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Out & About: 238 bird species tallied in Spokane County ‘Big Year’

A Tennessee warbler was seen along the Little Spokane River. (Associated Press)
A Tennessee warbler was seen along the Little Spokane River. (Associated Press)

OUTCOUNT – Unless there’s a stray report still to come in, Inland Northwest Birders and Spokane Audubon tallied 238 species in their 2012 Spokane County “Big Year” effort to spot as many types of birds as possible.

Highlights compiled by Tim O’Brien of Cheney include:

• Gyrfalcon on the West Plains, Jan. 5.

• Northern hawk-owl on the West Plains, Jan. 7.

• Tennessee warbler along the Little Spokane River, Aug. 16.

• Black and white warbler on Holcomb Road, Sept. 3.

• Black scoter on West Medical Lake, Oct. 25.

• Purple finch at Peone Prairie, Nov. 22.

• Hoary redpoll by Greg Falco near Cheney, Nov. 23.

• Red-breasted sapsucker near Mount Spokane, Dec. 10.

• American three-toed woodpecker on Mount Spokane, Dec 13.

Record Spokane County Big Year counts:

247 species in 2006 – cumulative list from all birders making sightings in the county during the year.

230 species in 2006 – single birder record by Craig Corder.

GPS navigation taught at REI

OUTLOCATE – A class in basic GPS navigation and practical applications for GPS in outdoor activities is being offered at 7 p.m. Thursday at REI, 1125 N. Monroe.

Best to bring your own GPS pocket device, although demo units will be available.

Cost: $30. Preregister at

Kids’ telemark clinics at 49 Degrees North

OUTSKI – A rare chance for kids ages 6-14 to learn telemark skiing will debut at the annual Winterfest events Jan. 12-13 at 49 Degrees North.

The first Kids Telemark Ski Clinic will feature a van loaded with youth-size cross-country downhill boots, skis and bindings that will be available for half-day and full-day lessons.

Colorado kid-skiing educator Ned Ryerson ( will bring the van and conduct the clinics. Cost, $49 for half day and $69 for full day, includes rentals and lessons.

Preregister at 49 Degrees North, (509) 935-6649, ext. 610.

Bald eagles trend down at Lake CdA

OUTSEE – Although plenty of bald eagles are still hanging around, the annual congregation at Lake Coeur d’Alene peaked around Dec. 19 and numbers are declining.

Carrie Hugo, U.S. Bureau of Land Management wildlife biologist, counted 157 bald eagles Thursday in cold, clear weather in the Wolf Lodge area where the eagles gather from November into January to feed on spawning kokanee.

That’s down from 183 bald eagles counted Dec. 28 during BLM’s weekly survey.

This season’s high count was 260 bald eagles surveyed on Dec. 19. The count was 204 eagles on Dec. 13, 121 eagles on Dec. 5 and 100 eagles counted on Nov. 27.

A record 273 bald eagles was counted at Lake Coeur d’Alene on Dec. 29, 2011.

Hugo said she counted 31 immature bald eagles Thursday and 126 adults, which have the white heads. Snow in the trees around the lake help camouflage adult eagles, making them harder to see – and easier to miss – than on a day with no snow in the trees.