Notes from the Field (Summer 2013):

Date: August 27, 2013
Location: North side of Grays Harbor, Washington
Observers: Dan Varland, Trish Safstrom and Joey Wayman.

Raptors Banded:
Species Color Marker Code
Turkey Vulture AL



What contrast! After driving more than 1,000 miles to Oregon and back last week, we trapped, wing-tagged and tissue-sampled a vulture 200 feet from the Coastal Raptors home base on the north side of Grays Harbor. Thanks much to Ed Wayman, my neighbor to the north who allowed us to trap in his yard.



Call me Al!
Dan Varland photo.



Joey Wayman releases AL.





Date: August 19-21, 2013
Location: coastal pasture land north of Port Orford, Oregon
Observers: Dan Varland, Glenn Marquardt, Larry Warwick, Joe Metzler, Garth Herring and John Pierce.

Raptors Banded:
Species Color Marker Code
Turkey Vulture AT
Turkey Vulture AM


Silver SUV hooked up to a trailer
A new trailer for Coastal Raptors, ready for the trip to southwest Oregon for Turkey Vulture trapping.
Dan Varland photo.


Three men in a grassy field assembling the net launcher
Larry Warwick (left), Garth Herring (center) and John Pierce add grass to hide the net launcher. We set up on ranch land less than a quarter mile from the ocean.
Dan Varland photo.


Sheep carcasses laid out before the net launcher
We used sheep carcasses as bait to lure in vultures. The net launcher can be seen in the background. This set was out for several days. Never did a single vulture land near the bait. In retrospect, we think the vultures were suspicious of our set- up. We had a second net launcher set over the hill from the one shown here. We caught two birds there. That set was less conspicuous, as the launcher was set at the base of a tree.
Dan Varland photo.


Man holding a turkey vulture
Garth Hearing with Turkey Vulture AM and Glenn Marquardt taking field notes.
Dan Varland photo.


Garth Herring attaches wing tag AT to one of the Turkey Vultures while John Pierce holds the bird steady.
Garth Herring attaches wing tag AT to one of the Turkey Vultures while John Pierce holds the bird steady.
Dan Varland photo.


Two men looking up from table where vulture has been tagged
Mission accomplished!
Dan Varland photo.


Man holding vulture in a sling that weighs it
Joe Metzler gets a weight on one of the vultures. This summer Joe worked as an intern for Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. After a 23-year career as a rescue swimmer for the Coast Guard, Joe has had several jobs working in fisheries and wildlife.
Dan Varland photo.


Sweatshirt ebroidered with CGAS Kodiak Rescue Swimmer
Joe's sweatshirt. Joe did several Coast Guard tours in Kodiak, Alaska. We heard some great stories from his years there!
Dan Varland photo.





Date: July 11-12, 2013
Location: On the beach about 1.5 miles north of Cape Meares in Oregon
Observers: Dan Varland, Will Dixon, and Glenn Marquardt.

Raptors Banded:
Species Color Marker Code
Turkey Vulture AK


Glenn Markquardt (left) and Will Dixon
Glenn Markquardt (left) and Will Dixon chat while we wait for avian scavengers to arrive at our trap site north of Cape Meares in Oregon.
Dan Varland photo.


Will is a wood carver. He occupied his time working on a snake carving from corkscrew willow.
Will is a wood carver. He occupied his time working on a snake carving from corkscrew willow.
Dan Varland photo.


Every scale is meticulously and accurately hand-carved.
Every scale is meticulously and accurately hand-carved.
Dan Varland photo.


This guy was carved out of a branch off the main trunk.
This guy was carved out of a branch off the main trunk.
Dan Varland photo.


Will Dixon with AK, an adult Turkey Vulture we captured and wing-tagged.
Will Dixon with AK, an adult Turkey Vulture we captured and wing-tagged.
Dan Varland photo.


AK up close.
AK up close.
Dan Varland photo.



Video of the release of AK.





Date: June 21, 2013
Location: Seward, Alaska
Observers: Dan Varland, Sue Varland and Uli Brauner

Man and woman with grass-lined water and mountains behind them
Tasha DiMarzio and me at the airport in Seward, Alaska. Tasha is a biologist at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward. During a bird survey of habitat at the Seward airport on May 1, 2013, Tasha and another surveyor sighted a peregrine feeding on a Pintail. They noticed the bird had a visual identification band and were able to read the code: Y/6. We banded Y/6 on January 7, 2012 at Long Beach, Washington as a first-year female. Tasha saw Y/6 on the log over her left shoulder. This location marks the furthest north any peregrine banded in the Coastal Raptors study has been seen.
Sue Varland photo.


Color band Y/6 on the day of banding.
Color band Y/6 on the day of banding.
John Korvell photo.


Dan Miller with Y/6.
Dan Miller with Y/6.
John Korvell photo.


Dan Miller releases Y/6 after banding.
Dan Miller releases Y/6 after banding.
John Korvell photo.


re-sighting of Y/6
Tasha reported the re-sighting of Y/6 to the federal Bird Banding Lab in Laurel, Maryland. Shortly thereafter the lab notified me of her observation.
Dan Varland photo.


