Notes from the Field (Winter 2013):

Date: February 27, 2013
Beach: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Mary Kay Kenney, Sandra Miller, Will and Betsy Dixon, David and Wendy Close, Todd and Chris Peterson, and Bruce and Christy Schwager.

Raptor count:
Bald Eagle
6 adults,
4 juveniles


A young Bald Eagle calls as an adult approaches.
A young Bald Eagle calls as an adult approaches.
Mary Kay Kenney photo.


The adult eagle settles in next to the juvenile.
The adult eagle settles in next to the juvenile.
Mary Kay Kenney photo.


After our survey we saw this Snowy Owl perched on a roof- top house near the dunes in Long Beach.
After our survey we saw this Snowy Owl perched on a roof- top house near the dunes in Long Beach.
Mary Kay Kenney photo.


The snowy didn't stay long after we noticed him.
The snowy didn't stay long after we noticed him.
Mary Kay Kenney photo.




Date: February 18, 2013
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Sandra Miller, Trish Satstrom, Tom Rowley, Dave Murnen and John Korvell.

Raptor count:
Bald Eagle
4 adults,
7 juveniles


A raven takes flight at our approach during the survey.
A raven takes flight at our approach during the survey.
Tom Rowley photo.


Another raven walks away from a Dungeness Crab it had been picking at as we stopped to get a photo.
Another raven walks away from a Dungeness Crab it had been picking at as we stopped to get a photo.
Tom Rowley photo.


An adult Bald Eagle.
An adult Bald Eagle.
Tom Rowley photo.


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


Dave Murnen looks out at an eagle perched on the beach during our survey.
Dave Murnen looks out at an eagle perched on the beach during our survey.
John Korvell photo.


A two-year-old Bald Eagle and an adult perch atop a wooden salmon along the survey route.
A two-year-old Bald Eagle and an adult perch atop a wooden salmon along the survey route.
Tom Rowley photo.


We found a dead Stellar Sea Lion that was deposited with the receding tide.
We found a dead Stellar Sea Lion that was deposited with the receding tide.
John Korvell photo.


Claws on the sea lion's flippers.
Claws on the sea lion's flippers.
John Korvell photo.


Moving the dead sea lion above the high tide line
Knowing that the Marine Mammal Stranding Network would want to come get the carcass for necropsy and that the next high tide would take the Stellar out to sea, we decided to move the animal to a location above the high tide line. Here we use our feet to position the toe line.
John Korvell photo.


Dave Murnen with the toe line positioned around the sea lion.
Dave Murnen with the toe line positioned around the sea lion.
John Korvell photo.


We pulled the sea lion to a location above the high tide line
We pulled the sea lion to a location above the high tide line and left it there. I sent photos and information on the carcass location to Dyanna Lambourn of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network.
John Korvell photo.




Date: February 1, 2013
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Mike Walker, Jerry Broadus and Trish Satstrum.

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


Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon K/6
1 juvenile M/U


a first-year female Peregrine Falcon
Mike Walker with K/6, a first-year female Peregrine Falcon that we had captured and banded last December. We did not realize until she was in hand that this individual was a recent capture. We try to re-capture already-banded birds once each year to obtain blood and feather samples.
Dan Varland photo.


Leg bands on our captured peregrine.
Leg bands on our captured peregrine. Since we had taken tissue samples in December, we released K/6 right away after taking a few photos.
Dan Varland photo.


M/U, a Bald Eagle we had captured
We were very pleased to see M/U, a Bald Eagle we had captured and banded on the beach north of Ocean Shores on February 27, 2009.
Dan Varland photo.


Dave Murnen got a talon through the finger on the day M/U was banded.
Dave Murnen got a talon through the finger on the day M/U was banded. To help remember the occasion and the bird involved, we chose color band “M/U” (for “Murnen”) for this eagle.
Dan Varland photo.


Brian Bedrosian (left), Dave Murnen (center) and me with M/U on banding day.
Brian Bedrosian (left), Dave Murnen (center) and me with M/U on banding day.
Brian Sterling photo.


Dave with M/U
Dave with M/U just before release on February 27, 2009. M/U was a one-year-old then.
Dan Varland photo.


M/U flying in to feed on a seal carcass
M/U flying in to feed on a seal carcass at Ocean Shores on February 1, 2013.
Dan Varland photo.


M/U, a 5-year-old in full adult plumage
M/U, now a 5-year-old in full adult plumage, feeding at a harbor seal carcass.
Dan Varland photo.


M/U feeding
While M/U was feeding, four other eagles, another adult and three juveniles, stood watching within several hundred yards.
Dan Varland photo.


