Fact or Fiction

Where do loons go in the winter.

Where does Larry the Loon go in Winter--you would be surprised perhaps. 

In an effort to beat the Holiday Rush, Larry the Loon flew south early only to find his loon friends just fly to the ocean on the East Coast for winter."


Loons certainly are my favorite. I see them come early in spring even when the ice has not fully melted. A was there when a pair showed up on Swains Lake in Barrington with ice patches still floating about. I saw twelve come flying in to the edge of the ice melt in a cove on Jenness Pond in Northwood and later I witnessed the day 2 loon chicks born on a man-made protective floating nest platform on Jenness Pond, and then create 2 chicks in spring with each sharing time to sit on the eggs. I saw 24 together on Little Bow in Northwood, and a record 24 loons on Ayers Lake in Barrington.

But I live in New Hampshire and see droves of people-and birds-flock south in winter. I mean why not. But have you seen a loon try to fly. It takes half a lake to take off. So where do they actually go and why. 

Well according to satellite tracking performed by the Loon Preservation Committees the loon makes its way to the Atlantic Ocean between Maine and Rhode Island. Loons must adapt to life in the salt water. They have salt glands in their skull between their eyes that remove the salt from the water and the fish they eat and then remove it from ducts in their beak--how do they know this stuff I am now sure.

The reasons are unique as well. For one the salt water doesn't freeze, and a loon's livelihood is in the water the oceans provide deep and clear waters to dive and fish in. The adult loons leave their chicks behind until their feathers become long enough to support their own weight. It is also time for the young ones to become mature and strong enough to be independent and capable of surviving on their own before taking the trip to the ocean. 

For two, the warmer waters bring all kinds of different predators like Alligators plus the water actually is too warm for them to dive.  I think maybe the long trip is just too much of an effort.

Life on the ocean isn't easy. There have to get use to a totally new diet, and then there are big waves and rougher weather, marine pollution and nasty parasites not seen on their fresh water homes.sea side. One of their biggest challenges has to do with molting and getting their feathers ready to make the trim back to their birth lakes in New Hampshire. It takes two to three weeks to molt they are not able to fly and face a lot of dangers. This becomes a stressful time in their lives. Yet I am told that they mate for life so maybe, perhaps their solid relationships help to deal with hard times.

In New Hampshire ice out is a big mystery for us humans to know the moment when the ice that has covered Lake Winnipesaukee that melts enough that the iconic M/S Mount Washington cruise ship can navigate between all of its ports in Alton Bay, Center Harbor, Weirs Beach, Meredith and Wolfeboro. Yet somehow the loon has the ability to pretty much pretty muchLoons will typically arrive on New Hampshire’s lakes and ponds just after ice-out, sometimes on the very next day!

For me the loon was first introduced to me in the iconic movie "On Golden Pond" staring Kathryn Hepburn and Jane and real father Henry Fonda which happens to be filmed in Squam Lake and Lake Winnipesaukee here. The screen play written by NH resident Ernest Thompson. I have lived on a lake in New Hampshire ever since leaving Michigan, NYC, and Boston and look forward to the distinctive haunting call of the loon. It is the beginning of summer when I hear them.   

For more information on these incredible loons check out the  Loon Preservation Committee’s at www.loon.org and the N.H. Lakes Association at www.nhlakes.org.

         

New Hampshire Official Verified Record Freshwater Fish Size

SO we have always heard about the "fish that got away" . You know like the 58 pouind small mouth bass or the 30 foot long pike. Well here is the official list of fish that did NOT get away--at least not until they were recorded. 

SPECIES

LENGTH

WEIGHT

PLACE

TOWN

DATE

ANGLER

STATE

American Eel

44.50"

8 lbs.

Crystal Lake

Eaton

7/6/1975

Michael Hansharak

NH

Black Crappie

17.00"

2 lbs. 15.84 oz.

Great East Lake

Wakefield

5/3/2016

Brian O’Day

NH

Bluegill

11.25"

2 lbs. 0.64 oz.

Goodwins Pond

Acworth

6/18/1992

Justin S. Therieau

NH

Bowfin

28.00"

8 lbs. 13 oz.

Wilson Pond

Swanzey

8/24/1994

Kenneth L’Abbe

NH

Brook Trout

25.50"

9 lbs.

Pleasant Lake

New London

5/8/1911

A. Val Woodruff

NH

Brown Bullhead

17.95"

3 lbs. 4.8 oz.

Merrimack River

Merrimack

8/6/2005

Donald Robbins

NH

Brown Trout

32.50"

16 lbs. 6 oz.

Connecticut River

Pittsburg

7/4/1975

Ken Reed, Jr.

