Highland Lake Loon Observer Spots A Failed Nest

Fourth of July lake activity increases during nesting period

By Donna Baker-Hartwell
Donna Baker-Hartwell holds two abandoned loon eggs, with permission from a state loon biologist. Photo: Donna Baker-Hartwell

As of June 15, we are still waiting to see if our loons on Highland Lake will nest again

Pictured is the loon nest, sitting too close to the water’s edge, from which the two eggs were washed away. Photo: Donna Baker-Hartwell

after having their two eggs which were laid the week of June 1st washed out
of the nest on June 5. I expect that they will attempt to. Usually, this
second nest occurs within a few weeks of the failed nest. It is not uncommon
for there to be only one egg the second time around. However, this female
(banded in 2011 with green stripe over green on left foot and blue stripe
over silver on the right foot) has laid two after failings in the past.

I have included two photos. One is of the nest. As you can see, it is very
close to the water’s edge. Wake from boats can easily wash the eggs out. The
second photo is of the two eggs that I found submerged under the water about
two to three feet from the nest. Please note, that no one is allowed to take
eggs from a nest site unless given special permission to do so. Phil Keefe,
loon biologist, gave me permission to retrieve them. There is a $5,000 fine
if someone is found with loon eggs and was not authorized. The New Hampshire
Loon Preservation Committee collects all eggs that are not viable. Sometimes, they are used for study.

We can hope that our loons will try again. If they do, this will have them
sitting on the nest through the 4th of July, which is a very busy weekend on
our lake. With the COVID-19 crisis, I think all lakes will see an increase
in activity, not just on the weekends but throughout the week. Loons need
lots of space and protection, especially during the nesting period which
last approximately 28 days. Thank you to everyone for watching out for them.
Signage and buoys will be put out as soon as a nest is confirmed.

It is not uncommon for other loons to be seen on the lake. Sometimes, they
create quite an uproar and we can see our loons defend their territory with
lots of splashing and hollering. Usually, it all ends up just fine.