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Originally published Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 7:00 PM

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Head east to see loon chicks at Swan Lake

Visit Swan Lake on the Palouse to Pines Loop of the Great Washington State Birding Trail.

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Swan Lake Campground, Site 25 from "Palouse to Pines Loop" of Audubon Washington's Great Washington State Birding Trail

Location: Off Highway 21 south of Republic, Ferry County, in Eastern Washington.

Habitat: U.S. Forest Service land, with 52-acre lake, marsh inlet, pine and fir forest.

Best seasons for birding: Spring and summer.

Birds commonly seen: This jewel of a spot features nesting common loons, common mergansers on the lake. Violet-green swallows skim over water. Brush harbors Swainson's thrushes, calliope hummingbirds, American redstarts. Hear nighttime hooters: flammulated and barred owls, Northern pygmy owls.

Viewing tips: Bird by boat, avoiding reeds until mid-July when loons fledge their young. Walk through campground. Take the 1.5-mile Swan Lake Trail around the lake; trailheads are across Forest Road 53, 100 feet before boat-trailer parking and at the community kitchen.

Getting there: From Highway 21 at Milepost 153.4, turn west onto Forest Service Road 53/Scatter Creek Road. Drive 7.4 miles. Turn left into campground. Park at boat-trailer parking.

More birding: Long Lake — Return 1.7 miles on Forest Road 53. Turn right onto Forest Service Road 5300/400. Drive 0.8 mile. Park at boat launch. Trail loops 1.2 miles around lake.

Source: Audubon Washington, Great Washington State Birding Trail maps. Order maps ($4.95 apiece), at

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