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Wildlife Report

Winter 2011


This past summer we asked for volunteer phragmites beach monitors. We had 46 people volunteer their time to sur-vey the beaches for phragmites and then to treat it. On Aug. 25, the DNRE arrived with chemicals and equipment and met with the volun-teers to teach them the proper me-thods for treating. The method involved spraying the chemical onto a cotton glove worn over rubber gloves. Then the swiping method, from bottom to top of the plant, was employed. For most, the beaches had a few sprigs here and there and that method worked well. For some, however, there were larger stands of phragmites where volunteers spent many hours hand swiping (Cable’s Bay for instance), or the length of the beach to cover involved significant time. Did I mention we had basically a one day treatment window? That meant we had to cover all the beaches in one day (and a little bit of the following morning). This was not known prior to the arrival of the DNRE, so some worked very long hours attempting to complete their “assigned” beach. The DNRE took care of the state land and Little Traverse Conservancy property at Little Sand Bay and the outer islands including High and Garden. The state also hired a chemical company to treat Hog Island which really needed it! Next spring and summer will tell whether this method worked well enough to continue it or if we need to devise another.


It was a bad year for the Common Loon on Beaver Island. We had several nesting pairs and some tried twice, but there were no successful chicks this year. Most disappeared within the first couple of weeks, if the eggs hatched at all. Eagles were the most likely culprit; one observer watched in dismay as an eagle destroyed the nest and eggs at Barney’s Lake while the loons watched nearby. Loons renested on Font Lake after the loss of eggs in the first nest, but later abandoned the egg. Fox Lake had a nest, but about the time they should hatch, the eggs disappeared and no chicks were seen.


A lot of dead birds washed up on the beaches again last summer and fall. Is it Avian Botulism? We don’t know. Some loons, freshly dead, were sent to the state toxicology lab. The first report was not avian botulism, but rather selenium poisoning. We haven’t heard about the others yet. What are being found on the beaches are Common Loons, White Winged Scoters, Oldsquaws, mergansers and Red Necked Grebes. A few other odds and ends have shown up as well: a goose, gulls, cormorants and other various ducks. People are asked to report them to Jacque LaFreniere and collect fresh (no smell) birds for necropsy. Others can be buried or bagged up and taken to the transfer station.


Peaine and St. James Townships have agreed to support Quality Deer Management on Beaver Island. Both the Beaver Island Wildlife Club and the Beaver Island Conservation Club agree to the basic tenets of the plan, which must be approved by the DNRE. It would include limits of one antlered deer per hunter maximum per year, 3 point minimum on one side (6 point rule), but youth hunting free of these restrictions. The plan will be in effect 2011 through 2015 and will be reviewed at the end of that period.

-Jacque LaFreniere

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