2016 LAKE GROTON LOON REPORT

The Lake has 5 Adult loons plus several visiting Loons throughout the summer months.

Of the five, lake Groton has one lone loon and two pairsEach pair has established their territory on the North and South ends of the lake

The north pair nested on an artificial nesting platform and produced one chick July 7th of this year. The South end pair which has nested naturally (without a platform) did not nest this year. They were under constant stress. by continued harassment of2 t eagles that have takenup residence on the lake since spring and single adult loons who challenging them throughout the summer for territorial rights.

Both pairs of loons kept and maintained their territory, but many interactions occurred on both the South and north ends of the Lake occur regularly.

In August, the 6week old chick was left unattended by its parents and was attacked by a large male loon who injured it badly. By some miracle the chick was able to escape and makes its way to the nearby shorewhere it hide under an overhanging bushesThis was an amazing feat in itselfThe attacking loon had the ability and the opportunity to kill it. What happened next is also amazing.

Nearby residences, Paula and Jim house, Dave and Nancy Spencer and Kit Johnston, witnessed this event that played out before their eyes. They sprang into action and took measures to protect the chick from furtherattempted attacks by standing guard and keeping the attacker at bay while the chick hid on the shoreline, dazed and wounded.Darlene Sprague, Loon Volunteer was called by Dave Spencer and responded quickly to recover the injured chick which was netted and crated .with assistance of Paula House and Dave spencer. I contacted our local Fish and Wildlife Warden Mark Schitchel, who in turn transported the injured loon into the hands of The Vermont Institute of Natural Sciencein Vermont.

VINS kept the chick for a few days before it was transported to a rehab and recovery center out of state, where it was examined. At that time It was reported then that it had a fracture left wingandseveral puncture wounds to the head and body.it was not 100 percent water proof which also was life threatening.. It was then transported to a Loon rehab facility in Maine and New Hampshire.

At this facility, it was found upon further examination, that the chick has lost circulation on one of its wing tips, which was also of concern. The fractured wing was put in a wrap and placed the bird was placed in a above ground pool specifically designed with filtration systems to accommodate its needs.

It began swimming but was still not eating on its own and had to be fed manually. There remained concerns about the wingtip and dead tissue. Over time the young Loon chick gained strength and began to catch live fish in the recovery pool and swam vigorously acting like a wild loon, calling out occasionally.

The wing and puncture wounds slowly healedThere still was some concerns with issues to the wing.InOctober the rehab center felt it was ready to be released back into the wild. At this time the chick was only 3 months old. It still needed time to learn to fly whether it could or not would be unknown. It was released on the coastline in a bay that could provide it with ample food and open water year round. Itwas unable to be leg banned.Under normal conditions loons return to their natal lake in a few years†† In this case it would be Lake Groton.Perhaps it will return. Thatís what we would like to believe and that we will one day see it again on Vermont waters.

A wonderful job was done with observations, capture, rehab, recovery and release.This little bird has made a long journey in its young life, thanks to the caring and kindness of many people from Lake Groton to the Shores of New Hampshire and Maine.

Sincerely,

Darlene Sprague

Volunteer

Vermont Loon Conservation Program

Lake Groton Vermont