Monday, July 11, 2011

biking Lake Coeur d'Alene, Heyburn SP - Harrison (and back)

Iris and I biked the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes yesterday (7/10/11) with friends going from Heyburn State Park to Harrision (for beach play) and back. There was a nice variety of birds along the trail that I tried to note although this was secondary to biking (and beach play). Most notable were a group of 5 Common Loons (2 adults and 3 immatures) across from Conkling Park, 8 White Pelicans at Heyburn State Park, and a Caspian Tern just on the north side of the bridge in Heyburn State Park (in Benewah Co.). Our friends continued past Harrison north along the trail to Medimont and at some point along here Tom Besser had another Caspian Tern (in Kootenai Co.).

Also along the trail were typical species for the area including at least 10 Double-crested Cormorants, Spotted Sandpipers, lots of swallows (4 species incl. Cliff Swallows nesting on bridge), Western Flycatchers, a few Red-eyed Vireos, Gray Catbirds, lots of Yellow Warblers, Song Sparrows, etc. There is a big log jam on the south side of the Heyburn bridge which had a nice group of Ring-billed and California Gulls. The Common Loon group was interesting and consisted of an adult and 3 immatures in close association and another adult at some distance from the group. I didn't have much time to study these birds but suspect that 2 immatures were 1 year olds (1st summer birds) and the other *may* have been a juvenile. The presence of adults and possibly a juvenile suggest the possibility of local breeding but more observation/research is needed (I may try to get up there again this week).

For anyone into biking (also good for walking) this is a great scenic ride to combine w/ some birding and other summer activities. Camping (and other lodging options) are available at Heyburn SP and further east on trail which extends 72 miles all the way northeast past Wallace into the Silver Valley. There are many segments of the trail that are accessible from various trailheads along the route and provide access o good birding opportunities. For more information:

Charles Swift
Moscow, Idaho
46°43′54″ N, 116°59′50″ W
skype: charles.swift
google voice: 208-991-2473