Sue and I, together with our friend Uli
As luck would have it, Sue and I, together with our friend Uli, had planned a vacation to Alaska that included a stop in Seward. We met Tasha and took a trip out to see where Y/6 had been spotted.



Video of the location where Y/6 was observed in Seward, Alaska.


Suzanne Staples with Y/6
Suzanne Staples with Y/6 on November 10, 2012. Prior to the Alaska re-sighting, Y/6 was re-sighted on the Washington coast twice. Cindie Sundstrom, biologist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, saw Y/6 during a Snowy Plover nesting survey she was conducting at Midway Beach south of Grayland on April 24, 2012. After that, on November 10, 2012, Julie Bent, Tom Rowley, Suzanne Staples and I re-captured Y/6 for blood and feather sampling during a survey at Long Beach.
Dan Varland photo.


Y/6 on November 10, 2012.
Y/6 on November 10, 2012.
Dan Varland photo.





Date: June 13, 2013
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Kelsey Klein, and Trish Safstrom

Raptors Banded:
Species Color Marker Code
Turkey Vulture AX
Turkey Vulture AY
Turkey Vulture AV


we wait for avian scavengers to arrive at our trap site near Connor Creek
Trish Safstrom (left) and Kelsey Klein chat while we wait for avian scavengers to arrive at our trap site near Connor Creek.
Dan Varland photo.


We capture three adult turkey vultures with the net launcher at 10:30AM.
We capture three adult turkey vultures with the net launcher at 10:30AM.
Kelsey Klein photo.


We put one of the vultures in the basket Kelsey is holding.
We put one of the vultures in the basket Kelsey is holding. The basket was donated to Coastal Raptors by Will Dixon for this very purpose. The other two vultures were held in the yellow avian transporters.
Dan Varland photo.


Basket case!
Basket case!
Dan Varland photo.


Kelsey with AY.
Kelsey with AY.
Dan Varland photo.


AV and Kelsey.
AV and Kelsey.
Dan Varland photo.


Trish with AX.
Trish with AX.
Dan Varland photo.



Video of the release of K/7.
Dan Varland video.


Fin whale washed up on the beach north of Ocean City.
While on a recon mission on June 12, the evening before our trapping adventure, I found this fin whale washed up on the beach north of Ocean City. I notified the Marine Mammal Stranding Network of the stranding via iPhone from the field.
Dan Varland photo.



Marine Mammal Stranding Network personnel doing a necropsy on the whale on June 13. They said it died from "blunt force trauma". No doubt it collided with a ship. The whale was 78 feet long and weighed in the neighborhood of 78 tons. Whalers and whale scientists alike estimate whale weight at 1 ton per foot of their length.

Sad to lose this animal, especially because the species population status is uncertain in the north Pacific Ocean .
Dan Varland photo.





Date: June 7, 2013
Location: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Mary Kay Kenney, David Kenney, Philip Kenney, Sam Kenney, Suzy Whittey and Ellen Sweetin.

Raptors Banded:
Species Color Marker Code
Common Raven RSYLOG


Sea lion carcass (bait) and net launcher at dawn.
Sea lion carcass (bait) and net launcher at dawn.
Dan Varland photo.


Sam Kenney watches the trap.
Sam Kenney watches the trap.
Suzy Whittey photo.


Philip Kenney prepares an avian transporter
Philip Kenney prepares an avian transporter for the temporary holding of any avian scavengers we might capture.
Suzy Whittey photo.


adult common raven
Mary Kay handles an adult common raven we capture.
Sam Kenney photo.


Dan Varland with our raven.
Dan Varland with our raven.
Ellen Sweetin photo.


Colored leg bands and the US Fish & Wildlife band (top right leg) on our raven.
Colored leg bands and the US Fish & Wildlife band (top right leg) on our raven. His color marker code is RSYLOG, which stands for "right silver yellow, left orange gray".
Suzy Whittey photo.


Obtaining a blood sample from common raven.
Obtaining a blood sample from RSYLOG.
Suzy Whittey photo.





Date: June 6, 2013
Location: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Mary Kay Kenney, David Kenney, Philip Kenney, Sam Kenney, Suzy Whittey and Ellen Sweetin.

Raptor count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon Turkey Vultures
7 2 1


Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon H/7


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



Mary Kay and sons Sam (left) and Philip with K/7, a one-year old female Peregrine Falcon we captured.
Dan Varland photo.



Photo from the past! Here the Kenney boys, Philip on the left and Sam on the right, pose with Suzanne Tomlinson holding W/X on January 22, 2006.
Mary Kay Kenney photo.



Back view of K/7 revealing the molt and broken tail feathers.
Dan Varland photo.



Video of the release of K/7.
Dan Varland video.





Date: June 5, 2013
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Varland, Mary Kay Kenney, David Kenney, Philip Kenney, and Sam Kenney.

Raptor count:
Bald Eagle
6 adults,
3 juveniles


Adult Bald Eagle.
Adult Bald Eagle.
David Kenney photo.


RV on beach flying a skull and crossbones flag
Pirate ship!
Dan Varland photo.