Round Lake Success

The Round Lake loon pair finally had a successful nesting in 2017 and hatched 2 chicks in early July (a very late nest, to be sure). The video here was taken within a day of hatching. One chick was lost some time later, but the other survived the nesting season and fledged in the fall. Thanks to all the volunteers and residents for looking out for this loon family.

Round Lake Loon Family (at last)

When I arrived at Round Lake this morning I saw (and filmed) 2 tiny loon chicks with their parents. Newly hatched, and cruising the south end with their very devoted parents. Thanks to everyone who contributed information on this nesting and placed nesting rafts and buoys.  Finally, the 4-year curse has ended and we have a loon family once again. See the 1-minute video below…
The next several weeks will be a very opportune time to view the adults to see if any of them are the ones we banded in 2010 and 2012. Let me know if you see bands, what colors on which leg, and so on… All loons banded are banded on both legs. Loons banded as juveniles have the standard silver on the left leg, while loons banded as adults have silver on the right. All also have a color band on the opposite leg, and some another color band with the silver. If you see a loon with a white band on the left leg, it’s the female geotagged in 2010.
Our long-term goal (short-term, if possible) is to have nesting loons on all three viable lakes in this chain: Round, Crooked, and Pickerel. With the new territory established on Crooked in 2014, we have achieved 2 out of 3. Two rafts are placed on Crooked (one which is used by nesting loons) and two on Pickerel (neither which has so far been occupied). If anyone knows people on these lakes that want to get involved, please let me know. Thanks.

One Chick For Crooked Lake

Crooked Lake Egg

And one unhatched egg left behind. Given that this loon pair didn’t nest at all last season, this is great news to have one chick doing well. Thanks to Beth Stewart for maintaining the rafts in two coves.

 

Dance of the Sandhill Crane

The next presentation of the film The Dance of the Sandhill Crane will take place Saturday, March 25 at Woldumar Nature Center in Lansing. The film will be shown at noon, followed by questions and discussion (and perhaps a few short films), time permitting. Visit the Woldumar website for more information and directions. Hope to see you there!

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Sandhill Crane Film Presentation

crane-and-chick Wednesday, Sept 14, at 6pm, my 45-minute film, The Dance of the Sandhill Crane, will be shown at the Cheboygan Public Library for the Straits Area Audubon Society chapter. This new film follows one sandhill crane family through the nesting season, and informs viewers where the population stands today, after coming back from extremely low numbers in the 1940s. I will take questions about cranes, loons, or anything related after the film. DVDs of the film are available for purchase for $15.

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PCLA Meeting

pcla logoLee Anne and I attended the August meeting of the Pickerel-Crooked Lakes Association held at the Inland Water Route Historical Museum in Alanson Saturday morning. I shared a brief account of our breeding loon restoration plan for the Round, Crooked, and Pickerel lakes chain, specifically the installation of new nesting rafts in strategic locations around the lakes to replace nesting sites lost or developed in the past.

Sticking around for the rest of the meeting, I was especially impressed with how this group encouraged their member lake residents to develop greenbelt zones along their lakeshores, which reduce erosion, filter runoff into the lake, and discourage loitering geese. Learning stuff like this is one of the many benefits to joining PCLA, making the nominal membership fee more than worth the money.

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The Uncommon Loon Film Presentation

 My film, The Uncommon Loon, will be shown in its entirety at the U of M Biological Station Sunday, August 7, at 7:30 PM. This locally made film features one family of common loons on Round Lake near Petoskey, and includes much of the flora and fauna that inhabit or visit the marsh in the […]

Pickerel Crooked Lakes Association’s Generous Donation

pcla logoI just want to take a moment to thank the PCLA Board for voting to give Looncorps a very generous donation in summer 2016. We are continuing to make efforts to establish a viable breeding loon population in the Round, Crooked, Pickerel Lakes chain, and hope eventually to have several breeding loon pairs on these lakes. I believe Crooked alone can support three pairs, Pickerel perhaps two pairs, and Round has an outside chance for two.

Currently, Crooked Lake has a solid breeding pair (though nesting wasn’t successful this season as it was in 2015). Two additional rafts have been out here in the last couple years, but have not been used so far. Pickerel had a male die on the nest in 2015, though I’m not sure if that was a nesting loon, or that he boarded the raft because of the stress of the aspergillosis he was afflicted with. Pickerel has two nesting rafts waiting for a breeding pair. Round Lake has suffered a 4-year hiatus in nesting ever since the nesting loons were ejected from their nest in 2013 by intruding loon(s). We’re still waiting for them to sort out who will own the territory. Making multiple nesting sites available on these lakes is important because the young that migrate from here will return some day seeking a territory, and we hope they will select one on or adjacent to the lake they hatched from. 05#-Crooked Lk Loons-5x7

So, thank you PCLA for your very generous donation, and be assured it will go to establish nesting and further the nesting success of loons on the two lakes. This very beneficial group operates from the funds generated by its members. Click here to join this organization.

New Round Lake Pair?

Loon Rd Raft 2012Three years ago, several Round Lake residents reported a flurry of loon activity; blood-curdling calls, etc… lasting much of the night, a day or two before the loon eggs were scheduled to hatch. Sure enough, the next morning, the sitting loons were off the nest, having left the two unhatched eggs behind. It would seem a serious fight had taken place during the night. Since then, loons had returned to Round Lake, but none had attempted to nest. Round Lake appeared to be in breeding purgatory: where ownership of the territory was in transition. We all wondered whether any of the loons, once they began nesting again, would consist of either of the former pair. The female had been banded in 2010, the male in 2012, along with all chicks from those nesting seasons.

Well, it seems that neither of those previously tagged loons claim any ownership of the Round Lake territory. Damon McCormick from Common Coast visited the lake in mid-April, observed a loon pair, one of which was a yodeling male, and remained on the site long enough to tell neither wore any leg bands. We’ll know, of course, for sure once these or any loons take up nesting there. But from this observation, it would seem Round Lake has a brand new territorial loon pair. Ron Pool placed the nesting raft last week, so we’re hopeful nesting is in the works this season.

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Joe and Chris and a banded Round Lake female

New Nest Raft Look

IMG_0325In early April Ron and Lori Pool and I build three new loon nesting rafts for breeding lakes throughout Northwest Michigan, one for a Grand Traverse County lake, one near Charlevoix, and one for Thumb Lake. Rafts this season are lighter, using schedule 30 rather than the heavier schedule 40, have a pleasant aqua color, and have a foam center with a foil backing, which should prevent flaking. We did the prep work for 2 additional rafts, which was a good thing because I took an order for another lake near Traverse since IMG_20160409_122909124 we’d finished. Thanks to Ron and Lori for their time and donation of materials, and to their landscaping business, Northern Greenlawn North, for the heated garage we used.

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