Lake Vermilion Loon Count 2022

The count this year took place on the rain date, Wednesday July 13. Counters enjoyed a cool morning made delightful with sunny skies and light winds. We reported 94 loons on the east end of the lake, and 99 on the west end, for a total of 193. That is 48 fewer than last year’s total.

Participants on the Pike Bay segment reported seeing no loons at all. Most of us have never experienced such a disappointing count; instead, we look forward to the certain thrill each time we spot a singleton or a pair. The thrill is heightened when we see chicks riding on a parent’s back or following on the water. This year, volunteers reported 47 pairs, 67 singles, and 32 chicks in total. Compared with last year’s counts, we observed 10 fewer pairs and 27 fewer singles. But the number of chicks sighted dropped by just one.

John and Claire Zwieg had the unusual experience of observing a family of geese, the fluffy goslings just learning to swim. Observers also sighted a distressed loon near Ely Island. The adult loon was unable to fly, apparently tangled in a fish line. Barb Boutto reported seeing especially tiny loon hatchlings aboard parents, seemingly too small for swim lessons.

Volunteer participants took in stride the alternative rain date, although the total number of participants was also lower than it would have been on a good-weather Monday. With 29 counters on the east end of the lake and 24 on the west, a total of 53 participated.

On the Lake Vermilion Association website you may still watch a loon family on a webcam video from May and June ‘22.

Submitted by Joanne Bergman, VLA Volunteer

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