Notes from the Field (Spring 2010):

Date: May 8, 2010
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Dick and Sharyn Brower.


Raptor count:
Bald Eagle
2 adults,
2 juveniles



Bald Eagle on the beach this morning.
Bald Eagle on the beach this morning.



Date: May 7, 2010
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Varland, Tom Rowley, and Dale Larson.
Comments: We set up the netlauncher to catch and band a Bald Eagle this morning, using as a lure the seal carcass we saw on the beach yesterday morning. Several adult eagles came in to feed on the carcass. We narrowly missed catching one.



Bald Eagle feeding on seal carcass. The netlauncher is hidden in the debris pile to the right.



The netlauncher fires.


The net did not completely cover the eagle.
The net did not completely cover the eagle. He escaped.



Date: May 6, 2010
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Tom Rowley, Ellen Pickell, and Mary O'Neil.


Raptor count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon
4 adults,
1 juvenile
1 adult



Bald Eagle tracks in the sand
Bald Eagle tracks in the sand; the tracks were located next to an aging seal carcass.
Tom Rowley photo.


A one-year-old Bald Eagle.
A one-year-old Bald Eagle.
Tom Rowley photo.



Date: April 16, 2010
Beach: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Glenn Johnson, Chris Parish, Eddie Feltes, and Matt Podalsky.
Comments: Thousands of people were on the beach for a clam dig during our informal survey this morning. In spite of the crowd, we saw a Merlin, a Bald Eagle, and a peregrine. The highlight for us was the peregrine, which captured a small bird above the surf. We ended the morning with a demonstration of the netlauncher, our trap for Bald Eagle capture.
To see the netlauncher fire, click here.

Making preparations to fire the netlauncher.
Making preparations to fire the netlauncher.
Glenn Johnson photo


Pictured with the netlauncher are, from left, Matt Podalsky, Chris Parish, Dan Varland, and Eddie Feltes. Glenn Johnson photo.
Pictured with the netlauncher are, from left, Matt Podalsky, Chris Parish, Dan Varland, and Eddie Feltes.
Glenn Johnson photo.



Date: April 15, 2010
Beach: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Glenn Johnson, Chris Parish, Eddie Feltes, Matt Podalsky, Kathy Sullivan, Kathy Gunther and Bill Ritchie.


Observers on the beach
Pictured at Leadbetter Point are, from left, Chris Parish, Kathy Gunther, Bill Ritchie, Matt Podalsky, Eddie Feltes, and Glenn Johnson.
Dan Varland photo.


A Bald Eagle perches atop a sign post.
A Bald Eagle perches atop a sign post while Kathy Sullivan from our group takes a picture.
Dan Varland photo.



Date: April 11, 2010
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Dan Miller, Jim Nagen, and Kathleen Wolgemuth.


Raptor count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon
7 adults,
1 juvenile
1 adult,
1 juvenile



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



Peregrine perched on driftwood on the sand
Peregrine Falcon A/4 on the beach this morning.
Dan Varland photo.



Date: April 9, 2010
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Ellen Pickell, and Mary O'Neil.


Raptor count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon
7 adults,
1 juvenile
1 adult,
1 juvenile



Merlin perched on driftwood
Merlin.
Ellen Pickell photo.


Bald Eagle feeding on a Dungeness Crab.
A Bald Eagle feeds on a Dungeness Crab.
Ellen Pickell photo.



Date: March 31, 2010
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Sandra Miller, and Dale Larson.


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



Raptor count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon
4 adults,
3 juveniles
1 adult



a one-year-old female peregrine
It's rare to find a peregrine as approachable as the one pictured here. This individual is A/4, a one-year-old female we banded in September of 2008. She is a regular on the Ocean Shores study area. Reading color bands through the scope would be SO much easier if they were all this cooperative!


Goose-neck barnacles cover a driftwood tree
Goose-neck barnacles cover a driftwood tree that washed ashore in a recent storm. The gulls in the background were feeding on the barnacles when we drove up. They walked off when we drove up in the vehicle.


