Nearly a dozen bald eagles spotted at first count of season

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Eleven bald eagles were confirmed by more than 100 citizen scientists during the first winter bald eagle count of the season on the morning of Sat., Dec. 15. It is the 40th year of the annual count that spans five lakes within San Bernardino National Forest and two California State Park recreation areas on four Saturdays throughout the winter. The results from Saturday are as follows:

·Big Bear Lake:  3 subadults (26 participants)

·Lake Arrowhead:  1 adult and 2 subadults (6 participants)

·Lake Hemet:  2 adult bald eagles (28 participants)

·Lake Perris State Recreation Area: 2 adults (26 people)

· Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area:  1 adult (30+ participants)

Several dozen bald eagles typically spend their winter vacations around Southern California’s lakes, adding to a few resident nesting bald eagles that stay year-round.  Agency biologists recruit the public to help monitor the local population by conducing simultaneous counts.

The count coordinators from the Forest Service and California State Parks would like to thank those participants for their dedication in getting up early and participating in the event.  The success of the eagle counts is entirely dependent on the citizen scientists!

There are three more bald eagle counts this winter: Jan. 12, Feb. 9 and March 9. No reservations are needed; just show up at a designated location at the start time with binoculars and a way to keep time. And don’t forget to dress for winter weather! Time and location details are as follows:

· Big Bear Lake area participants will meet at 8 a.m. at the Big Bear Discovery Center on North Shore Drive (Hwy 38) for orientation. Contact Robin Eliason (reliason@fs.fed.us or 909-382-2832) for more information. Please call 909-382-2832 for cancellation due to winter weather conditions – an outgoing message will be left by 6:30 am on the morning of the count, if it has to be cancelled. There will also be a free slideshow presentation about bald eagles at 11 a.m. after each count.

· Lake Arrowhead/Lake Gregory area participants will meet at 8 a.m. at the Skyforest Work Center on Hwy 18 for orientation. Contact Robin Eliason (reliason@fs.fed.us or 909-382-2832) for more information. Please call 909-382-2832 for cancellation due to winter weather conditions – an outgoing message will be left by 6:30 am on the morning of the count if it has to be cancelled.

·  Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area participants should plan to meet at the Silverwood Lake’s park office on Cleghorn Rd. (west of Highway 138) at 8 a.m. for orientation. Contact Mark Wright for more information about volunteering or taking an eagle tour (760-389-2303 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.; or email: mark.wright@parks.ca.gov).

·Lake Hemet participants should plan on meeting at the Lake Hemet Grocery Store at 8:30 a.m. for orientation.

· Lake Perris State Recreation Area participants should plan to meet at the Lake Perris Regional Indian Museum at 8 a.m. for orientation. For more information call Lake Perris SRA at 951-940-5600 or the Lake Perris Regional Indian Museum at 951-940-5657..

For eagle viewing any time of the day, there’s a live-feed of the Big Bear bald eagle nest! The nest-cam is provided by the Friends of the Big Bear Valley and can be viewed at the Institute for Wildlife Studies’ website or on YouTube.

The webcam monitors a nest on National Forest lands near Big Bear Lake’s north shore.  The area around the nest is closed to all public entry until June 22nd, 2019.  The closure encompasses Grout Bay Picnic Area, Grays Peak Trail and surrounding National Forest areas. No entry, including snow play on the edges of the area, is allowed.  Bald eagles during nesting season are sensitive to human interference and may abandon nesting activities if feeling threatened.

Those who can’t make the counts can still try to see bald eagles around our local lakes this winter. Contact the Big Bear Discovery Center (909-382-2790) or the Idyllwild Ranger Station (909-382-2921) for eagle watching tips and etiquette on the San Bernardino National Forest

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