WILDLIFE WATCHING -- The annual gathering of bald eagles in the Wolf Lodge Bay area of Lake Coeur d'Alene is lagging.
The eagles provide a popular wildlife-viewing attraction as the birds are lured to the northeast corner of the lake from mid-November into January to feast on the spawning kokanee that stack up in the bay.
However, Carrie Hugo, U.S. Bureau of Land Management wildlife biologist, counted only two adult bald eagles in the Wolf Lodge Bay area on Tuesday, down from three eagles she counted last Tuesday during the first of the weekly bald eagle surveys she'll do this season.
"Last year on Nov. 20 there were 64 eagles in all," she said this afternoon. The number built to 260 bald eagles counted on Dec.19, 2012.
"I spoke with Jim Fredericks from Idaho Fish and Game about the kokanee spawn outlook," Hugo said. "Fredericks said that estimates for numbers of adults are lower than last year but still within the realm of the norm for what they hope and expect to see in Lake CdA. Also he mentioned that spawning is going to be pretty goon on Lake Pend Oreille and that he noticed quite a few eagles up there."
She said there's some speculation that bald eagles may be camping out in the Lake Pend Oreille area. On the other hand, there were quite a few eagles at Pend Oreille's Granite Creek spawning area last year at this time and plenty of eagles still showed up at Lake Coeur d'Alene.
- A record 273 bald eagles was counted at Lake Coeur d'Alene on Dec. 29, 2011.