A social gathering of loons on Conway Lake - Photo courtesy of Don Yurewicz
Please observe these caution signs - they signify loons with a chick are in the area. Please slow down and keep your distance! Similar signs are put out for nesting loons.
Loons nest close to the edge of the lake at water level - wakes from boats can easily dislodge the loon and eggs causing the nest to be abandoned. When you see a caution sign designating a nesting area please reduce speed and keep a safe distance. This nest in South Cove was abandoned after a boat wake washed the eggs off the nest.
Loon nest with abandoned egg. Please do not disturb nesting loons - keep a safe distance and avoid making a wake.
Tallying the results of the annual loon count.
Interpreting Loon Behavior
(courtesy the Loon Preservation Committee)
Click the image for full size image.
Common Loons are a threatened species in New Hampshire and are protected under state laws and the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Volunteers with the Conway Lake Conservation Association (CLCA) work in conjunction with the Loon Preservation Committee (LPC) to protect and monitor loons on Conway Lake. When nests are threatened because of water traffic our volunteers place signs to let boaters know they should slow down and avoid creating wakes that could disturb nests at the water line. Once chicks have hatched, we place “Caution: Loon Chicks” signs in chick nursery areas. Young loon chicks can be difficult to see on the water and cannot dive as quickly or deeply to avoid being hit by a boat. Close approach by people in motorboats or canoes/kayaks can severely stress the loons, reduce the ability of loons to care for their chicks, and may result in reduced fitness and/or the death of the chick(s). Boaters should stay at least 150 feet away from loons and loon families to allow them to go about their normal behaviors to care for themselves and their chicks. In addition to signage we continue to monitor the lake for loons in distress and participate in the annual statewide loon count.
To report a loon emergency please contact Rick Blank:
603-447-8826 (home), 617-877-8062 (mobile) or Rick@rickrobin.com
Save a Loon
Turn in Your Lead Fishing Tackle!
Lead poisoning resulting from the ingestion of lead fishing tackle is by far the largest known killer of adult loons in the state and has been responsible for 39% of documented adult loon mortalities in New Hampshire since 1989. Lead sinkers and lead-headed jigs weighing one ounce or less (the sizes most often ingested by loons) have been illegal for sale and freshwater use in New Hampshire since 2016. Help us protect our loons by cleaning out your tackle box and bringing any lead tackle that you have to our annual meeting (August 5th at 9am). The tackle will be transferred to the Loon Preservation Committee for proper disposal. If you’d prefer to get cash for your old lead, you can participate in the Loon Preservation Committee’s Lead Tackle Buyback program. As part of this program, you can turn in lead tackle at participating retail locations, where you will receive a $10 merchandise voucher to that location. LPC will award $100 to the person who submits the largest amount of tackle at each participating shop and $50 to the runner-up. Visit Loon.org/loonsafe for program details.
Ice out this year was April 5th and the loons returned the next day on April 6th. Nesting activity began around May 28th and continued to June 5th. There were only two active nests this year. The town beach nest produced one chick that hatched over the July 4th weekend. The chick was healthy and within two days had moved out to the north shoreline. As of late October, the juvenile loon was healthy and ready to fly.
Two artificial nests were placed in South Cove – one off the north end of Boynton Island and one on the southwest corner off Near Isle. The loon pair chose instead to nest on the shore of Boynton Island and produced one egg which was lost to a predator around July 15th.
A big thank you to Brian Jarvis and Bill Petry for their assistance in managing the signs and floating nests.
Elsewhere on the lake: Loons were active and visible all season in the Gull rock/Marble Island area and the Thorn Island area but there was no nest activity.
The annual loon count was held on July 16th. It was a calm day with great visibility that made the count go smoothly. In all, seventeen adult loons and one chick were observed. Thank you to our observers Brian and Bobbi Jarvis, Craig Fillmann, Mark Guerringue, Don Yurewicz and Theresa Einhorn, Rose Hache and Dean Malouta, and Tom Gross for their help with the count.
Finally, the loons have been active and vocal all season. While we are disappointed that only 1 chick was produced, having 17 active loons is a good sign for next year and years to come.
To learn more about loons in New Hampshire please visit the Loon Preservation Committee at www.loon.org.