Notes from the Field (Fall 2012):

Date: November 16, 2012
Beach: Grayland
Observers: Dan Varland, Dale Larson and Mary O'Neil.

Raptor count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon
1 juvenile 1 juvenile


first-year Brown Pelican
We saw this first-year Brown Pelican, which allowed close approach. We didn't think he was feeling well.
Dan Varland photo.




Date: November 11, 2012
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dave Murnen, Dan Miller, Heather Carnocki, and Jackie Vincent.

Raptor count:
Snowy Owl Bald Eagle Northern Harrier
4 3 adults 1


Snowy Owls
Last winter and into spring, the Ocean Shores Peninsula hosted about a dozen Snowy Owls. They were most often seen at Damon Point, which is at the south end of the Peninsula and off our survey route. Perhaps this winter will we will have similar numbers of snowys. Four were observed during the survey today, including this first-year female. In Snowy Owls, females are more heavily marked than males and juveniles of both sexes are more heavily marked than adults.
Dan Miller photo.


This is an adult male Snowy Owl, given its light markings.
This is an adult male Snowy Owl, given its light markings.
Dan Miller photo.


This bird also appears to be an adult male Snowy Owl, given its light markings.
This bird also appears to be an adult male Snowy Owl, given its light markings.
Dan Miller photo.


Sadly, the survey team also ran across a dead, first-year female. The carcass had been scavenged.
Sadly, the survey team also ran across a dead, first-year female. The carcass had been scavenged.
Dan Miller photo.




Date: November 10, 2012
Beach: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Suzanne Staples, Tom Rowley, and Julia Bent.

Raptor count:
Peregrine Falcon Northern Harrier
2 juveniles,
2 adults
2


Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon Y/6


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


During our survey we ran across a female Snow Bunting in winter plumage. What a beautiful bird!
During our survey we ran across a female Snow Bunting in winter plumage.
What a beautiful bird!
What a photo by Tom Rowley!


We also managed to capture two Peregrine Falcons
We also managed to capture two Peregrine Falcons, minutes apart. Julia Bent (right) holds one, a first-year female, and Suzanne Staples holds the other, a second-year female. The second year female is one we had captured and banded during a survey at Long Beach on January 7, 2012. Her colored leg band is Y/6. We recaptured her during our survey today to obtain blood and feather samples.
Tom Rowley photo.


Julia with the first-year peregrine, which we banded with colored leg band H/7.
Julia with the first-year peregrine, which we banded with colored leg band H/7.
Tom Rowley photo.


H/7.
H/7.
Tom Rowley photo.


We found H/7 taking a short walk not long after we released her.
We found H/7 taking a short walk not long after we released her.
Tom Rowley photo.


Near dark, hours after banding, we saw H/7 again. This time she was scavenging an Eared Grebe
Near dark, hours after banding, we saw H/7 again. This time she was scavenging an Eared Grebe.
Tom Rowley photo.


Suzanne Staples shows off Y/6.
Suzanne Staples shows off Y/6.
Dan Varland photo.


Y/6.
Y/6.
Dan Varland photo.


Y/6, showing retention of some brown feathers from her first-year plumage.
Y/6, showing retention of some brown feathers from her first-year plumage.
Tom Rowley photo.


Red-winged Blackbirds over the dunes.
Red-winged Blackbirds over the dunes.
Tom Rowley photo.


The blackbirds settled in to feed on European Beach Grass seeds.
The blackbirds settled in to feed on European Beach Grass seeds.
Tom Rowley photo.




Date: October 28, 2012
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Dianna Moore, Dave Murnen, Sandra Miller, Dan Miller, and Barb McDowell.


Raptor count:
Peregrine Falcon Bald Eagle
1 juvenile;
2 adults
3 adults



Raptors Banded:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon V/6
Peregrine Falcon D/7


We saw this first-year female Peregrine Falcon feeding on a gull.
We saw this first-year female Peregrine Falcon feeding on a gull.
Barb McDowell photo.


We flushed her off her the gull and set our trap. She returned to feed at the trap site and was captured.
We flushed her off her the gull and set our trap. She returned to feed at the trap site and was captured.
Barb McDowell photo.


We banded her with color band D/7.
We banded her with color band D/7.


D/7.
D/7.
Dan Miller photo.


