Notes from the Field (Fall 2009):

Date: November 24, 2009
Beach: Grayland
Observers: Dan Varland, Dale Larson and Brian Sterling




Raptor count:
Bald Eagle
2 adults





Date: November 15, 2009
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Dianna Moore, Dan Miller, and Sandra Miller




Raptor count:
Bald Eagle
1 adult





Date: November 10, 2009
Beach: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Bill Hutton, and Joyce Hutton




Raptor count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon Northern Harrier
4 adults 2 juveniles 1 adult



Raptors Banded:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon N/5



Close up of Bald Eagle feeding
Bald Eagle feeding on Common Loon. We weren't sure whether this was a fresh kill or carrion.

Man and woman on beach holding a falcon
Joyce Hutton and Dan Varland with N/5, a first year male peregrine captured and banded on the beach today.




Date: November 8, 2009
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Varland, Dave Murnen, Cathy Varland and Jeff Dunn




Raptor count:
Peregrine Falcon Bald Eagle Merlin Northern Harrier
4
(3 adults;
1 juvenile)
2 adults 1 1 adult



Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon A/4



Tire tracks on the beach heading around driftwood towards a pounding surf
Heavy surf on the ocean this morning.




Date: October 30, 2009
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Dave Murnen, and Dan Miller




Raptor count:
Peregrine Falcon Bald Eagle Merlin
4 (1 adult;)
(2 juveniles;)
(1 age undetermined)
1 juvenile 1 juvenile



Raptors Banded:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon M/4
Peregrine Falcon P/4



Close up of falcon
Peregrine Falcon (adult) M/4.

Close up of falcon
Peregrine Falcon (juvenile) P/4.




Date: October 23, 2009
Beach: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Ronny Steen, Sandra Miller, Hans and Ellen Running
Comments: Our raptor survey today was overshadowed by a beach full of seabirds stranded from the effects of the single celled algae Akashiwo sanguinea. A foam created by the algae, as it churns in sea waves, acts as a detergent removing critical oil from feathers. Without this oil, the feathers loose their waterproofing capability. Birds become hypothermic and die. During our survey on October 21 we began to see the impact of the algae. That day we saw 8-10 grebes and loons stranded. Today we counted 235 (see table below). At the beginning of the survey we measured wind speed at 26 miles per hour. Blowing sand was accumulating on the windward side of birds as they sat motionless. Some were so covered in sand that they were unrecognizable to species. As the morning went on our survey took us north; the wind subsided and we saw fewer birds in trouble. Those that we saw were not caked in sand.

Did anyone help these birds? Yes! This day and in the days that followed 450 birds were rescued and transported to the International Bird Rescue Research Center in Fairfield, California (http://www.ibrrc.org/algae-slime-response-2009.html). The birds were transported initially to the Wildlife Center of the North Coast south of Astoria (http://www.coastwildlife.org; note: over the years Coastal Raptors has taken sick and injured raptors to this facility http://www.coastalraptors.org/injured.asp). After that initial stay, birds were driven (150) or flown (300) by Coast Guard C-130 to the Bird Rescue Center in California.



Stranded Seabird Count:
Species North Head to Ocean Park (12.9 miles) Ocean Park to S. End of State Park Boundary (6.7 miles) S. End State Park to 1.6 mi North (1.6 miles) TOTALS
Western Grebe 103 26 6 135
Loons (Common, Red-throated, Pacific) 63 16 6 85
Common Murre 5 0 0 5
Scoter 1 0 0 1
Other (no ID to species or taxon) 9     9
TOTALS 181 42 12 235



Raptor count:
Peregrine Falcon Bald Eagle Northern Harrier
2 juveniles 2 adults 1



Raptors Banded:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon 7/G



Incapacitated bird sitting on the beach being buried by blowing sand
Common Loon.

Incapacitated bird sitting on the beach being buried by blowing sand
Western Grebes.

Incapacitated bird sitting on the beach being buried by blowing sand
Pacific Loon bracing against bowing wind and sand.

Three birds sitting on sand by shoreline
Western Grebes.

Incapacitated bird sitting on the beach being buried by blowing sand
Common Murre.

Incapacitated bird sitting on the beach being buried by blowing sand
Red-throated Loon.

Incapacitated bird sitting on the beach with head bent back on body
Red-throated Loon.

Incapacitated bird sitting on the beach
My heart went out to this Pacific Loon. This bird began calling when we stopped to take photographs.

Rescue volunteer holding a bird
Herb McClintock of Ocean Park with a rescued Common Murre. Herb is a volunteer with the Wildlife Center of the North Coast, an Oregon non-profit organization specializing in rehabilitation of injured and orphaned seabirds.

