The weather cooperated on July 17, and 27 volunteers participated in the 39th consecutive edition of the Toddy Pond Loon Count, done in coordination with Maine Audubon. Similar counts took place simultaneously at hundreds of other Maine lakes. The final results were the usual mixture of good and not so good. 20 adult loons were spotted on the 17th, pretty darn close to the 38-year average of 20.9 loons. However, no loon chicks were seen for the third time in four years and even that one year it was only one chick. We know for certain that two loon chicks were hatched this year, one on Lone Pine Island (formerly Indian Island) on July 3 and the other in the narrows between Middle and North Toddy. The Lone Pine chick was taken by a bald eagle on July 5, and I suspect the other suffered a similar fate. I used to get excited seeing a bald eagle on Toddy Pond back in the days when they were still recovering from DDT poisoning, but there clearly is a downside to their population increase. Perhaps there is a way to provide a bit more protection for nesting loons, something that TPA may wish to explore further with assistance from Maine Audubon.
The breakdown during the half hour count period by pond section is 0 in North Toddy for the second year in a row, although a group of six was observed together there briefly two days earlier. In the narrows leading to middle Toddy 3 were spotted, 9 in Middle Toddy, one in the narrows leading to South Toddy, and 7 in South Toddy. A group of 4 have been seen consistently in South Toddy, and I suspect that same group has also been seen in other pond sections.
To me, and I suspect most others, loons and Toddy Pond go hand in hand. What could be better than sleeping on the porch and listening to loons yodeling? Well… there was that one renter who was so disconcerted by the strange racket that she packed up and vacated the pond. But that’s another story.