We captured an adult female peregrine with a separate trap at nearly the same time we caught the first-year peregrine. Here Dave Murnen (right) and I show the birds, both of which were the coastal subspecies, Falco peregrinus pealei.
We captured an adult female peregrine with a separate trap at nearly the same time we caught the first-year peregrine. Here Dave Murnen (right) and I show the birds, both of which were the coastal subspecies, Falco peregrinus pealei.
Dan Miller photo.


We banded the adult with color band V/6.
We banded the adult with color band V/6.


V/6 had one brown scapular from her first-year plumage.
V/6 had one brown scapular from her first-year plumage.
Dan Varland photo.


Sandra Miller with V/6.
Sandra Miller with V/6.
Barb McDowell photo.


Sandra was wearing her good luck peregrine ear rings!
Sandra was wearing her good luck peregrine ear rings!
Dan Varland photo.





Date: October 11, 2012
Beach: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Suzy Whittey, Chris Dysart and Kelly Wolff.

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


Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Bald Eagle M/R


Raptors Banded:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon R/6
Peregrine Falcon A/2


Bald eagle perched on sand
We saw Bald Eagle M/R on the beach today. On April 12 of this year, we banded this adult male for the avian scavenger health and disease study. We saw him less than a mile from where he was captured, banded and tissue sampled.
2012 field work for avian scavenger study (1.2mb pdf).



Banded, peregrine falcon being held with wings stretched out.
R/6, a first-year female Peregrine Falcon. R/6 was one of two peregrines captured and banded on the beach today. Based on measurements and plumage characteristics, I classified both as the Tundra Peregrine Falcon subspecies (Falco peregrinus tundrius). Tundra peregrines are rare on Washington beaches. Of 153 Peregrine Falcons captured and banded to date, these two bring the total number of tundra peregrines banded to six. We have classified more than 80% (126 of 153) of the peregrines we have banded as the darker plumaged and larger coastal subspecies, Falco peregrinus pealei. Joe Buchanan, Tracy Fleming and I published a paper in Washington Birds on the occurrence of tundra peregrines in Washington:
Tundra Peregrine Occurrence in WA.pdf (4.2MB).



Hooded peregrine falcon being held - viewed from back.
This view of R/6 features light brown edgings to wing and back feathers, plumage features characteristic of the tundra peregrine subspecies.



3 people on beach.  Man holding peregrine falcon.
Chris Dysart (center) and Kelly Wolff of Gig Harbor, Washington, joined Suzy Whittey and me in the field. Chris and Kelly had the winning bid at an auction sponsored by the West Sound Wildlife Shelter of Bainbridge Island. Coastal Raptors offered this auction item to lend financial support West Sound Wildlife.
Suzy Whittey photo.



Man holding peregrine falcon on beach.
Chris Dysart just before release R/6.
Suzy Whittey photo.



peregrine falcon on perched on sandy beach
The second peregrine we captured, also a tundra peregrine, feeds on a bird before capture.
Suzy Whittey photo.


Kelly Wolff secures the hood on the second peregrine we captured, a first-year male.
Kelly Wolff secures the hood on the second peregrine we captured, a first-year male.
Chris Dysart photo.


We apply a Velcro-secured wrap.
We apply a Velcro-secured wrap.
Chris Dysart photo.


We gave him Visual Identification band A/2.
We gave him Visual Identification band A/2.
Chris Dysart photo.


We use a pop-rivet gun to apply the Visual Identification band.
We use a pop-rivet gun to apply the Visual Identification band.
Chris Dysart photo.


We use needle-nose pliers to apply the US Fish and Wildlife Service band.
We use needle-nose pliers to apply the US Fish and Wildlife Service band.
Chris Dysart photo.


Kelly Wolff with A/2.
Kelly Wolff with A/2.
Chris Dysart photo.


I measure the culmen while Kelly holds the bird and Suzy Whittey logs the data on the data sheet.
I measure the culmen while Kelly holds the bird and Suzy Whittey logs the data on the data sheet.


Obtaining a feather sample.
Obtaining a feather sample.
Chris Dysart photo.


Prepping to take a blood sample.
Prepping to take a blood sample.
Chris Dysart photo.


Lining up the needle for the blood draw.
Lining up the needle for the blood draw.
Chris Dysart photo.


A/2 is calm during the blood draw, and so are we!
A/2 is calm during the blood draw, and so are we!
Chris Dysart photo.


A/2 got impatient with our poking and prodding and began to call during the just-before-release photo session.
A/2 got impatient with our poking and prodding and began to call during the just-before-release photo session.
Chris Dysart photo.


A/2.
A/2.
Chris Dysart photo.


Away.
Away.
Chris Dysart photo.