Close-up of goose-neck barnacles.
Close-up of goose-neck barnacles.






Date: March 24, 2010
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Dale Larson, Jo Westcott, and Sandra Miller.

Comments: We were successful this morning in capturing a Bald Eagle near the Ocean Lake Way beach access at Ocean Shores. Bald Eagles had been feeding on a washed up Sea Lion carcass at this location for more than a week. We set up our netlauncher before dawn. Within half an hour of first light, an adult male arrived and began to feed. We had him under the net a short while later.

He was banded, measured and weighed. We took blood samples to use for molecular research and assessment of lead levels. We also took a tissue sample from the roof of the mouth to test for avian influenza.

We put a hood on the eagle while he was under the net.
We put a hood on the eagle while he was under the net.
Brian Sterling photo.


A hooded eagle is a calmer eagle, given that most of the sensory information they take in is through the eyes.
A hooded eagle is a calmer eagle, given that most of the sensory information they take in is through the eyes.
Brian Sterling photo.


Jo Westcott (left), Dan Varland and Sandra Miller.
Jo Westcott (left), Dan Varland and Sandra Miller.
Brian Sterling photo.


Spanaway Veterinarian Jo Westcott listens to the eagle's heart.
Spanaway Veterinarian Jo Westcott listens to the eagle's heart. His pulse was not racing, an indication of a calm bird. The hood and other material we used as restraints minimized the chance of injury to bird or bird handler. The wings and torso were secured with a cloth wrap called an aba. Legs, toes and talons were restrained with Velcro and Vet Wrap.
Brian Sterling photo.


Blood sampling from a bald eagle
Blood sampling went smoothly using this setup, a butterfly syringe and Vacutainer. The wings on the butterfly syringe help position the needle properly along the vein for the blood draw and the Vacutainer creates a suction that draws blood into the storage tube. Thanks go to wildlife biologist and Coastal Raptors Board Member Libby Mojica for suggesting we try this approach and for providing a supply of these materials to get us started.
Brian Sterling photo.


To test for avian influenza, we collected a tissue sample from the roof of the mouth.
To test for avian influenza, we collected a tissue sample from the roof of the mouth.
Brian Sterling photo.


I was glad that our eagle cooperated nicely as I took the Cranium, a measurement of skull and beak.
I was glad that our eagle cooperated nicely as I took the Cranium, a measurement of skull and beak.
Brian Sterling photo.






Date: March 18, 2010
Beach: Grayland
Observers: Dan Varland, Mary O'Neil, Ellen Pickell, and Oscar Wall.
Comments: We didn't see a single raptor on the study area during today's survey.


Wind turbine and crane east beyond the Grayland study area.
Wind turbine and crane east beyond the Grayland study area. This turbine is the first of four to be installed at this location. This wind farm has the distinction of being the first to be located right along the Pacific Coast.
Dan Varland photo.



Date: March 15, 2010
Beach: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Tom Rowley, Dale Larson, and Phil Seu.

Comments: We traveled to Long Beach for photography with visiting wildlife photographer Phil Seu. We were also prepared to capture and band peregrines, should the opportunity not interfere with Phil's mission: photographing peregrines in their natural coastal habitat. We saw three peregrines on this trip, including a first-year female we had banded in February, H/5. Phil took some great photos of an un-banded, first-year male peregrine that was not at all shy to our approach. After Phil's photo session, we were able to capture this individual. Banding became a bit of a problem, however. With the bird in hand I discovered that I had neglected to bring along the pop-rivet gun, a tool necessary for attaching color bands. As a result, this young peregrine is the only one from Coastal Raptors research not wearing bands on both legs. His right leg has a red Fish and Wildlife band. Please let us know if you see him around!

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



First-year male Peale's Peregrine Falcon.
First-year male Peale's Peregrine Falcon. Phil Seu photo.
Phil Seu photo.


Phil Seu with the banded peregrine, just before release.
Phil Seu with the banded peregrine, just before release.






