Each year, Bridge Lake is home to families of Gavia immer, the common loon. There is nothing quite as evocative of the spirit of the northern lakes as the call of the loon.
The survival of loons has always been tenuous. Typically only two eggs are laid in a nest that is vulnerable to natural predators (dogs, fox, mink, gulls, eagles ...) and wave action (storms, motor boats ...). Chicks that successfully hatch from the eggs often fall victim to predators or their own aggressive siblings. Loss of suitable shoreline habitat adds to the challenge for nesting pairs.
Many more info can be found on the beautiful web site of the Michigan Loon Preservation Association
Bridge Lake Loon Watch
Loon Survey 2019
Since the summer of 2009 Friends of Bridge Lake have taken part in the Canadian Loon Survey. Here are the results of our 11th season.
Maximum number of adults: 61
This year we counted seven surviving loon chicks, a number we have not seen in a long time. They all hatched in the eastern half of the lake, five of them in the south-eastern corner. One pair of loons even nested near the busy Provincial Park boat launch and produced twins. Of the three man-made loon platforms on the lake, the one in Centennial Bay was successfully used again and it produced one chick this time. Of the two eggs in that nest only one hatched, while the other one was eaten or damaged by a Great Blue Heron.
Five nests were observed in the western half of the lake, an egg-shell was seen, one pair of loons tried for a second time, but none of those nests produced chicks.
Loon Survey 2018
Since the summer of 2009 Friends of Bridge Lake have taken part in the Canadian Loon Survey. Here are the results of our 10th season.
Again it was a summer of wildfires in BC which caused a smoky month of August on the lake. Still there was frequent boating throughout the whole summer.
Maximum number of adults: 68
The high number of maximum adults spotted this year results from rafts of loons. The individuals gather from all areas of the lake or might be just travelling through.
At least one nest was abandoned because of human activity (picnic & campfire on the small nesting island). Of the three man-made loon platforms on the lake, one is successfully used every year and it produced twin chicks this time.
Thanks to our volunteers living close to Otter Lake, this lake was surveyed for the first time this year:
Maximum number of adults: 3
Loon Survey 2017
Since the summer of 2009 Friends of Bridge Lake have taken part in the Canadian Loon Survey. Here are the results of our 9th season.
Thanks to the work of additional volunteers in 2017 all of Bridge Lake was surveyed. We had two heavy windstorms in June which presented a challenge to early nesting. Due to wildfires & smoke there was less boating in July and August.
Maximum number of adult loons counted: 36
Loon Survey 2016
Unfortunately we were short of volunteers, therefore only a third of Bridge Lake, the south-west end, was surveyed. The maximum number of adult loons sighted was 12. Over the years we have observed numbers as high as 19. Since 2014 these numbers seem to have dropped.
The same is true for the number of pairs who try to breed. This year only 3 pairs were counted. We had as many as 6 in earlier years.
The good news is the number of chicks. We had 3 this year after having only 1 in 2015 and 2014 and none in 2013. It seems that this season every pair in the bays that were surveyed managed to raise 1 chick.
At least one of the four man-made platforms on the lake was used by the birds. Let’s hope that increases next year, because data collected by Bird Studies Canada shows that loons using nesting platforms have better reproductive success.
Canadian Lakes Loon Survey
The Canadian Lakes Loon Survey began in Ontario in 1981. The intent is to track trends in loon populations and learn more about human impact on those populations. Over 1000 volunteers across Canada contribute to the survey database by filing reports once a month over the summer indicating the number of loons on the lake, the number of breeding pairs and the number of successful hatchings and the number of surviving young.
Lac Des Roches has participated in the survey for over 15 years. For the first time there are five volunteers conducting the survey on Bridge Lake, Henley Lake and Muddy Lake. If you would like to take on this role on another lake in the area (Roe Lake, Sheridan Lake, Webb Lake ...) then let us know and we will help to get you started.
Information about the survey can be obtained from Canadian Lakes Loon Survey.