Notes from the Field (Winter 2012):

Date: February 20, 2012
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dave Murnen, Sandra Miller, Dann Sears and Mary O'Neil.


Raptor count:
Bald Eagle
9 adults,
1 juvenile

Bald Eagle.
Bald Eagle.
Dave Murnen photo.


Back of car with plastic bumper pierced by driftwood
This piece of driftwood decided to pierce the plastic bumper on my Toyota 4Runner. I'm just glad it missed the Turkey Vulture!
Dave Murnen photo.


Date: February 14, 2012
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observer: Dan Varland, Scott Ford, Don and Dalene Edgar
Comments: We turned our bait station into a trapping station by the addition of a bow net. Setting up before dawn, we waited to see if the Turkey Vultures would return to feed. Sure enough, they did! What a Valentine's Day present! We were able to capture one of the two individuals for tissue sampling. With the exception of the photo I took of her, all of the wonderful photos you see below were taken by Dalene Edgar.


Turkey Vultures
The Turkey Vultures flew in from the south at 1:15PM. Thirty minutes later we had one in hand.
Dalene Edgar photo.


Turkey Vultures
Dalene Edgar photo.


Turkey Vultures
Dalene Edgar photo.


Turkey Vultures
Dalene Edgar photo.


The trap is sprung.
The trap is sprung.
Dalene Edgar photo.



Dalene Edgar holds the vulture while we transport
Dalene Edgar holds the vulture while we transport him (or her!) away from the trapping station for processing. We were unable to sex this individual. With Turkey Vultures, the only way to do so is with a blood test. Given that we drew several blood samples from the bird, this option is open to us in the future.
Dan Varland photo.



Turkey Vulture close up
Given the color of the bill in front of the nostrils, we were able to identify this individual as at least one year of age. Younger Turkey Vultures have blackish bill tips that transition to the ivory color shown here.
Dalene Edgar photo.



Turkey Vulture wing tag we applied.
The wing tag we applied. The code can be read from top or bottom of the wing, which allows easy identification. The Bird Banding Lab will not allow application of leg bands to Turkey Vultures because they defecate on their legs (to stay cool when it's hot!). Feces can get caught between leg and band, causing abrasion.
Dalene Edgar photo.



L to R: Don Edgar, Scott Ford and I work together to get a wing chord measurement.
L to R: Don Edgar, Scott Ford and I work together to get a wing chord measurement.
Dalene Edgar photo.



Avian veterinarian Scott Ford performs a procedure
Avian veterinarian Scott Ford performs a procedure that flushes feces from the cloaca. This material was sent to a lab to assess for digestive tract parasites.
Dalene Edgar photo.



Two men holding a Turkey Vulture
Dalene Edgar photo.



Men releasing a Turkey Vulture
Dalene Edgar photo.




Date: February 13, 2012
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observer: Dan Varland
Comments: Today I checked the bait station, and, to my surprise, two Turkey Vultures were feeding on the porpoise remains. Turkey Vultures typically migrate south for the winter. Were these birds early migrants or did they winter here? While we cannot know the answer to that question, a Turkey Vulture was seen on the Grays Harbor Christmas Bird Count last December. Perhaps the bird observed then was one of these individuals.


Turkey Vultures
Turkey Vultures feeding on Harbor Porpoise carcass at bait station north of Ocean Shores.



Turkey Vultures




Turkey Vultures




Turkey Vultures





Date: February 10, 2012
Beach: Ocean Shores
Comments: I watched a necropsy of a Harbor Porpoise. The procedure was performed by the Cascadia Research Collective, a non-profit marine mammal research and education organization based in Olympia, Washington. After the necropsy, I retained some of the Harbor Porpoise remains for use in trapping avian scavengers in the area. Don't try this yourself! I have a special letter of authorization from NOAA for this activity. To find out more about our study, which is a cooperative involving many other organizations, see the Coastal Raptors Newsletter published last December.


Measuring the Harbor Porpoise.
Measuring the Harbor Porpoise.



The necropsy crew from Cascadia Research Collective, L to R: Jessie Huggins, Dave Anderson and Elana.
The necropsy crew from Cascadia Research Collective, L to R: Jessie Huggins, Dave Anderson and Elana.



Cause of death was not apparent from the field examination.
Cause of death was not apparent from the field examination. Many organs and organ parts were bagged for lab analysis at a later time.




Date: February 5, 2012
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dave Murnen, Alex Bruner, Dianna Moore, Sandra Miller.


