Notes from the Field (Winter 2009):

Date: February 28, 2009
Beach: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Bryan Bedrosian, Mary Kay Kenney, Dave Murnen, Scott Horton, Suzanne Tomlinson, Marc Tomlinson, Dan Miller, Rob Palmer and Nick Dunlop.

Miller's Obiter Dictum




Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Band Code
Peregrine Falcon H/4
Peregrine Falcon W/Z



Raptors Banded:
Species Color Band Code
Bald Eagle N/A
Peregrine Falcon S/3
Peregrine Falcon H/2



Woman on the beach holding a juvenile bald eagle
Mary Kay Kenney with N/A, a two-year-old female Bald Eagle captured and banded on the beach this morning. Photo by Dan Varland.


Close up of the head of a juvenile bald eagle
Mary Kay with N/A. Photo by Bryan Bedrosian.


Man holding a falcon's wings outstretched
Bryan Bedrosian with S/3, a first-year female Peregrine Falcon. Dan Varland photo.


Woman about to release a falcon
Mary Kay with H/2, a first-year male Peregrine Falcon. Photo by Bryan Bedrosian.


Back view of the wings and tail of a falcon
H/2. Photo by Bryan Bedrosian.


Close up of a falcon's talon with some kind of injury
H/2 had an injury to his left foot. Given that he seemed in good health overall, we released him after banding despite the injury. Photo by Bryan Bedrosian.


Falcon talons dripping water as it flies over creek
H/4 lifts off from a creek on the Long Beach Peninsula. H/4 is a first-year female peregrine Rob Palmer photo.


Falcon perched on driftwood with sand sculpted against wood.
W/Z, a one-year old male Peregrine Falcon. W/Z was banded at Ocean Shores in November 2007, when he was less than a year old. Photograph by Rob Palmer.




Date: February 27, 2009
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Bryan Bedrosian, Dave Murnen, Brian Sterling, Rich Sivonen, Rob Palmer, Nick Dunlop, Dianna Moore, and Tom Rowley.

Comments:
Bryan Bedrosian, Avian Program Director for Craighead Beringia South (http://www.bswy.us), joined us in the field. Bryan was with us for four days to provide training in the use of Netlaunchers for the capture and color marking of Bald Eagles. Today we captured four eagles.

Two world-class photographers, Rob Palmer and Nick Dunlop, also joined us. Rob and Nick specialize in raptor photography (Rob: http://www.falconphotos.com; Nick: http://www.nickdunlop.com). While those of us trapping eagles stayed in one location, Rob and Nick drove the beach. They were joined today by Dianna Moore and Tom Rowley. Among the raptors they photographed were A/4 and X/D, two of our color marked peregrines.



Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Band Code
Peregrine Falcon A/4
Peregrine Falcon X/D



Raptors Banded:
Species Color Band Code
Bald Eagle: 1-year old M/U
Bald Eagle: 2-year old M/B
Bald Eagle: 2-year old M/P
Bald Eagle: 5 or more years of age M/M



Two photographers inside vehicle on the beach pointing huge camera lenses.
Professional raptor photographers Rob Palmer (left) and Nick Dunlop.


Falcon feeding
First-year female Peregrine Falcon A/4 feeding at Ocean Shores this morning. A/4 was banded at Ocean Shores on September 19, 2008. Photo by Rob Palmer.


Man on beach preparing equipment
Bryan Bedrosian prepares a Netlauncher for use in Bald Eagle capture. Photo by Tom Rowley.


2 men standing next to vehicle, one holding a bald eagle
Dan Varland and Bryan Bedrosian with four Bald Eagles. The color of the plumage, eyes, and beak are key to aging the species. In this photo, the eagles on the left and center are two years of age and the one on the right is one. I hold an adult; this bird is least five years of age. Once a Bald Eagle reaches adulthood at five, year-by-year aging is not possible. Photo by Brian Sterling.


3 men holding juvenile bald eagle with wings spread
From left: Dan Varland, Bryan Bedrosian and Scott Horton hold a one-year-old Bald Eagle. This bird was later banded with color band M/U. Photo by Brian Sterling.


Close up of eagle's head
M/U. M/U is a male, as were the other eagles captured this morning. As with most raptor species, males are smaller than females. We used bill depth and hallux measurements to determine the sex of this eagle and the others we captured. Photo by Bryan Bedrosian.


Two photos of an eagle in flight
A juvenile Bald Eagle out-flies the reach of the Netlauncher net. Photos by Tom Rowley.




Date: February 16, 2009
Beach: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Dave Murnen, Dan Miller, and Frank Gordon




Raptor count:
Bald Eagle
3 adults,
3 juveniles



Waves rolling into the beach.
Incoming waves from the tidal push meet outgoing waters of Willapa Bay at the north end of the Long Beach Peninsula. Dan Miller photo.




Date: February 12, 2009
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Suzanne Tomlinson, Dianna Moore, and Mary O'Neil.




