake; almost all of them died from human-related causes.    
This is one of two tangled loons on Mascoma Lake.  Sadly, one was found dead on September 17.  The other one was seen today (9/28), but continues to dive.  Photo courtesy of Bill Beattie. 
We had a packed house for our Annual Meeting on August 24. Thanks to everyone who came to the volunteer appreciation potluck beforehand too!  As I've said before, we would not be able to do all of our great work without the help of our volunteers, both in the field and at The Loon Center.  Hosting the potluck dinner(s) is just one way we can thank you for your help throughout the summer.   
LPC Board Chair Brian Reilly leads the Annual Meeting on August 24. 
Following the annual meeting, Harry Vogel presented preliminary results from this breeding season.  Overall it was not a very good year for New Hampshire loons.  We monitored 359 lakes throughout the state and counted a total of 288 territorial pairs.  We define a territorial pair as one that has established and defended a territory for at least 4 weeks.  Of the 288 pairs, 202 pairs actually nested (laid at least one egg) and 167 chicks hatched. Of the 167 hatched chicks, only 124 were surviving to mid-August.  Stay tuned for LPC's Fall Newsletter for many more details about the 2017 season. 
LPC's Benefit Raffle is still going on through our Holiday Open House on Saturday, November 25.  It's not too late to get your tickets for a chance to win one of three great prizes!  You can stop by The Loon Center to buy your tickets in person or you can purchase them by calling LPC at 603-476-LOON (5666).
Adult loons are starting to molt back into their greyish winter plumage.  The photos below, taken earlier this week, show how the timing of fall molt can vary between individual loons. The close-up also shows the difference in eye color between adult loons and juveniles.  The adult's eye will darken a little bit during the winter months, but it does remain red all year long. 
The adult pictured here is starting to molt back into its winter plumage.  Fall molt begins at the base of the bill, followed by the head & back.  Photo courtesy of Kittie Wilson. 
The adult in the photo above is not as far along in its molt, but you can see some grey feathers at the base of the bill which is also starting to fade in color.  Photo courtesy of Kittie Wilson. 
As loons start to head toward the ocean for the winter, you might see large groups together in staging areas.  As always, we like to hear when the loons have left your lake or if they are sticking around as the ice comes in!
Take care until next time,
2017 Loon Census Results

On Saturday, July 15, 485 volunteers went out on 118 lakes throughout New Hampshire to count loons between 8-9 am.  The day started off with a slight drizzle in some areas and dense fog in others, but that did not keep many people inside that morning.  We added a few new lakes to our census list this year and more than 30 new volunteers who had not participated in the census before!
A pair of loons is counted on Crystal Lake in Gilmanton during the loon census.  Photo courtesy of Mike Krebs. 

A total of 423 adults were tallied, 7 immature loons (1-2 year olds) and 47 loon chicks.  The chick count was a bit lower than in previous years, but some loon pairs were still on nests in mid-July.  In fact, 24 nests hatched after the census date--not a common occurrence here in NH.  The peak of chick hatching is usually around July 4, but this year high water early in the season most likely delayed nesting on some lakes and ponds.
Thanks again to everyone who participated this year.  Please save the date for the 2018 loon census on Saturday, July 21! 
Caught on Camera: 2017 Edition 
We have been using nest cameras over the last several years to learn more about nest attentiveness and about predation as well.  On Squam Lake, 4 nest cameras were installed near nest sites in 2017.  It's always interesting to review the footage at the end of the season to see what other animals have visited the nesting rafts, in addition to seeing the loons too. 
Above, a female wood duck hops up onto the camera support beam early one morning. A few days later, a male wood duck was seen standing on the nest bowl!
This looks like a good place to enjoy a salamander for breakfast!  About 30 minutes later, this heron was captured on camera stretching its wing.  Notice the second heron standing guard on the raft cover!
Uh-oh!  Those little beady eyes are trouble!  Raccoons are probably one of the top mammalian predators of loon eggs.  They take advantage of an empty nest (meaning no loon present) while combing the shoreline.
Nest cameras also capture pictures of our staff in the field!  Here is Squam Lake Biologist Tiffany Grade collecting an abandoned egg from a raft on Squam.
This is just a small sample of the pictures we have captured this year.  I will share a few more in the next e-newsletter--I know I get a kick out of seeing them!
Sadly, Squam Lake had one of the worst years ever with only 1 hatched chick on the entire lake.  To read an article from the Concord Monitor about the only chick, click here.  There was also another recent article in The Monitor about Squam's loons and pollution in the lake.  
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
Outreach/Volunteer Coordinator
Loon Preservation Committee