Though M/U was clearly the dominant feeder at the carcass, this first-year juvenile Bald Eagle also got a chance.
Though M/U was clearly the dominant feeder at the carcass, this first-year juvenile Bald Eagle also got a chance.
Dan Varland photo.




Date: January 19, 2013
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Dave Murnen, Dianna Moore, Mike Walker, and Larry Warwick.

Raptor count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon
3 adults,
1 juvenile
1 adult,
1 age unknown


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


A big wave just offshore.
A big wave just offshore.
Dan Varland photo.


Mike Walker (left) and Dave Murnen work together to apply bands to an adult male Peregrine Falcon captured on the beach this morning.
Mike Walker (left) and Dave Murnen work together to apply bands to an adult male Peregrine Falcon captured on the beach this morning.
Dan Varland photo.


Our peregrine received visual identification band M/5 and US Fish and Wildlife Service band 816-64953.
Our peregrine received visual identification band M/5 and US Fish and Wildlife Service band 816-64953.
Dan Varland photo.


Close up of peregrine falcon being held on beach.
Dan Varland photo.


Close up of peregrine falcon being held on beach.
Dan Varland photo.


Close up of peregrine falcon being held on beach.
Dan Varland photo.




Date: January 15, 2013
Beach: Grayland
Observers: Dan Varland, Sandra Miller, Larry Warwick, and Dale Larson

Raptor count:
Bald Eagle
4 adults


Bald Eagle at sunrise.
Bald Eagle at sunrise.
Dan Varland photo.


Local wind turbines at sunrise.
Local wind turbines at sunrise.
Dan Varland photo.


Root wad just north of Washaway Beach.
Root wad just north of Washaway Beach.
Dan Varland photo.


Crab boat just offshore.
Crab boat just offshore.
Dan Varland photo.


Unfortunate homeowner at Washaway Beach south of Grayland.
Unfortunate homeowner at Washaway Beach south of Grayland.
Dan Varland photo.


At Washaway, first goes the yard, then the house!
At Washaway, first goes the yard, then the house!
Dan Varland photo.




Date: January 5, 2013
Beach: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Scott Horton, Mike Walker, Jerry Broadus, and Suzy Whittey.

Raptor count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon Rough-legged Hawk Snowy Owl
3 adults,
3 juveniles
1 adult,
1 juvenile
1 juvenile 1 adult


Raptors Banded:
Species Color Marker Code
Rough-legged Hawk 4


Sadly, we found a Sanderling that had been hit by a vehicle not far from North Head at the south end of the Long Beach peninsula.
Sadly, we found a Sanderling that had been hit by a vehicle not far from North Head at the south end of the Long Beach peninsula.
Dan Varland photo.


Mike Walker with a first-year female Rough-legged Hawk that we captured at the north end of the peninsula.
Mike Walker with a first-year female Rough-legged Hawk that we captured at the north end of the peninsula.
Dan Varland photo.


Jerry Broadus with the hawk.
Jerry Broadus with the hawk.
Dan Varland photo.


Hawk being held with it's wings outstretched
Dan Varland photo.


red-anodized Fish and Wildlife Service band to one leg and a red plastic band number 4 to the other
We applied a red-anodized Fish and Wildlife Service band to one leg and a red plastic band number 4 to the other. The Rough-legged Hawk is one of three North American hawk species with feathered legs; the other two are the Ferruginous Hawk and the Golden Eagle.
Dan Varland photo.


This is only the second Rough-legged Hawk we have captured.
This is only the second Rough-legged Hawk we have captured and banded since surveys began in 1995. This first was a male that we captured less than a mile from this location back on March 10, 2002.
Dan Varland photo.


First-year Rough-legged Hawks, such as this one, have light-brown irises. Irises change to dark brown in adult birds.
First-year Rough-legged Hawks, such as this one, have light-brown irises. Irises change to dark brown in adult birds.
Dan Varland photo.


Mike Walker (right) and Jerry Broadus feed our hawk before release.
Mike Walker (right) and Jerry Broadus feed our hawk before release.
Dan Varland photo.




Date: December 28, 2012
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dave Murnen, Dan Miller, Alex Bruner, and Scott Ford.

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


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



Date: December 24, 2012
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan, Charlie and Ariel Varland; Dianna Moore, Dave Murnen, and Dan Miller.

Raptor count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon Snowy Owl
9 adults,
1 juvenile
1 juvenile,
1 age unknown
1 juvenile


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


Charlie Varland measures wind speed and direction during this Christmas Eve survey.
Charlie Varland measures wind speed and direction during this Christmas Eve survey.
Ariel Varland photo.