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



Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Band Code
Peregrine Falcon X/D



Peregrine Falcon perched on driftwood.
X/D, a first-year male Peregrine Falcon on the beach this morning. We banded X/D on November 1, about ½ mile north of where we saw him today.




Date: February 3, 2009
Beach: Grayland
Observers: Dan Varland, Suzanne Tomlinson, and Dianna Moore




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



Driftwood, with drifted sand, on the beach lit by morning light.
Driftwood, with drifted sand, on the beach this morning.




Date: January 31, 2009
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Dave Murnen, Dan Miller, and Dianna Moore
Comments: We saw an adult Bald Eagle pursue, capture and begin feeding on a gull at the surf's edge. The eagle left the beach and flew east over the dunes shortly after the capture.




Raptor count:
Bald Eagle Northern Harrier
5 adults,
3 juveniles
1



Impression of the gull imbedded in the sand with a few feathers at the site where a Bald Eagle killed a seagull.
While we were unable to get a photo of the Bald Eagle we saw capture the gull, we found this impression of the gull imbedded in the sand at the kill site.




Date: January 18, 2009
Beach: Grayland
Observers: Dan Varland, Dianna Moore, and Dan Miller
Comments: Comments: We saw a Merlin on the beach this morning. This is the first Merlin we have observed since October 9, and the Merlin we saw that day was the only one observed last fall.




Raptor count:
Bald Eagle Merlin
2 adults 1



Tire tracks leading into distance across sand.
Tracks in the sand this morning.




Date: January 17, 2009
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Dave Murnen, Dan Miller, Kate Bullington, and Chad Miller
Comments: We were able to re-capture W/X today, a 5-year female Peregrine Falcon banded in April of 2004 at Ocean Shores.
Miller's Obiter Dictum




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


Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Band Code
Peregrine Falcon W/X
Peregrine Falcon X/D



Man on beach holding a falcon with wings spread.
W/X, a 5-year old Peale's peregrine banded at Ocean Shores on April 18, 2004 (Kate Bullington photo).


Close up photo of bands on falcon's legs - bands hard to read.
W/X's bands were dirty; she was last captured on January 22, 2006.


Close up photo of band on falcon's leg being scrubbed by a toothbrush.
We cleaned both bands with a tooth brush, making field identification easier.


Close up photo of bands on falcon's legs - bands now more legible.
The bands, looking better.




Date: January 3, 2009
Beach: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Dan Miller, Jon Hawkins, and Dennis and Dotty Colwell
Comments: We saw a record seven peregrines on the beach today, four adults and three juveniles. All four of adults were banded. We were able to read the color band code for only one individual: C/4.
Miller's Obiter Dictum




Raptor count:
Peregrine Falcon Bald Eagle Northern Harrier
4 adults,
3 juveniles
4 adults,
1 juvenile
2


Raptors Banded:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon H/4


Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Band Code
Peregrine Falcon C/4



Peregrine Falcon being held to expose chest
C/4 on the beach today. This 4-year old female was banded at Long Beach on December 19, 2004.


Peregrine Falcon being held to expose chest
H/4, a first-year female Peale's peregrine banded on the beach today.


Peregrine Falcon being held to expose back with wing outstretched
H/4.




Date: January 2, 2009
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Dave Murnen, Dianna Moore, and Marshall Ross
Comments: We saw two old friends on the beach this morning, M/K (banded in 2003) and W/M (banded in 2004).


Raptor count:
Peregrine Falcon Bald Eagle Northern Harrier Red-tailed Hawk
2 adults 5 adults,
3 juveniles
1 2


Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Band Code
Peregrine Falcon M/K
Peregrine Falcon W/M



Falcon perched on driftwood
M/K on the beach today. This 6-year old male was banded at Ocean Shores on April 6, 2003.


Red-tailed hawk perched on beach
An adult Red-tailed Hawk feeding on carrion. Red-tails are an uncommon sight during our surveys.


Red-tailed hawk taking flight
The red-tail takes off with breakfast.




Date: December 20, 2008
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Dave Murnen, Suzanne Tomlinson, Marc Tomlinson, and Mary O'Neil




Raptor count:
Bald Eagle Northern Harrier
7 adults,
3 juveniles
2





Date: December 6, 2008
Beach: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Dianna Moore, Aaron Perry, and Dale Larson


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


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


Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Band Code
Peregrine Falcon X/V



Man holding falcon with wings spread at the beach.
Dan Varland with R/3, a firs-year female Peale's peregrine. Dale Larson photo.


Man holding falcon by feet - falcon's back visible
R/3. Dale Larson photo


Released falcon flying away towards shoreline.
R/3 at release. Dale Larson photo


Falcon landing on driftwood perch.
X/V, a first-year males Peale's peregrine banded at Ocean Shores on October 9 of this year. Dan Varland photo.


Harriers flying over dune grass
Northern Harriers over the dunes. Dan Varland photo.


Falcon perched on beach.
An un-banded adult Peregrine Falcon feeds on a small bird. We were unable to identify the prey item. She ate the whole bird: head, legs, and all. Dan Varland photo.