PARTNERING LOON ORGANIZATIONS
JOCASSEE LOON RESEARCH REVIEWS
This is the sixth year of research on Common Loons on Lake Jocassee, the first ever study of loons in winter in a freshwater environment. By studying Common Loons in a pristine environment, scientists can better understand the factors that influence their health and survival in the winter. Although loons typically winter in marine environments along coastlines, some now use freshwater reservoirs. 100+ loons winter each year on Lake Jocassee. Wintering in freshwater lakes in the southeast is relatively new in the life history of loons. The building of large fresh water reservoirs in the southeast started with the Tennessee Valley Authority in the 1930’s. Lake Jocassee one of the newest reservoirs in the region, completed in 1973. It is not known exactly when loons starting using these reservoirs as stay-over locations and there is simply no reference to it in the scientific literature before this century. Sponsored by Earthwatch for the first 3 years, Jocassee Wild Outdoor Education and Jocassee Lake Tours are now the hosts and guides for this research. This will be Dr. Mager's 5th year as lead investigator.
Lake Jocassee is a pristine mountain lake situated in the heart of the Jocassee Gorges in the mountains of Upstate South Carolina, a region National Geographic declared as one of the 50 last great wild places on earth. Lake Jocassee is a wilderness reservoir, with four mountain rivers and dozens of creeks that empty into it. There are multiple waterfalls that cascade into the lake. Many Bald Eagles populate the lake, and other waterbird species - including Ring-billed and Bonaparte's Gulls, and hundreds of Horned Grebes - are common on the lake in winter. At approximately 9000 acres and 90 miles of shoreline, it is a relatively small reservoir, making it ideal for the study of loons. In most any weather conditions loons can be located and studied with relative ease. The approachability of the loons on Lake Jocassee is always a surprise to new volunteers and researchers. It is not unusual for loons to be calmly going about their daily business within a boat length or two of the observers. Most all the research is conducted from the boats. During the two week period scheduled for the 2022 session, expect to witness molting, preening and bathing behaviors, group foraging - including the ‘herding’ of schools of small forage fish - and departure behaviors as loons prepare for and begin to leave the lake in March. The results of the research will be used to raise awareness about the importance of reservoirs as habitat for loons and other waterbirds, and how to best monitor and manage them.
Daily Life in the Field
When you arrive, the researchers will conduct an orientation and brief you on the work you’ll be doing. Field work will begin on the second day, where you will be involved with daytime loon behavior observations, including the use of photography and videography to record individual and group loon behaviors and quantify the molting sequence and pattern. Nighttime capture and banding of loons will be attempted at least once each week. In the evenings, you’ll head back to the field station for dinner, an informal talk by Dr. Mager, and time to relax.
SESSION ONE, February 27 - March 5 SESSION TWO, March 6-12
$1550 per session; $2900 for both sessions. This includes lodging and all meals. $500 deposit required.
COST FOR LOCAL COMMUTERS:
$975 per session. $500 deposit required.
There are only 12 spots per session available for volunteers, so early registration is highly recommended. Please call (864) 280-5501 or Book Online to reserve your spot.
Cancellations up to 30 days in advance will be fully refunded. All reservations are final within the last 30 days.
Volunteers will be staying together in 2 or 3 bedroom villas at Devils Fork State Park. These clean and comfortable villas are fully furnished and include linens, all kitchen appliances, basic cooking and eating utensils, heat, air conditioning, fireplace, microwave, satellite television, complimentary wi-fi, automatic coffee maker, screened porch, charcoal grill and picnic table.
The living circumstance is communal, and all meals are shared. Volunteers are expected to help with basic housekeeping. Dinner will be prepared for you. Breakfast and lunch items will be available for do - it - yourself preparation.
The Greenville-Spartanburg Airport (GSP) is the point of arrival and departure for those arriving by plane. All transportation to and from GSP is provided at no extra cost. Explore GSP
Meet the Investigators and Guides