I collect sea rope that washed up on the beach.
I collect sea rope that washed up on the beach. We'll use it to camouflage the net launcher for Bald Eagle, Common Raven and Turkey Vulture trapping in the avian scavenger study.
Ariel Varland photo.


I attached the rope to the trailer hitch on Dave Murnen's truck.
I attached the rope to the trailer hitch on Dave Murnen's truck. Dave towed the rope to Connor Creek where he washed off the sand before putting it in the truck bed.
Ariel Varland photo.


Tire tracks across drop in elevation where truck drove over a cliff.
Physical Cliff! Yikes! So much for worries about the Fiscal Cliff! Trying to catch up to Dave Murnen in his pickup, I drove the 4Runner off this edge while at or near the speed limit for ocean beach driving (25 mph). Passengers and 4Runner came through just fine. Needless to say, we slowed down after this adventure!
Ariel Varland photo.


Juvenile male Snowy Owl.
Juvenile male Snowy Owl.
Ariel Varland photo.


The snowy looks away.
The snowy looks away.
Ariel Varland photo.


A juvenile female Peregrine Falcon we captured and banded during our December 8, 2012 survey at Ocean Shores.
K/6, a juvenile female Peregrine Falcon we captured and banded during our December 8, 2012 survey at Ocean Shores.
Ariel Varland photo.


Another look at K/6.
Another look at K/6.
Ariel Varland photo.


Two Ring-necked Pheasants.
Two Ring-necked Pheasants.
Ariel Varland photo.




Date: December 8, 2012
Beach: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Dave Murnen, John Ogren, Lynn Ogren, Rick Johns, and Helle Andersen.

Raptor count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon Merlin Northern Harrier
3 1 1 1


Raptors Banded:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon K/6


Helle Andersen with our captured peregrine, K/6.
Helle Andersen with our captured peregrine, K/6.
Rick Johns photo.


Measuring the tarsus width.
Measuring the tarsus width.
Rick Johns photo.


Preparing to take a blood sample.
Preparing to take a blood sample.
Rick Johns photo.


Blood sampling.
Blood sampling.
Rick Johns photo.


The leg bands.
The leg bands.
Rick Johns photo.


Dave Murnen with K/6, a first-year female Peregrine Falcon. Note she would like to bite my finger. She had already nailed Dave as you can see.
Dave Murnen with K/6, a first-year female Peregrine Falcon. Note she would like to bite my finger. She had already nailed Dave as you can see.
Rick Johns photo.


K/6.
K/6.
Dan Varland photo.




Date: December 10, 2012
Beach: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Scott Ford, Mary O'Neil, Ken Wilcox, Suzy Whittey and Suzanne Staples.

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


Raptors Banded:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon P/6, U/6


Scott Ford measures the culmen of P/6 with Suzanne Staples holding the peregrine and Ken Wilcox recording data.
Scott Ford measures the culmen of P/6 with Suzanne Staples holding the peregrine and Ken Wilcox recording data.
Dan Varland photo.


Scott Ford applies a green visual identification (VID) band. We apply green VID bands to the coastal subspecies, the scientific name of which is Falco peregrinus pealei.
Scott Ford applies a green visual identification (VID) band. We apply green VID bands to the coastal subspecies, the scientific name of which is Falco peregrinus pealei.
Dan Varland photo.


P/6, a first-year female F p. pealei.
P/6, a first-year female F p. pealei. Note the dark color of the breast feathers and the dark feathers in the cheek patch (located behind the malar stripe on the head); these are plumage characteristics of F. p. pealei.
Ken Wilcox photo.


We applied a black-over-blue VID band to the second Peregrine Falcon we captured.
We applied a black-over-blue VID band to the second Peregrine Falcon we captured. We use this band type for individuals we capture where we are uncertain of subspecies or where we think the subspecies is F. p. anatum (Continental) or F.p. tundrius (tundra).
Dan Varland photo.


Tundra peregrine
U/6 from above. She had blonde head markings and brown edging to back feathers, which are plumage characteristics of F. p. tundrius. Another consideration when determining subspecies type is size of bird. Tundra peregrines run smaller than the other two North American subspecies. Some of the measurements we took, including wing chord, were larger and outside the range identified for tundra falcons. For this reason this peregrine was assigned subspecies uncertain.
Ken Wilcox photo.


U/6.
U/6.
Ken Wilcox photo.


U/6.
U/6.
Suzy Whittey photo.