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Thu., Dec. 29, 2011, 2:53 p.m.

Another record eagle count logged today at CdA Lake

The bald eagle at right drops a kokanee salmon back into Lake Coeur d’Alene near Higgens Point after the eagle at left began harassing it Wednesday. Birdwatchers and photographers gather along the lake’s eastern arm this time of year to watch the eagles feed on spawned-out kokanee. The birds migrate through the region on their way south each December.  (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
The bald eagle at right drops a kokanee salmon back into Lake Coeur d’Alene near Higgens Point after the eagle at left began harassing it Wednesday. Birdwatchers and photographers gather along the lake’s eastern arm this time of year to watch the eagles feed on spawned-out kokanee. The birds migrate through the region on their way south each December. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

WILDLIFE WATCHING -- A record 273 bald eagles was counted today -- Dec. 29 -- at Lake Coeur d'Alene, making this the best year ever to take in the annual Eagle Watch Week activities.

Bald eagles are gathering in record numbers at in the Wolf Lodge Bay to feast on spawning kokanee.

Here's the information just received from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which conducts the weekly surveys.

The count is up from last week and the likely reason why is due to snow covering the trees during last Thursday’s count. Snow of course acts as camouflage for the adults especially. Today’s weather is ideal for counting! Carrie Hugo, wildlife biologist, noted that she counted over 35 eagles in the Blue Creek Bay area which is unusually high for that location. She thought it may be due to the windy conditions and that the bay offers some protection.

One important item for Eagle Watch: due to high winds yesterday, we were unable to have the spotting scopes, information pamphlets and the canopy tents up. Today, due to winds earlier we only held the Watch site at the Mineral Ridge Trailhead location. We just can’t risk the scopes or the display birds being blown over. We are watching tomorrow’s weather closely as it appears wind may again be a factor. We plan to have staff out but may not be able to have scopes or informational materials available.

Eagle Watch Week runs through Sunday.

 Drive east east from Coeur d’Alene on Interstate-90 and take Wolf Lodge Exit 22. Follow Highay 97 south a short way to exhibits and spotting scopes at the Mineral Ridge boat ramp. The volunteers will be on hand to offer information about the eagles from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. each day through next Sunday.

Cruise boat tours geared to eagle watching will launch daily this week from the Coeur d’Alene Resort this weekend. Book seats on resort’s website or call (208) 765-4000.




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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