Date: March 8, 2010
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Rob Palmer, Nick Dunlop, and Michelle Messimer.

Comments: While it was very windy this morning, we found and photographed a first-year Peale's peregrine feeding on a gull that it had just brought down.

Juvenile Peregrine Falcon struggles with a gull that it just captured.
Juvenile Peregrine Falcon struggles with a gull that it just captured.
Rob Palmer photo.


Juvenile Peregrine Falcon struggles with a gull that it just captured.
Rob Palmer photo.


Juvenile Peregrine Falcon struggles with a gull that it just captured.
Rob Palmer photo.


Juvenile Peregrine Falcon struggles with a gull that it just captured.
Rob Palmer photo.






Date: March 7, 2010
Beach: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Mary K. Kenney, Dan Miller, Libby Mojica, Dale Larson, Rob Palmer, Nick Dunlop, and Michelle Messimer.


Raptor count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon Merlin
5 adults,
4 juveniles
1 juvenile 1



Two juvenile Bald Eagles fighting over a driftwood perch
A first-year Bald Eagle gives a one-year-old a roundhouse kick to take the top spot on this driftwood log.
Rob Palmer photo.






Date: March 6, 2010
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Mary K. Kenney, Dan Miller, Libby Mojica, Scott Horton, Sue Keilman, Rob Palmer, Nick Dunlop, and Michelle Messimer.


Raptor count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon
3 juveniles 3 adults,
1 juvenile



Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon W/Z
Peregrine Falcon K/2
Peregrine Falcon A/4



Banded Tundra Peregrine Falcon landing on driftwood
K/2, a first-year Tundra Peregrine Falcon we captured and banded at Ocean Shores on January 23, 2010.
Rob Palmer photo.


Bald Eagle in flight
Four-year old Bald Eagle. While this is probably the same individual that Ron Miller photographed the day before in nearly the same location, we can't be sure (too bad he's not banded!).
Rob Palmer photo.






Date: March 5, 2010
Beach: Ocean Shores and Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Mary K. Kenney, Dan Miller, Sandra Miller, Ron Miller, Jan Miller, Libby Mojica, Scott Horton, Rob Palmer, Nick Dunlop, Michelle Messimer, and Ellen Pickell.

Comments: We set up for Bald Eagle capture and photography on the beach at Ocean Shores in the morning. In the afternoon we traveled to Long Beach for Peregrine Falcon capture and photography. While no birds were banded this day, we re-sighted two banded peregrines and got some great photos.


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



Close up of a Bald Eagle perched on wet sand
Four-year-old Bald Eagle.
Ron Miller photo.


Male Peregrine Falcon
W/Z, a male peregrine we banded in November of 2007 relaxes at Ocean Shores.
Ron Miller photo.


Mushrooms growing in sand
The Ocean Shores sand has enough moisture to grow mushrooms. Somehow, this doesn't surprise me!
Ron Miller photo.


Mushrooms growing in sand
Ron Miller photo.


Huge zoom camera lenses sticking out the windows of a Jeep parked on the beach
Visiting wildlife photographers Rob Palmer and Nick Dunlop take photos from their mobile blind.
Mary K. Kenney photo.


Rob and Nick photograph a peregrine taking a bath in a creek near the Quinault Casino.
Rob and Nick photograph a peregrine taking a bath in a creek near the Quinault Casino.
Mary K. Kenney photo.


Bathing peregrine falcon
The bathing bird is A/4, a peregrine we captured and banded on September 19, 2008.
Rob Palmer photo.


Bathing peregrine falcon
Rob Palmer photo.


Bathing peregrine falcon
Rob Palmer photo.


Merlin and Dungeness Crab shell.
Merlin and Dungeness Crab shell.
Rob Palmer photo.



Date: March 4, 2010
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Ron Westman, Bill Mayne, and Jo Westcott.


Raptor count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon Merlin
4 adults,
1 juvenile
1 adult,
1 juvenile
1



Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon W/Z