As many Watchic Lake residents are aware there have not been any loon chicks at the Paine Brook (south) end of the lake since 2018. The WLA Environmental Committee and Lee Attix of Loon Conservation Associates believes this is because the traditional nesting site in the Paine Brook inlet was washed out a few years back. Working with Lee Attix, the WLA was able to secure one of the prototypes for a new loon nesting raft design developed by volunteers on Keyser Lake. The new raft design uses lobster trap wire and HDPE flotation, so it is lighter, more durable and more environmentally friendly than older designs which relied on wood or PVC frames and Styrofoam floatation.
On Sunday, May 2 the raft was launched by WLA volunteers Agnes Connors, Rick Wiggin, John Blake, and Steve Lajoie along with Lee Attix. The interior of the raft is lined with moss and vegetation to simulate the shoreland areas where loons usually nest. There is an arch of lobster trap wire covered with nylon camouflage material to protect the nesting loon from attacks from above and provide shade and some cover. The back of the platform is closed off with chicken wire with branches woven through to stop predators (such as raccoons) from sneaking up behind the nesting loon and startling them off the eggs. Predators are much more reluctant to approach from the front and face the loon’s long sharp bill!
Please leave the area in peace until chicks have hatched in early July
On May 17 we observed a pair of loons swimming around the nesting platform and hopefully getting ready to claim it for their own. But we (and the loons) need your help. Although many people would like to see the raft and the, hopefully, nesting loons, it is critically important that they are left in peace until the chicks have hatched, usually around the fourth of July. We have posted a sign asking that people stay away until the loon chicks are out of the nest and in the water. We will post updates and pictures on the WLA website. Please spread the word and ask everyone around the lake to stay away from the Paine Brook inlet until the chicks are hatched.
If you have any questions about the loon nesting raft, loons in general, or anything else about the environment in and around Watchic Lake please reach out to Kim and Steve Lajoie through the WLA Loons Contact page.