Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Eagles Along the Nooksack

Every year, spawned-out salmon attract hundreds of eagles to the banks of the Nooksack River along the Mount Baker Highway as the eagles migrate south after the weather cools in the Frazier River Valley of British Columbia.

This afternoon we drove out the Mt. Baker Highway, from Bellingham to Deming, in hopes of viewing some of these beautiful birds.

Stopping at the convenience store in Deming to ask directions to the Deming Homestead Park and to inquire about other good locations to observe the eagles on an afternoon like this, we preserved precious daylight hours and were soon observing many of the majestic birds. The lady running the store provided easy directions to the park, and as he purchased a beer, a customer told me about an abundance of eagles viewable from a bridge further down the highway - indicating that if we reached the brewery we had gone too far.

From the parking area of the 15-acre Deming Homestead Park, several eagles were spotted in the distance soaring above the river. The parks department has constructed salmon habitat structures which provide a good environment for the salmon to spawn and their young to hatch. There is a trail through the park with interpretive signs providing information about the eagles and the salmon.

Hoping to see more eagles, we head further down the highway until we spot the Truck Road, turn and reach the bridge we were told about. Eagles are easily visible perched in the trees right along the side of the road.

We watch eagles as they feed on the spawned salmon that have washed up on the sand bar.

On the other side of the bridge, a duck is spotted swimming in the river near a floating spawned salmon . . .

Barely visible in this picture is a rather large eagle perched on top of the snag on the other side of the river . . .

Eagles are perched on both sides of the bridge and in the trees running up and down the river.

A visible snow line graces a beautiful winter day as we watch the eagles . . .
On the drive back to Bellingam, we decide to take a little side trip and drive north to see if we can spot any eagles along the portion of the Nooksack River that flows through the town of Ferndale. If you look closely, you will see two bald eagles perched on a branch on the first of the shorter trees on the left side of this photo . . .

Thanks, Mike, for joining me today to view the eagles.

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