Nelson and Linda have been scurrying about the study area to see which of our 200 or so banded pair members are back.  Thanks for battling the elements to do this vital task, you two! (Thanks too to Joel and Al for important lake visits.)

We have some exciting developments to report. First of all, our oldest male breeder — at least 28, and likely older — is back on Townline Lake. Linda took the above photo of “SROG”. He looks none the worse despite his 24+ years of territory defense. Another old-timer, female WSYY, is also still alive at 29+, as Nelson spotted her as an intruder on Flannery, her former territory. As some may recall, her heroic efforts as single mom on Flannery likely allowed her to fledge a chick in 2015, despite great odds.) SROG and WSYY were actually paired on Townline from 1995 to 1997 and produced two chicks together during that span.

Another old-timer that has reappeared is the displaced South Two female. This bird, “SGWO”, who is upwards of 27 years, was seen alone on nearby Wind Pudding Lake by Nelson. I have mentioned her before, as she lost her mate in early September of 2013, at the time when their two chicks were adult-sized. SGWO re-paired with a young male in 2014 and fledged a chick with him in 2015. Since then, though, we have not seen her. So it was exciting to see that she has become another resilient female!

Blue Lake residents might be interested to learn that the pair membership from the southeast corner has changed after the imbroglio last summer. Despite suffering resounding defeats in battle, the Blue-Southeast male, father of the chicks from 2013-2016, has regained control of the territory (for the moment?). His mate, however, is an 8-year-old female from Franklin Lake in Forest County who battled the Blue-West female in 2014, but gave up that effort and hung out on Blue as a floater for the past few years. Let’s hope that this new partnership places the territory on firm footing again.

We are still wrapping up our census of the study lakes. Below is the list of lakes covered to date, with identities of new pair members listed, if any:

Alva — both pair members back from 2016

Arrowhead – new M; female back

Bass — M back; F unbanded

Bear — both back from 2016

Bird — M, F both unbanded 😦

Blue-Southeast — M back from 2013-2016; F – 8-year old from Franklin Lk (Forest Co.)

Blue-West — M and F both back from 2016

Bobcat — M, F both back

Bolger — M, F both back

Boom-Bass — M, F both back

Boom-Hodag — M back; F back from 2014-2015

Brandy — M back from 2015; F back

Bridge — M, F both back

Brown — M, F both back

Buck — M, F both back

Burrows — M – NEW! (ex-Swamp male now here); F back from 2015

Carrol — M, F both back

Clara — M, F both back

Clear2-North — M, F both back

Coon — M, F both back

Crystal — M, F both back

Cunard — M, F both back

Currie — M, F both back

Deer — M back, F unbanded

East Horsehead — M-NEW! (4-year old hatched onLittle Bearskin Lake!!); F back

Fawn — M, F both back

Flannery — M back; F uncertain

Fox — M back; F unbanded

Gilmore — M, F both back

Halfmoon — M, F both back

Hancock — M,F both back

Harrison Flowage — M – NEW! (unbanded); F back

Hasbrook — M, F both back

Hildebrand — M, F both GONE!! (Horrible)

Hilts — M back from early 2016; F back

Hodstradt — M, F both back

Horsehead-North — M, F both back

Hughitt — M, F both back

Jersey City Flowage — M back, F unbanded

Johnson — M – NEW! (6-year-old from Clawson Lake); F – NEW!…but unbanded! 😦

Julia — M, F both unbanded

Katherine – South — M, F both back

Kawaguesaga-North — M- NEW! (21+ year-old Bolger male); F back

Langley — M, F both back

Lee — M, F both back

Liege — M, F both back

Little Bearskin — M, F both back

Long (off of Fawn Lk Rd) — M, F both back

Long (next to Brown Lk) — M, F both back

Lower Kaubashine — M, F both unbanded

Lumen — M, F both back

Manson — M, F both back

McCormick — M, F both unbanded

McGrath — M-NEW! (8 year-old from Tomahawk-Echo Bay), F back

Mercer — M, F both back

Mildred — M-NEW! (7 year-old from East Horsehead); F – uncertain ID

Miller — M back, F NEW! (9-year-old from Currie (!))

Minocqua-Huber Bay — M back; F-NEW! (7 year-old from Shishebogama, Vilas County)

Mirror — M, F both back

Muskellunge (Oneida Co.) — M (another 28+ year-old back on old territory!); F unbanded

Muskellunge (Lincoln Co.) — M, F both back

Muskie — M, F both back

Nokomis – East-central — M, F both back

North Nokomis — M back from 2015, F back

North Two — M, F both back

O’Day — M, F both back

Oneida-East — M, F both back

Oneida-West — M back; F NEW! (7 year-old from North Crab-Vilas Co.)

Oscar-Jenny — M back from late 2016; F back

Pickerel-North — M, F both back

Pickerel-South — M, F both back

Pickerel-West — M, F both back

Pier — M back, F-unbanded

Pine — M, F both back

Prairie — M, F both back

Rice River Flowage — M-unbanded; F back

Samway — M-unbanded; F back

Schlect — M, F both back

Seventeen — M, F both back

Sherry — M – NEW! (5 year-old from Anvil Lake, Vilas Co.); F back

Silver — neither pair member back!!

Silverbass — M, F both back

Skunk — M – NEW! (unbanded); F back

Soo — M, F both back

South Two — M, F both back (M is unbanded)

Spider — M, F both back

Squash-Northwest — M, F both back

Squash-Southeast — M, F both back

Squaw — M, F both back

Swanson — M back from 2015; F back

Sweeney — M back (on Buffalo); F unbanded

Thompson — M unbanded; F back

Thunder — M, F both back

Tom Doyle — M – NEW! (unbanded now); F back

Towanda — M, F both back

Two Sisters-East — M – NEW! (unbanded); F back

Two Sisters-West — M back, F unbanded

Upper Kaubashine — M, F both back

Verna — M, F both back

Virgin — M, F both back

Washburn — M, F both back

West Horsehead — M, F both back

Great work, team, to get those data. Please let me know, anyone, if you have questions about any loons that I have listed or find an error. I myself will finally be up in the study area within a week. I can’t wait to get back!