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Loon Observation Project Update

28 Jan 2023 7:30 AM | Jerremy Jones (Administrator)

Hello LSC, we wanted to give you an update on the Loon Observation Project that we launched in mid-September.

A quick recap on the project:

We've been working with Eric Hanson from the Vermont Center for Ecostudies and Scott MacLachlan to come up with a form to log and record data about the loons visiting LSC. We are hoping that their increased visits to LSC will lead to a nesting pair!

If you attended the LSCA's Annual Meeting in July, Eric gave a fantastic presentation about loons. If you missed that, you can see his presentation here: https://youtu.be/iUrY1PqirzU. Scott also gave a great presentation on loons, arranged by the Rutland County Audubon Society, at the Poultney Public Library at the end of July.

The number of loons observed on LSC has been increasing over the past few years, as has the excitement and interest of the lake community. 

So, we've set up a form for you to be able to record your observations of loons on the lake!

The form asks your name, email address (optional), the date of the observation, the location where the loons were observed, the number of loons, and a space to record if you saw a 'sub-adult' loon, and a description of what you observed.

Since the forms went live, we've received 24 observation reports. Thank you to everyone who submitted a report!

Here are some stats.

For numbers of loons observed per report:

  • (1) = 11
  • (2) = 10
  • (3) = 2
  • (4) = 1

For the locations, half of the observations (12 in total) took place in areas 18 - 22. 8 more observations took place in areas 10 - 13. See the map before for reference:

Lake St. Catherine loon map

Here are a few examples of some interesting observations:

"It was insane on the lake this morning. I was already awake at around 5:45 when I heard loud wailing. At first I thought it was owls because it was still pretty dark out, but then I looked outside and saw three loons right off the end of the dock "screaming" at an eagle and stretching out of the water and flapping their wings. They were very angry at the eagle. I started to walk down the lawn for a closer view and I startled a heron that was standing on our dock (or rather the heron startled me). Once the heron was gone the loons quieted down somewhat."

Another observer reported:

"While kayaking, heard the loons - they were being very vocal. I then saw them take flight, flying north, also being very vocal. A few minutes later, they flew back south to end up where they started. Appeared to be 2 black & white adults."

And another eagle related report:

"An eagle was nearby, and it was being vocal. When the eagle left, it was diving, coming back up, and diving again until I lost sight of it from the shore."

Observers also submitted video and images as part of their report. You can see a folder of those videos and images here.

When the loons return in the spring, keep submitting those reports!

The forms to submit an observation can be found on our Wildlife page here.

Finally, this year the LSCA will partner with the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, and with the permission of Vermont Fish & Wildlife, to install monofilament and lead collection tubes at the boat launch. During their normal boat inspections, our Greeters will educate boaters about this collection program so that visitors can quickly look through their tackle box for old lead gear and bundles of fishing line to deposit in the tubes. Vermont Ecostudies also hopes to launch a voucher program with local tackle shops, so that old lead tackle collected can be replaced with lead-free alternatives. Every year, lead tackle and discarded monofilament line kills aquatic wildlife dependent on Vermont lakes. Entanglement in fishing tackle and poisoning by lead sinkers account for nearly 50% of loon deaths in Vermont.

We are all excited to see so many loons on LSC, but we need to give them their space (along with all wildlife on the lake). Please enjoy observing them from afar, but do not follow them or approach them with your vessel. Let’s do all we can to keep our loons safe, and work to create an environment to support a nesting pair so we can see baby chicks riding on the backs of their proud parents!

A loon on Lake St. Catherine.

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Lake St. Catherine Association
PO Box 631
Wells, VT 05774

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