June 16 – 22, 2023Vol. 25, No. 1

First Call of the Third Season

A loon swimming in front of a nest. Look closely, and you can see two grayish-brown eggs in the nest.

by Dick Greenan

Welcome back to another summertime in the Belgrades and the third year of our “Call of the Loon”! Like last year, we will be interspersing this column with weekly photo galleries of our iconic bird in action which we hope you will enjoy as much as we have bringing them to you.

As you may or not know, our local Belgrade Lakes Association is into its fifth year of their Loon Preservation Project to develop a responsible comprehensive plan in order to support our loon population in the very best sustainable manner.

Our surveys began in earnest this past Monday on Great Pond and Long Pond on Tuesday. Although it appeared to be too early to observe nesting loons on Great Pond, we did witness three nesting pairs and caught one of the nests temporarily unoccupied with two eggs on Long Pond. A very lucky observation and just being at the right place at the right time!

Which loon is female? In this photograph, she is the smaller of the pair and is in the background.

Our loons typically nest around Memorial Day and, with an average 27-28 day gestation period, we expect to see our first chicks as early as Father’s Day, which is June 18 this year, up until around the 4th of July. But, with any luck, we’ll have four to six chicks on lower Long Pond the week before! Break out the cigars!

Now for some really great news!! Thanks to our loon consultant and mentor, Lee Attix, and Colby College’s Professor of Biology and Program leader, Catherine Bevier, BLA’s Loon Project will have assistance from two outstanding Colby College interns this summer. Kate Jaffee and Brynne Robbins, will provide some young eyes along with their tremendous accumulative experience! Our valued loon volunteers’ will continue with their eyes on the lakes but will now be assisted by two very capable and dedicated students to assist all of us with the daily observations. Equally important will be their expertise in record keeping those statistics to better assess our efforts and future activities.

Kate Jaffee
Brynne Robbins

Kate is a current sophomore majoring in environmental science with a focus in biodiversity and conservation. Brynne is currently a freshman with a major in environmental policy and has most recently provided testimony in support of DEP's Lake Restoration and Protection Fund. Both of our new interns come with a great deal of experience, including as a courtesy boat inspector, invasive plant patroller, junior environmental and floating educator, etc. Please join us in welcoming Kate and Brynne! We are very fortunate to have these two individuals on the Team!

If you have a particular questions regarding our Belgrade loon population, please email your inquiry to info@blamaine.org and we will try to answer your question either in this column or via email. Have a great spring and summer enjoying the “Call of the Loon”!

Dick Greenan is chairman of the Belgrade Lakes Association’s Loon Preservation Project. He submitted this report on May 24, 2023.

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