Close up of rescued bird being held in gloved hands
Rescued Common Murre.

Two men on beach, one holding a falcon
Ronny Steen and Dan Varland with 7/G, a first year peregrine falcon captured and banded at the north end of the Peninsula. H Running photo.




Date: October 21, 2009
Beach: Grayland
Observers: Dan Varland, Ronny Steen, Dianna Moore and Sandra Miller
Comments: In addition to the excitement of capturing and banding a Peregrine Falcon today, we saw a number of Western Grebes and loons (about 10) stranded on the beach from the affects of the algae Akashiwo sanguinea.



Raptor count:
Peregrine Falcon Bald Eagle
2 juveniles 1 juvenile



Raptors Banded:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon K/2



Person holding falcon stretching out wing
K/2, a first year Peregrine Falcon (subspecies pealei). S. Miller photo.

2 people on beach one holding a falcon
Ronny Steen (left) and Dan Varland with K/2. S. Miller photo.




Date: October 20, 2009
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Ronny Steen, Mary O'Neil and Bill Mayne

Comments: I was very pleased to have Ronny Steen along with us for today's survey and for surveys planned for later this week. Ronny is a doctoral student visiting the US from Norway, where he attends the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. Ronny's research is on the diet and behavior of the Common Kestrel.



Raptor count:
Merlin Bald Eagle Northern Harrier Peregrine Falcon
3 3 adults 2 1 juvenile



Bald Eagle on beach surrounded by shore birds
Bald Eagle standing among shorebirds. The shorebirds know they are safe from eagles. Bald Eagles are just not fast enough to capture shorebirds!



Date: October 14, 2009
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Dale Larson, Sandra Miller and Ethel Liston




Raptor count:
Peregrine Falcon Merlin Northern Harrier Bald Eagle
2 juvenile,
1 age unknown
1 1 1 adult



Date: October 2, 2009
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Sandra Miller, Bill Mayne, and Dale Larson.
Comments: In addition to capturing and banding our sixth Peregrine Falcon of 2009 today, it was great to see two Merlins. In surveys from September 2008 to May 2009, only two were observed! It appears that whatever caused the low counts earlier is over - they're back!



Raptor count:
Merlin Peregrine Falcon Northern Harrier Bald Eagle
2 1 juvenile 1 1 adult



Raptors Banded:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon H/3



Person holding falcon stretching out wing
H/3, first-year female peregrine captured and banded at the mouth of Conner Creek. Dale Larson photo.

Falcon flying away over the beach
H/3 at release. Dale Larson photo.




Date: September 29, 2009
Beach: Grayland
Observers: Dan Varland, Suzanne Tomlinson, Mary O'Neil and Sandra Miller.
Comments: We saw C/5 on the beach today, after capturing and banding her on the Long Beach study area just four days ago.




Raptor count:
Peregrine Falcon Northern Harrier Bald Eagle
2 juveniles 1 1 adult



Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon C/5





Date: September 25, 2009
Beach: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Dan Miller, Sandra Miller and Mary O'Neil.




Raptor count:
Northern Harrier Peregrine Falcon
2 1 juvenile



Raptors Banded:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon C/5



Man holding a falcon on the beach
C/5, a first-year female Peale's peregrine captured and banded on the beach today.

cormorants flying low over the waves.
Double-crested Cormorants flying in to feed on small fish near shore at the north end of Long Beach.




Date: September 24, 2009
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Sandra Miller and Suzanne Tomlinson.




Raptor count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon Northern Harrier
2 adults 1 juvenile 1




Humboldt Squid on the beach this morning. We saw a total of three; the biggest one was more than four feet long.




Date: September 20, 2009
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Dan Miller, Sandra Miller and Dave Murnen.
Miller's Obiter Dictum




Raptor count:
Peregrine Falcon Northern Harrier Merlin
1 adult 1 1 adult



Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon A/4



Falcon being held looking up at it's captor.
A/4, a peregrine we captured and banded last year on September 19, 2008. Today (9/20/2009) marks one year and one day since banding. To obtain blood and feather samples, we work to re-capture banded birds once each year. Here Dan V sports a Spiderman band aid from today's encounter. People often ask if the peregrines we capture bite. Well, they do if given the opportunity. A/4 also drew blood from Bryan Sterling on banding day last September.

Man holding falcon in one hand while showing bleeding thumb on other hand.
Bryan Sterling with a thumb bite from A/4 in 2008.




Date: September 6, 2009
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Bruce Haak, Dave Murnen and Dan Miller.




Raptor count:
Peregrine Falcon Northern Harrier
1 adult,
1 juvenile
1



Marked Individuals Observed::
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon A/4