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



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



a one-year-old female Peregrine Falcon.
The highlight of this survey was recapturing P/5, a one-year-old female Peregrine Falcon. She was captured for banding on December 11, 2010, and was recaptured for the first time this day for tissue sampling. P/5 has been re-sighted six times, always on the Ocean Shores study area.



Date: February 2, 2012
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Scott Ford, Glenn Johnson, Aaron Louchs, and John Korvell.
We put a beaver carcass out today north of Ocean Shores in an effort to catch a bald eagle or two with a bow net. The only raptor interested was this peregrine. This tops our observations of R/2 scavenging a Brown Pelican a few years ago at Long Beach.


Un-banded juvenile Peregrine Falcon scavenging at beaver carcass.
Un-banded juvenile Peregrine Falcon scavenging at beaver carcass. Her crop was quite full!
Dan Varland photo.








Date: January 24, 2012
Beach: Grayland
Observers: Dan Varland, Dave Murnen, Pat Beaty, and Richard Pryor.


Raptor count:
Bald Eagle
6 adults,
2 juveniles




Date: January 14, 2012
Beach: Grayland
Observers: Dan Varland, Aaron and Bill Dyer.
Comments: Despite steady rain and winds averaging over 15 miles per hour, we saw two Bald Eagles on this survey. One took off over the ocean looking for breakfast. We lost track of him as he flew north.


Raptor count:
Bald Eagle
2 adults




Date: January 11, 2012
Beach: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Mike Walker, Suzy Whittey and Mary O'Neil.


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



Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon P/4
Peregrine Falcon D/5



Long Beach resident Suzy Whittey with P/4, a 2-year old female Peregrine Falcon.
Long Beach resident Suzy Whittey with P/4, a 2-year old female Peregrine Falcon. We recaptured P/4 today to obtain blood and feather samples. Dave Murnen, Dan Miller and I banded her during an Ocean Shores survey on October 30, 2009. She's been observed 24 times since then, twice at Ocean Shores and 22 times at Long Beach.
Dan Varland photo.


P/4 has worn these bands for 803 days.
P/4 has worn these bands for 803 days.
Dan Varland photo.



Date: January 7, 2012
Beach: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Dan Miller, Suzy Whittey, Scott Ford, and John Korvell.
Comments: With capture and banding of two Peregrine Falcons and the recapture for tissue sampling of two more, we had a most remarkable day. Indeed, the excitement started before we even got to the beach. Check out the photos below and see Dan Miller's essay, The Great Adventure.
Miller's Obiter Dictum


Raptor count:
Peregrine Falcon Bald Eagles
3 adults,
2 juveniles
4 adults,
7 juveniles



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



Raptors Banded:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon Y/6
Peregrine Falcon M/2



a first-year male Peregrine Falcon we captured and banded.
John Korvell with M/2, a first-year male Peregrine Falcon we captured and banded. With the exception of this fine photo by Suzy Whittey, all photos that follow were taken by John. I'm very pleased to be able to share his images with you. He's a very talented photographer!
Photo by John Korvell.


Bands on 9-year-old female Peregrine Falcon V/V.
Bands on 9-year-old female Peregrine Falcon V/V. It would be fascinating to know where she's been sicne we banded her at 8 months of age on January 19, 2003. Over the years we have seen her 14 times, recapturing her for blood and feather samples on 6 occasions. Given today's encounter, V/V now holds the record of longest span between capture and re-sighting: 3,275 days. At 8.9 years of age, this is 40 days longer than the previous record holder, peregrine 8/7 from Ocean Shores.
Photo by John Korvell.


V/V relaxes in the arms of Scott Ford.
V/V relaxes in the arms of Scott Ford.
Photo by John Korvell.


V/V.
V/V.
Photo by John Korvell.


V/V.
V/V.
Photo by John Korvell.


Dunlin.
Dunlin.
Photo by John Korvell.


The crew gets ready to band M/2.
The crew gets ready to band M/2.
Photo by John Korvell.


Dan Varland with M/2.
Dan Varland with M/2.
Photo by John Korvell.


Scott Ford with D/5, a 2-year-old female peregrine
Scott Ford with D/5, a 2-year-old female peregrine we recaptured for blood and feather sampling. She was banded at Long Beach on February 25, 2010.
Photo by John Korvell.


D/5 gets a leg measurement.
D/5 gets a leg measurement.
Photo by John Korvell.


Breast feathers of D/5.
Breast feathers of D/5.
Photo by John Korvell.


Dan Miller with Y/6, a first-year female peregrine we captured and banded.
Dan Miller with Y/6, a first-year female peregrine we captured and banded.
Photo by John Korvell.


