A New Season Unfolding

2024, No. 01 — May 23rd

A New Season Unfolding

A new season on Pleasant Lake is off to a colorful start. Early wildflowers are already fading as new ones begin to unfold.

Wake Robins (Red Trillium above) and Painted Trilliums have already announced the start of spring.

Others, like Pink Lady’s Slippers, are now unfolding along with a host of other wildflowers in the woods around the Lake.

Hemlocks and other evergreens are showing off new growth.

Fluffy yellow Canada Goose chicks remind us that plants are not alone in announcing new growth with bright color. That brings us to the question of how our loons are doing.

A New Loon Adventure

We have been watching a pair of loons touring the lake and hanging around near Turtle Cove and the nest raft.

John Wilson has upgraded the nesting raft and the loons have been shaping a nest on it. The loon in this photo is our old female, back for her 18th year on Pleasant Lake. As Jen watched, she climbed up on the raft revealing her leg bands. But who is the male?

We have taken lots of pictures of both loons but have not seen bands on the male.

Finally he climbed up on the raft and made it clear this was not our old male! This bird is not banded on either leg and our old male had bands on both legs!
Nonetheless, the two have definitely been acting as a pair, guarding the cove, working on the nest area, driving off intruders and mating.

On May 12th, Jon watched a fierce battle between the new male, the old female and an intruder. The intruder was eventually driven off by the pair.

During the battle, our new male broke off the tip of his upper bill and received a nasty blow to the base of the bill. These scars give us at least a temporary way to identify the new male.

On the 22nd, Jen watched a second contest between the new male and an intruder. Our new male is on the left showing his displeasure by puffing up the feathers on his head. After a lot of circling, diving and displaying, the intruder retreated toward the other end of the Lake.

The contest between the new male and the other adult allowed Jen to get a good photo of a leg of the loser. There are no bands, so it was not our old male. Thus we have at least two un-banded loons on the lake, one of which is the new partner for our old female. There is also a juvenile loon on the lake trying to stay out of trouble.

At this point we do not know if our old male has not returned to the Lake, or was driven off in earlier contests with the new male. The only loon on the Lake with leg bands we have photos of, so far, is the old female.

How About Some Good Loon News?

Despite all the chaos, our female has laid her first egg and she and the male are tending to it. The new male is not used to people so please give our loons and their roped off nesting area a lot of space. Thanks! We will keep you posted!

Meet Our 2024 Lake Hosts

The Lake Host program is an essential part of keeping Pleasant Lake safe and free of aquatic invasive species. Any boat being put into Pleasant Lake that has been on another body of water should be thoroughly inspected by a Lake Host at the Elkins boat ramp!

The Lake Hosts from left to right are Jane Slayton, Lindsay Brook, Rachel Rodrick and our newest Lake Host, Molly Ellison. Molly has been a Lake Host on Messer Pond for the past two years.

Lake Host coverage at the Elkins boat ramp begins May 25th.

Bye for now… Jon and Jen

Text and Photographs by Jen Esten and Jon Waage

You are donating to : Greennature Foundation

How much would you like to donate?
$10 $20 $30
Would you like to make regular donations? I would like to make donation(s)
How many times would you like this to recur? (including this payment) *
Name *
Last Name *
Email *
Additional Note