CT

Chain Pickerel

26.00"

8 lbs.

Plummer Lake

Sanbornton

4/24/1966

Carroll R. Akeley

MA

Channel Catfish

29.50”

12 lbs. 4.80 oz.

Connecticut River

Hinsdale

9/20/2014

Dave Kellam

NH

Common Carp

37.00”

35 lbs. 13.12 oz.

Merrimack River

Manchester

5/16/2015

Donald St. Lawrence

NH

Common Carp (Bow)

40.50"

41 lbs. 0.04 oz.

Connecticut River

Hinsdale

6/2/2013

Kevin Martin

NH

Cusk

34.50"

12 lbs. 3.52 oz.

Lake Winnipesaukee

Gilford

3/13/2007

Ken Cayer

NH

Fallfish

20.75"

3 lbs. 8.96 oz.

Lake Winnipesaukee

Gilford

7/12/1991

John Conti

MA

Lake Trout

39.50"

28 lbs. 8 oz.

Newfound Lake

Bristol

4/24/1958

Albert C. Staples

MA

Lake Whitefish

21.75"

5 lbs. 1 oz.

Lake Winnipesaukee

Alton

8/23/1974

Paul E. Littlefield

NH

Landlocked Salmon

34.50"

18 lbs. 8 oz.

Pleasant Lake

New London

8/31/1942

Mrs. Letty M. Clark

NH

Landlocked Salmon

36.00"

18 lbs. 8 oz.

Pleasant Lake

New London

8/30/1914

Mr. P.H. Killelea

MA

Largemouth Bass

25.80"

10 lbs. 8 oz.

Potanipo Lake

Brookline

5/1967

G. Bullpitt

NH

Northern Pike

44.50"

26 lbs. 9.44 oz.

Moore Reservoir

Dalton

2/16/2013

Kevin Phelps

NH

Pumpkinseed

10.50”

1 lb., 1.76 oz.

Lake Winnipesaukee

Moultonborough

1/7/2017

Michael Steffen

NH

Rainbow Trout

35.50"

15 lbs. 7.2 oz.

Pemigewasset River

Bristol

9/16/1996

Lance King

NH

Rock Bass

13.50"

1 lb. 8 oz.

Island Pond

Stoddard

9/18/1982

Linc Chamberland

CT

Round Whitefish

18.00"

1 lb. 11.68 oz.

Newfound Lake

Bristol

2/5/2005

Marty Martin

NH

Smallmouth Bass

23.25"

7 lbs. 14.5 oz.

Goose Pond

Canaan

8/1970

Francis H. Loud

MA

Splake Trout

26.88"

9 lbs.

Crystal Lake

Eaton

2/20/1980

Thomas Barbour

NH

Sunapee Trout

33.00"

11 lbs. 8 oz.

Sunapee Lake

Sunapee

10/2/1954

Ernest Theoharris

NH

Tiger Muskellunge

35.50"

11 lbs. 11.68 oz.

Connecticut River

W. Lebanon

6/27/1982

Brian Patch

NH

Tiger Trout

20.00"

3 lbs. 8.64 oz.

Willard Pond

Antrim

7/6/2011

Molly Metivier

NH

Walleye

34.00"

12 lbs. 8.8 oz.

Connecticut River

Wells River, VT

5/4/1992

Anthony Bartolini

NH

White Catfish

23.00"

5 lbs. 11 oz.

Big Cub Pond

Danville

8/4/1996

Zachary Cross

NH

White Perch

17.20"

3 lbs. 11.5 oz.

Lake Winnipesaukee

Moultonborough

12/29/1986

John J. Ziolkowski

CT

White Sucker

23.00"

6 lbs. 11.68 oz.

Lake Winnipesaukee

Tuftonboro

5/3/2015

Randy Comeau

NH

Yellow Bullhead

16.00"

2 lbs. 8 oz.

Pecknolds Pond

Chester

8/1980

Gerald Menard

NH

Yellow Perch

15.50"

2 lbs. 6 oz.

Head’s Pond

Hooksett

3/4/1969

R. Hebert

NH

 

Here is a list of fishing derbies as well

http://tbcpress.homestead.com/Fishing-Tournaments-Derbies-NH.html

Every Winter the Meredith Rotary Club hosts the Ice Fishing Derby with top prize of $5000. It is also a time to see some of the most elaborate bob houses ever. 

http://www.meredithrotary.com/ice-fishing-derby.html

 

Get your poles out and start making stories.

