WILDLIFE WATCHING -- Despite a 20-year high number of kokanee spawning in the Wolf Lodge Bay area of Lake Coeur d'Alene, bald eagles still occasionally battle for their share.
Photographer Carlene Hardt ventured out in the cold weather on New Years eve and captured images of an aerial struggle as two eagles vied for a fish as though they were football players battling for possession of the ball.
"I went out to Higgens Point in Coeur d’Alene to see all the bald eagles, since the counts were so high," she said. "It was exciting to see this eagle trying to steal the fish another had just caught! They tangled, but the one that caught the fish was able to keep a hold on it.
"It was a tricky shot at a long distance with the eagles moving fast in less-than-ideal lighting at the time. I thought the fish was an extra cool touch."
The gathering of eagles reached more than 260 birds this year. The eagles will gradually move on to other rivers, roadkills and farther south as this season's kokanee spawning fades away or cold-weather ice reduces the eagles' productive hunting area.
Another eagle survey is planned for Wednesday.