U.S. Forest Service volunteers saw two of the permanent bald eagles, still comfortable with their home on the shores of Lake Hemet,  soaring over their water play ground and sharing a meal. Their buoyant and joyful behavior was described as “… a pair of courting adult bald eagles…”

During the annual December bald eagle count, seven other bald eagles were spotted at three other lakes in the region. Bald eagles are usually found close to water because their diet is primarily made up of fish and ducks.

“We had one group [of observers] come all the way from L.A. They had such a good eagle show, they are planning to come back next month,” noted Ann Bowers, the Forest Service biologist on the San Jacinto Ranger District, in the press release. “Our eagles are great performers and love is in the air.”

Besides the two adults at Lake Hemet, two were seen at the Lake Perris State Recreation Area. One was observed at Lake Arrowhead. But four — two adults and two juvenile eagles — were spotted at Big Bear Lake.

Nearly 100 volunteers participated in the count, including 18 at Lake Hemet.

The next bald eagle count will be Saturday, Jan. 13. The Forest Service also will conduct counts in February and March.

Lake Hemet participants should plan on meeting at the Lake Hemet Market at 8:30 a.m. for orientation. Contact Bowers (via email at [email protected] or call 909-382-2935) for more information.

Other counts that day within the San Bernardino National Forest will be at Big Bear Lake, Lake Arrowhead, Lake Gregory, Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area and Lake Perris State Recreation Area.

The Forest Service stresses that no experience is necessary. Signing up ahead of time is not required either. Volunteers can just show up at the designated time and location. Dress should be warm to accommodate morning temperatures, and binoculars and a watch will be helpful.

Brief orientations are conducted prior to the count so volunteers know where to go and what to do.