 

 (updated April 27, 2017)

 

Bats Are Cool

We all know Dracula. You know the guy that flies through the night as a bat and becomes a blood thirsty menace. Of course there is Halloween to help remind us of those flying rodents. And as we all have heard, these bats clearly fly into your hair and try to bite you in the neck right? So what is it with these winged mammals?  Well below is a bunch of bat facts and fallacies.

So I have been at home inspections and nothing seems to bring more fear to buyers minds than the idea that bats might have lurked in the attics. In reality bats don't want to really be in your attic. Depending on the breed, trees, rock crevices and caves are preferred homes. Bat houses are good too. I am a big fan of bats. Here are billions of reasons why. 

Bats Huge Appetite--almost as big as themselves! 

Their preferred meals include a huge number of agricultural and forest pests, as well as those pesky of all pesky mosquitoes. Bats can eat 50% of their own body weight each evening, and even more if they are females with pups. This is the combined weight of over 1,500 mosquitoes! In numbers humans can relate to, a recent study of the value of pest control provided by bats was at least $3.7 billion a year.

Millions of bats across North America have died due to White-Nose Syndrome, a malicious and confusing disease that attacks hibernating bats with 100% mortality rate at many sites. The brown bat population which was the most abundant species has lost 90% of its population in the east coast.  UNH has a study that shows bats are beginning to show resistance to this disease. 

Ironically, having bats indoors is actually a lot more frightening of an idea for homeowners.  

Bats in Your House

If bats do fly into your living spaces, don’t panic. They don't want to be there. Open any outside windows and doors to the room where the bat is, and leave the room, closing any interior doors behind you and turning off the lights. They will soon find their way outside.

If you have them trapped already, you can let them go outside. In the summer, let them go ASAP. In the winter, wait for the warmest part of the day to release, if possible.

We Do Need Bats, but maybe not in your house.

For those who like fresh crops, bats are a billion dollar asset. The agricultural industry relies heavily on what bats eat and the rich fertilizer they excrete. These animals that primarily feed on insects (insectivorous), are the most prolific pest control experts in the United States. They are important global pollinators and seed dispersers. Their survival is vital to healthy ecosystems.

So, before anybody reaches for a broom--and by the way a broom won't work anyway, let me debunk some myths about these “flying bloodsucking rats” to help everyone understand why a bat problem should be handled by professionals who are really wanting to help preserve their safety along with that of homeowners.

Myth #1: They are flying little Vampires

Actually Not in North America. There are 8 native species in New Hampshire, but not the vampire bat. There are bat species that feed on blood, but they reside in Latin America. There are only 3 total vampire bat species (out of over 1,300) and only 1 targets mammals. Bats in New England attics are not going for your hair, or your neck, or near humans at all, really.

Myth #2: They’re Foaming at the mouth Rabid

That’s just impossible. If bats were all infected with rabies, they wouldn’t be around to infect other animals by now. In fact, less than 1% of all bats are infected with the virus. Though one should be cautious around bats, there are telltale signs of a rabies infection. As mentioned above, bats generally steer clear of humans. If they aren’t doing so then they may be suffering from a rabies infection that renders them too sluggish to get away. So, bats are no more rabid than other mammals, but those that are like a rabid dog or racoon or fox will bite and should be avoided.

Myth #3: They’re Dirty Flying Rats.

They actually aren’t rodents. or “rats with wings”. Bats are winged mammals. Bats aren’t even in the same genetic order as rodents. The important difference here is that bats fly.  If bats were human, you would say they are actually have OCD--they meticulously clean themselves (sometimes for hours).

Myth #4: They’re Blind as a Bat—well not really

We’ve all heard the expression “Blind as a bat” Well, they can see better than humans. They master sensory stimuli through “echolocation” has lead some people to believe that they “see” things via hearing them with their disproportionately large ears. Though this certainly helps, it isn’t their only advantage. As it turns out, they can see 3 times better than humans can. This means that they aren’t likely to accidentally fly into your hair, much less a person.

Myth #5: They’re Stuck

Bats don’t nest at all, let alone in people’s hair. A particularly ridiculous myth is that bats get stuck in human heads of hair. I have already mentioned that they aren’t likely to fly near people in general, and that they are far too agile to get stuck anywhere.

Myth #6: They’re Multiplying

Bats aren’t Baby Machines. Since people tend to think they are like rats which do mass produce babied, for bats it is only one at a time. If homeowners have a bat infestation, it isn’t due to rapid reproduction. Bats only produce one single pup per litter, and only have 2-3 litters during the typical spring breeding season.  

Myth #7: They’re Unlucky

Not in China. China is swarming with bats, from caves to the art that defines their culture. The Chinese symbol for bat is the same as that of good fortune.

Conserving Bat Populations is good for everyone. Not being afraid of one is the first step. 

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