SEPT 23,2004


2004 LOON REPORT FOR THE POND (GROTON)


 

OUR NESTING PAIR ARRIVED RIGHT ON SCHEDULE THIS SPRING. A DAY AFTER THE ICE WAS OUT, THE LARGE RESIDENT MALE "KONG" WAS OBSERVED ON THE WATER, TWO DAYS LATER HIS MATE, "KIZZY" ARRIVED.


 

WE HAD THE ARTIFICAL NESTING PLATFORM READY FOR THEM. (LOON BIOLOGIST ERIC HANSON AND MYSELF BY MAY 3RD). THEY NESTED THE LAST WEEK OF MAY. THE EGGS HATCHED THE THIRD WEEK OF JUNE. THIS COULDN'T BE BETTER TIMING. IT ALLOWS THE CHICKS TO HAVE A COUPLE OF WEEKS TO GET SETTLED BEFORE THE 4TH OF JULY BOAT TRAFFIC!


 

THE CHICKS WERE NAMED S'MORE AND OREO. ONE APPEARS TO BE A MALE AND THE SMALLER A FEMALE.


 

I OBSERVED THE LOONS FOR MANY HOURS OVER THE COURSE OF THE SUMMER. AS IT TURNS OUT THAT MEANS I AM ALSO WATCHING BOATERS AND WATERCRAFT ACTIVITIES, INTERACTIONS BETWEEN BOATERS AND THE LOON FAMILY. IT WAS A STRESSFUL SUMMER FOR THE LOONS.

 

I WITNESSED MANY TERRITORIAL BATTLES, BETWEEN RESIDENT LOONS AND INTRUDER LOONS. THE BATTLES SEEMED OFTEN VERY SERIOUS AND LIFE THREATENING, FOR THE ADULTS, AS WELL AS THE TWO CHICKS. HOWEVER OUR PAIR ENDURED, PROTECTED THEIR YOUNG AND HELD STRONG.


 

ALTHOUGH THE BOAT TRAFFIC SEEMED LESS ON DAYS DUE TO THE RAIN, AND BAD WEATHER, BOATERS MADE UP FOR THAT ON NICE WARM SUNNY DAYS, BOAT TRAFFIC WAS THEN HEAVY.


 

THE LOON FAMILY HAD NUMEROUS NEAR MISSES BY HIGH POWERED SPEED CRAFTS. IT IS DIFFICULT TO BELIEVE THAT SOMEONE DRIVING AT A HIGH RATE OF SPEED WOULD BE ABLE TO SEE ANYTHING SMALL FLOATING IN THE WATER IN FRONT OF THEM.


 

MANY TIMES AFTER DARK I HEARD BOATS RUNNING WITHOUT LIGHTS AND COMING IN CLOSE CONTACT WITH THE LOONS, DETERMINED BY THE STRESS CALLS AND CLOSE PROXIMITY OF THE BOATER.

 

THERE CONTINUES TO BE PROBLEMS WITH VISITORS, RENTERS OR FOLKS NOT FAMILIAR WITH LOONS. ITS BEEN MY EXPERIENCE THAT OFTEN TIMES WHEN I INTERCEPT HARRASSMENT, (FOLKS WANTING TO GET A CLOSER LOOK, CAMERA IN HAND, DOGGING THE STRESSED LOONS),THEY TELL ME THEY DIDN'T KNOW, DIDN'T SEE ANY SIGNS OR POSTERS AND THIS IS THE FIRST THEY HAVE HEARD ABOUT LOONS AND STRESS.

 

I CONTINUE TO MAKE A PLEA TO PEOPLE WHO RENT OUT THEIR COTTAGES TO MAKE THEIR RENTERS AWARE THAT THEY NEED TO GIVE THE LOONS A WIDE BERTH, AND TO PLEASE SLOW DOWN IF THE BIRDS ARE NEARBY. WHEN FOLKS ARE FISHING, USE NON LEAD SINKERS AND PULL THEIR LINES IN IF LOONS ARE FEEDING CLOSEBY UNTIL THEY MOVE OUT OF THE CASTING AREA. IF ANYONE HAS LEAD SINKERS, YOU MAY EXCHANGE FOR NON LEAD, AT THE STATE PARK OFFICE OR WITH ME.


 

I VOLUNTEER MANY HOURS TENDING THE LOONS. SOMEONE HAS TO WATCH OVER THEM AND I'VE MORE THAN ONCE PREVENTED HARASSAMENT AND STRESS RELATED SITUATIONS. I APPRECIATE ALL THE PHONE CALL AND INTEREST THAT I HAVE GOTTEN FROM EVERYONE.

 

I WILL CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LOONS RIGHT UP TO LATE NOVEMBER.

THE LITTLE ONES ARE LEARNING TO FLY AND EATING ON THEIR OWN

NOW. THE ADULTS ARE STILL AROUND TILL LATE OCTOBER, EARLY NOVEMBER. THE LITTLE ONES WILL LEAVE  AS LATE AS DECEMBER.

 

OUR BEST HOPE IS THAT THEY WILL HAVE SAFE FLIGHT, GOOD WINTER FEEDING GROUNDS AND RETURN AGAIN IN THE SPRING.

 

I SINCERELY BELIEVE THAT MOST FOLKS ENJOY THE LOONS AND HAVE THEIR BEST INTEREST AT HEART. NOW THAT OUR FAMILY OF LOONS HAVE BEEN HERE FOR FIVE YEARS, IT WOULD BE HARD TO IMAGINE LAKE LIFE WITHOUT THEM. THE SILENCE WOULD LEAVE A VOID THAT COULD NOT BE FILLED BY ANY OTHER CREATURE. WHAT A JOY TO STILL HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF WILDERNESS ON SUCH A POPULATED BODY OF WATER.

 

SINCERELY,

DARLENE SPRAGUE

VLRP VOLUNTEER

LAKE GROTON