WILDLIFE WATCHING — A total of 260 bald eagles were counted today (Dec. 19) in the Wolf Lodge Bay area of Lake Coeur d'Alene -- up from 204 eagles counted on Dec. 13, 121 eagles counted on Dec. 5 and 100 eagles counted on Nov. 27 -- during their annual congregation to feast on spawning kokanee.
A record 273 bald eagles was counted at Lake Coeur d'Alene on Dec. 29, 2011.
BLM wildlife biologist Carrie Hugo endured difficult conditions durring the weekly count today as she tallied 208 adults (white heads), 49 immature eagls and 3 unknown.
Said Hugo: "There was a lot of soaring today and it made for difficult counting. I wish they would just be still for a couple of hours! Just kidding. It was also snowing pretty good at the end of the count in Beauty Bay which made for difficult counting.
"But the high level of activity made for good viewing, very close up in some cases. At the Mineral Ridge Trail head there were 3 in the cottonwood trees right next to the parking lot and the Mineral Ridge Boat Launch also had a several eagles perched nearby and soaring over the water.
The big county of eagles bodes well for the annual Eagle Watch Week, Dec. 26-30 along the eastern shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene. BLM and Idaho Department of Fish and Game will have staffers at two interpretive -- Mineral Ridge boat launch and Mineral Ridge Trailhead.
DIRECTIONS: Go east of Coeur d'Alene about 8 miles on Interstate 90. Take the Wolf Lodge Exit. Both of the staffed viewing areas are along Highway 97.
Eagle ambassadors will have high-power spotting scopes, mounted displays and interpretive materials available 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
In the case of bad weather, check for cancelations or updates by calling (208) 769-5048 after 9 a.m. each day. BLM will also post a message on the Coeur d’Alene Field Office webpage.
See this blog post for tips on CdA eagle viewing areas.