May 30, 2011

Eagle Cruise

By Marketing Intern Mike Jenkins

Our first weekly Eagle Cruise of the summer set sail on Tuesday May 24th, and I was lucky enough to be aboard. Led by Executive Director Iain MacLeod this boat cruise departed from the NH Fish and Game boat launch due to high water on Squam Lake. However, when the water level decreases cruises will resume departure from the dock on Route 3 at the bridge, next to Walter's Basin Restaurant. The cruise highlights the successful recovery effort to bring Bald Eagles back to New Hampshire where they once thrived. The Eagle Cruise takes a casual pace out to Little Loon Island, where a pair of Bald Eagles has been successfully nesting since 2003. While traveling out to the island Iain gave us a very interesting background of this particular pair of eagles along with pointing out common fishing spots of the male eagle. The female eagle can be seen in a high perch on the island atop a pine tree with at least two eaglets by her side in the nest. The male eagle was out fishing and did not make an appearance during our cruise, although Iain told us there have been rare sightings of him dropping a fish off at the nest. Binoculars are provided at no charge, though the Eagles are large and close enough to be seen fully by the naked eye.

This is an exciting time at the nest as the eaglets are very young and maturing daily. We were able to see them glancing over the edge of the nest quite frequently and stretching their wings. From the boat we were able to count two eaglets, though Iain said that this pair has been extremely successful in the past so there may be as many as three. The eaglets appeared to be in great health on the first cruise of the season, which is a great sign continuing forward.

The Eagle Cruise takes place for a 90 minute voyage every Tuesday through June 28 at 3:00 p.m.

Other boat cruises offered by the science center include views of the eagles and loons:
EXPLORE SQUAM: 90 minute tour aboard our canopied pontoon boat with a trained guide May 21 through June 30 - Daily at 1:00 p.m. July 1 through October 16 - Daily at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m.
LOON CRUISE: 90 minute cruise with a Science Center Tour Captain joined by a Loon Preservation Committee (LPC) biologist who guides the tour and discusses the work LPC is doing across the state and on Squam to protect these extraordinary birds. The cruise route is chosen to maximize Loon observations.

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