From Tiffany Grade, LPC Squam Lake Project Biologist
I hope you all had a good (albeit long!) winter and are now ready for another summer on Squam! I am thrilled to begin my seventh season monitoring the Squam loons for the Loon Preservation Committee (LPC), and I'm hoping they have a very safe and successful year!
Not surprisingly, we had a late ice out this year, right around 7pm April 23. Of course, the loons were back immediately! It is still too early to know exactly what the population on the lake will be this year, but it looks at this point like it will be approximately the same as last year.
After the long winter, the loons are ready for the summer to get going!
Several pairs are looking around at possible nest sites and hopefully will settle down soon. Unfortunately, there has already been a nest failure on Squam, which occurred in the course of less than a week. The loons chose a very unsafe spot and likely either figured out that it was not a safe location or were driven off by the many blackflies that I found swarming the nest. It is unfortunate to have such an early failure, but it is still early and I am hopeful that this pair will re-nest.
New Hampshire has already had its first lead-poisoned loon of the year--a banded male collected on Lake Wentworth. Please help us keep our Squam loons safe from lead fishing tackle and ask friends, neighbors, renters, and other lake users to use only non-lead fishing tackle. Non-lead, loon-safe fishing tackle can be purchased at The Loon Center, and a list of non-lead tackle suppliers can be found on the "Links" page of our website (www.loon.org).
I will be speaking about "The State of Squam's Loons" at the SLA Fisher Family Activity Barn this Wednesday (May 28th) at 7:00 PM. This will include an update on LPC's latest research into the challenges facing Squam's loons as part of our Squam Lake Loon Initiative. It will be followed by "Chick Watch" training, and we encourage everyone to participate! This is a wonderful opportunity to volunteer to help protect loons and educate lake users about the needs of the loons! We hope you'll join us in this effort!
Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions, reports, or concerns. Thank you for your interest in Squam's loons! Happy Summer!