Loon Scouts Needed

A “Loon Scout” observes loons throughout the year and records these observations until the loons migrate in the fall. Then the “Loon Scout” completes a short report and sends it to the Michigan Loon Preservation Association (MLPA).

Loon Scouts will be observing loons on Elk Lake and Skegemog Lake from April 1- July 1, 2011. They will help the Elk River Chain Of Lakes (ERCOL) Loon Network gather information on the loons living on these two lakes. We need to determine the numbers of loons on each lake, the territory for each nesting pair and nest locations. We will use this information to determine the next steps to protect the loons.

Loon Scouts will be given instructions on observing loons and recording their sightings. Loon Scouts will send observations to Thom Yocum, ESLA Team Leader for the ERCOL Loon Network.

Official MLPA scouts:
Elk Lake- Carl Wroubel, Paddy Brown, Pete DiMercurio
Skegemog Lake- Gerrie Thompson, Dale ClaudePierre

Download Loon Scout Report for documenting any loon sightings.
Send all reports to:
Loon Network
P.O. Box 117
Alden, MI 49612

Loon Update:

For the first time in a number of years – since 2011, to my knowledge – the Common Loon pair that nests in the undeveloped southeast end of Lake Skegemog have successfully hatched a chick. It is less than a week old, with a color-marked father who was captured and banded on Skegemog seven years ago. Although the family will likely roam widely around the southern half of the lake in the coming weeks, yesterday they were about a quarter mile offshore from the end of Hoiles Drive.

Elsewhere on Skegemog, the lake’s other territorial pair nested on a small island in the river mouth area near the north-shore wildlife viewing platform. Unfortunately, their single egg was infertile, and the pair eventually abandoned their attempt after incubating a week or so beyond the normal 28-day period. Attached is a picture of this nest and its egg, which was collected for contaminants testing and genetic work.

On Elk, the lake’s two territorial pairs – in the Elk River and in Kewadin – both successfully utilized artificial nesting platforms to hatch two chicks in early June. The Elk River family has moved into the main body of the lake and has primarily been found near the west shoreline to the south of Spencer Bay. The Kewadin family has mainly been lingering in the western cove to the south of Wandawood Resort. Three of the four Elk parents are also color-marked with bands on their legs.

Lastly, the territorial pair that occupies the Torch River undertook two unsuccessful nesting attempts this season. This first occurred on a small hummock in the middle of the channel at the mouth of the Rapid River. This was an extremely unfortunate choice of location, and the effort failed almost immediately due to the heavy recreational traffic of Memorial weekend. A second attempt was made on a nesting platform in the Bayou; this lasted several weeks before being abandoned in response to disturbance from multiple kayakers on July 4th. Both Torch River adults are also color-marked.

While loon parents with chicks are sometimes tolerant of slow boat/kayak approach, their tremolo call – often described as loon laughter – is a clear signal that one is getting too close.

I’ll be presenting at ESLA’s “It’s A Shore Thing” series on July 27th at 5:30 pm at the Twisted Fish Gallery.


Damon McCormick
Common Coast Research & Conservation