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Out & about: Bald eagles flock to Lake Coeur d’Alene

A bald eagle glides up to a perch above Lake Coeur d’Alene at Higgens Point in December 2008. On average, the highest counts of eagles occur the week before Christmas. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
A bald eagle glides up to a perch above Lake Coeur d’Alene at Higgens Point in December 2008. On average, the highest counts of eagles occur the week before Christmas. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Staff ,wire reports

OUTBACK – Kokanee are spawning and dying in North Idaho’s two largest lakes and bald eagles have begun congregating for the annual feast.

Dozens of eagles are congregating at Granite Creek and in the Bayview shoreline area to take advantage of revived kokanee fisheries in Lake Pend Oreille.

Lake Coeur d’Alene is more accessible and better known for the eagles that congregate from November into January to feast on the kokanee – land-locked sockeye salmon – spawning in Wolf Lodge Bay.

The number of eagles varies from year to year, with 31 adult (white-headed) eagles and six immatures counted Thursday in the first weekly survey of the eagle season by Carrie Hugo, U.S. Bureau of Land Management wildlife biologist.

The bald eagles provide a popular wildlife-viewing attraction with numbers of birds and viewers gradually increasing into December. Photographers carve out time every year to greet the eagles with camera’s and long lenses on tripods.

  • A record 273 bald eagles was counted at Lake Coeur d’Alene on Dec. 29, 2011. Last year, the congregation at Lake Coeur d’Alene peaked in December at around 260 birds, according to Hugo’s surveys.

Good eagle viewing points around Wolf Lodge Bay include Higgens Point and turnouts off Highway 97, including Mineral Ridge and Beauty Bay.

Idaho State Patrol officers warn eagle viewers that traffic rules must be followed and vehicles must be parked properly off the highway.

Fall turkey hunters’

last shot at bagging a bird

OUTPURSUE – The last of Eastern Washington’s fall general seasons for hunting wild turkey starts Monday and runs through Dec. 15 in Game Management Units 105-154 and units 162-186.

The season is designed to reduce the number of birds congregated on lowland areas for winter. Turkeys of either sex are legal to harvest with a valid tag.

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