On Saturday, Jan 7th Libby and I led a field trip observing and discussing wintering bald eagles throughout the Methow Valley. The highlight was the 15 eagles we saw at the confluence of the Methow River and Spring Creek, just in Winthrop. We had many opportunities to age many juveniles, from 1 year olds with dark feathers and dark eyes, to approximately 4 year olds with mottled bodies, wings and head. We were able to see Coho salmon, and mallards and common mergansers in the shallows of the river, all favorite food of the eagles this time of the year. We also headed to the Big Valley area, where road kill deer had been freshly scavenged on by coyotes, eagles, ravens, and magpies.
After lunch at the Rocking Horse Bakery in Winthrop, we ended our day with a night roost survey south of Carlton. Unfortunately, an individual was target practicing with their shotgun at the roosting location, and their shots flushed the eagles off the roost and they left the area. Amelia and I had counted at least 15 eagles at the roost location the evening before. The group had a great time, even with the cold temperatures of the day. We ended up counting at least 25 eagles in the mid-Valley area.