Y/6.
Y/6.
Photo by John Korvell.


Dan Miller releases Y/6.
Dan Miller releases Y/6.
Photo by John Korvell.



Date: : December 31, 2011
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dave Murnen, Dann Sears, Alex Bruner and Dianna Moore.


Raptor count:
Bald Eagle Northern Harrier Merlin
2 adults 2 1




Dianna Moore (left), Dann Sears and Alex Bruner.
Dave Murnen photo.



A look down the beach north toward Conner Creek.
Dianna Moore photo.



Date: : December 29, 2011
Beach: Grayland
Observers: Dave Murnen and John Korvell.


Raptor count:
Bald Eagle
3 adults




Date: : December 22, 2011
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Dave Murnen, Alex Bruner, Charlie and Ariel Varland.


Raptor count:
Peregrine Falcon
3 juveniles



Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon A/04



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



Falcon being held
After we captured this first-year male peregrine, we were very pleased to see that he was already banded. Dave Murnen, Tom Bloxton and I banded him as a nestling in the Twin Harbors area on June 5, 2011.
Ariel Varland photo.


close up of toothbrush being used to clean bands on falcon's leg
A/04's color band was dirty, so we used a toothbrush to clean it up.
Ariel Varland photo.


Two men holding a falcon
Dan Varland holds A/04 while Dave Murnen cleans his band.
Ariel Varland photo.


Man using his teeth to pull one of the straps on falcon's hood.
Using his teeth to pull one of the straps, Dave Murnen removes A/04's hood.
Ariel Varland photo.


Fuzzy, young falcon being held after banding
A/04 on the day he was banded. He was 25 days old at the time.
Dan Varland photo.


Close up of leg band on falcon
This close-up shot of A/04's band also shows his tail feathers growing in when we banded him in June.
Dan Varland photo.


Man holding falcon's wings stretched out
Dave Murnen with A/04.
Ariel Varland photo.


Man holding falcon's wings stretched out - view of back
A/04.
Ariel Varland photo.


Close up of tool used to apply bands to falcon's leg
Applying the color band A/5 to a first-year female Peregrine Falcon we caught.
Ariel Varland photo.


Close up of banded legs
Close up of banded legs
Ariel Varland photo.


Man holding falcon's wings stretched out
Dan Varland with A/5.
Ariel Varland photo.


Man holding falcon's wings stretched out - view of back
A/5.
Ariel Varland photo.



Date: : December 11, 2011
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Murnen, Dianna Moore, Dan and Sandra Miller.


Raptor count:
Peregrine Falcon Bald Eagle
2 adults 1 adult



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



Bald Eagle perched on sign
This signage does not apply to Bald Eagles.
Dan Miller photo.


Blackbirds perching in dune grass.
Blackbirds perching in dune grass.
Dan Miller photo.



Date: : December 8, 2011
Beach: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Mike Walker, Scott Ford, Aaron Lochs, and Ellen Sweetin.


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



Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Bald Eagle D/2



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



Bald Eagle watches a distressed sea lion, which landed on shore with the receding tide.
Bald Eagle watches a distressed sea lion, which landed on shore with the receding tide.
Dan Varland photo.


one-year old female Peregrine Falcon
D/2, a one-year old female Peregrine Falcon we re-captured today to take blood and feather samples. We banded her at Long Beach on December 19, 2010, 5.4 miles north of today's recapture point.
Dan Varland photo.


first-year male Peregrine Falcon
Mike Walker with B/3, a first-year male Peregrine Falcon we captured and banded today.
Dan Varland photo.


first-year male Peregrine Falcon
B/3.
Dan Varland photo.



Date: : December 3, 2011
Beach: Long Beach
Participants: Dan Varland, Scott Horton, Jerry Broadus, and Tim Pitz.
Comments: We saw a record number of Peregrine Falcons on the beach today: seven!


Raptor count:
Peregrine Falcon Bald Eagle Snowy Owl Northern Harrier Merlin
4 adults,
3 juveniles
5 Adults 1 1 1



Raptors Captured and Banded:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon A/2



Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Bald Eagle V/V



A/2, a first-year male Peregrine Falcon.
A/2, a first-year male Peregrine Falcon.
Dan Varland photo.


male Peregrine Falcon
A/2.
Dan Varland photo.


Left to right: Scott Horton, Jerry Broadus and Tim Pitz collecting data on Peregrine Falcon A/2.
Left to right: Scott Horton, Jerry Broadus and Tim Pitz collecting data on Peregrine Falcon A/2.
Dan Varland photo.