The warm spring and early ice-out did allow some loon pairs to nest early. The Joe's Pond - inlet pair had 2 loon chicks on May 30 and 31, the first time we've observed chicks in May in Vermont, at least documented. There were a handful of pairs that started incubating in early May, but most pairs have been more normal starting nesting in the latter half of May and first half of June. Many pairs are still having territorial disputes with other loons and have not nested yet (and may not, especially if there is a takeover and a switch in one of the mates).
Volunteers, loon intern Liz Brunelle (Sterling College), and I have documented 45 nest attempts to date, including 3 new nesting pairs on Lake Elmore, Metcalf Pond, and Long Pond in Belvidere. NW Vermont now has nesting loons for the first time in the 35 year history of the VLRP. Unfortunately, the Metcalf Pond pair had a failed nest (eggs gone -predators? and extra loons present?), but there is time for a re-nest. A loon on Harvey's Lake died after becoming entangled in fishing line, likely going after live bait or a lure. Please reel in if loons are diving nearby.
Happy paddling everyone.
Eric Hanson, Vermont Loon Recovery Project Coordinator