Eagles in Skagit County, December 2020

Two juvenile Bald Eagles chasing Dunlin

Skagit County is a great place in Western Washington to look for eagles. I usually do a boat trip on the Nooksack River this time of year for good looks at hundreds of Bald Eagles, but those aren’t running this year because of the pandemic, so I took a drive up instead.

Rather than the hundreds of eagles on the Nooksack, I was able to see about half-a-dozen near the Skagit River up in the mountains (it has better road access than the Nooksack, where the road only comes close to the river in a few places.) In the afternoon, I headed down from the mountains to the flat part of Skagit County, where the Skagit and other rivers empty into the Salish Sea, and there I was able to find a few dozen eagles. Two were young eagles (that’s why they don’t yet have the white head and tail of the adult Bald,) trying to catch some Dunlin on a farm pond near Bow, WA.

Undeterred by the fact that they weren’t catching anything, the juvie eagles tussled with each other a little

In addition to the young eagles trying things out, there were a couple Peregrine Falcons taking turns diving on the same Dunlin flock. They didn’t catch anything either. They did have speed on their side, and that made it hard to photograph them.

One of the Peregrines hunting Dunlin – speed makes them hard to photograph