Series set for nordic skiers
OUTDO – Cross-country skiers can test their performance over the course of the season and take a stab at winning cool prizes by entering the three-race Selkirk Nordic Series.
First event is Jan. 22, the 5- or 10-kilometer Cougar Gulch event at Schweitzer Mountain, schweitzer.com.
Second race is a 7K freestyle, the Chewelah Peak Challenge, on Jan. 29 at 49 Degrees North, ski49n.com.
Final event is the biggest race in the region, the classic 10K Langlauf, Feb. 13, at Mount Spokane. Info: spokanelanglauf.org.
Selkirk Nordic Series participants accumulate points toward the final standings. Skiers must ski at least two races to qualify for prizes.
Birder turns eye
to Mount Spokane
OUTSEE – Most people visiting Mount Spokane this month are focused on frolicking in the snow.
But there’s a lot more life in the mountain’s wintery forest than most visitors realize — unless you head up with a serious birder.
“I took my wife cross-country skiing this morning on Mount Spokane,” Terry Little reported Wednesday, shortly after returning home. “She skied; I drove. But I did have a little time to do some high-mountain birding.
“One has to be patient and persistent when birding in the mountains, especially in the winter. Here is what I found (mostly about half a mile past the snowmobiler parking lot on the way to ski lodges):
Sharp-shinned hawk, northern pygmy owl, hairy woodpecker, common raven, gray jay (2), chestnut-backed chickadee, mountain chickadee, red-breasted nuthatch, pine grosbeak (15), Cassin’s finch (1), red crossbill (2), pine siskins (10).
Little also reported seeing bald eagles, northern rough-legged hawks and American kestrels in the foothills fields.
Record count for Eagle Watch
OUTFIELD – A record count of 254 bald eagles was congregated in Lake Coeur d’Alene’s Wolf Lodge Bay this week for today’s start of Eagle Watch Week.
U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Idaho Fish and Game and Audubon Society volunteers have seized the annual eagle gathering to educate visitors about this confluence of nature and survival.
The eagles have been gathering for decades to feast on kokanee that provide easy meals as they swarm into the area to spawn and die.
Eagle Watch Week runs through Jan. 1.
Helpers with spotting scopes, displays and other info will be on hand 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Mineral Ridge Boat Launch and Mineral Ridge Trailhead, accessible by taking Wolf Lodge Exit 22 off I-90.
The previous record was 154 eagles in 2004.