Notes from the Field (Winter 2014):

Date: February 27, 2014
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Dale Larson, Tom Rowley; Ron and Connie McGehee.
Comments: We set up to trap with the net launcher and a harbor seal, which had washed ashore dead on February 26. All of the photos were taken by Tom Rowley and all videos were by Dan Varland.

Raptors Banded:
Species Color Marker Code
Bald Eagle R/O








Under the net, it was clear from the size of the bird that this was a male.
Under the net, it was clear from the size of the bird that this was a male.


Bald Eagle being captured by a launched net



Bald Eagle being captured by a launched net



Bald Eagle being captured by a launched net
Still photos help us to see that the bait was positioned perfectly in relation to the net launcher for a successful capture.


I tossed a blanket his way to cover his head and feet.
I tossed a blanket his way to cover his head and feet. That always calms them down until we can get a hood on. Even under the net, he was able to grab the blanket with his talons and hang on. I tried again with a second blanket and was successful with that.


Dale hangs onto the bird as we drive a few hundred yards away from the trap site for processing.
Dale hangs onto the bird as we drive a few hundred yards away from the trap site for processing.


Ron and Connie McGehee, Dale Larson and me.
The crew, minus Tom Rowley who is behind the camera. Ron and Connie McGehee, Dale Larson and me.


He weighed 4,100 grams, or 9.1 pounds.
He weighed 4,100 grams, or 9.1 pounds.


The Eagle's underwing feathers
The underwing feathers - definitely worth a photo!


Our eagle received visual identification band R/O.
Our eagle received visual identification band R/O. The day after our capture, Ron and Connie re-sighted R/O on the beach with 5 other eagles not far from the capture site.


Man holding eagle, leaning back to avoid a nasty bite
Near the end of the process, we removed the hood to take a throat swab, a head measurement, and for final photos. Bald eagles are notorious biters. Here you can see Dale leaning back to avoid a nasty bite!














I video tape the release with my iPhone.
I video tape the release with my iPhone.







The release







Date: February 21, 2014
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Larry Warwick, Dianna Moore, Ron and Connie McGehee.

Close up of Bald Eagle talons
With salmon carcasses as bait and the net launcher, we caught a first-year female Bald Eagle north of Ocean Shores.
Dianna Moore photo.


Woman holding a hooded bald eagle
Connie McGehee holds MC for transport a short distance away from the trap site.
Dan Varland photo.


Close up of eagle's head while being held
Dianna Moore photo.


Man holding eagle wrapped in a blanket
Larry Warwick with MC, our Bald Eagle.
Dan Varland photo.


Taking a bacterium sample on a bald eagle
Obtaining a tissue sample for Coxiella testing. Coxiella is a bacterium that can cause illness and death in marine mammals. The bacterium may be spread by avian scavengers. The swab sample will be sent to the veterinary school at Colorado State University for testing.
Dianna Moore photo.


Ron McGehee weighs MC; she weighed in at 5,100 grams, or 11.2 pounds.
Ron McGehee weighs MC; she weighed in at 5,100 grams, or 11.2 pounds.
Dianna Moore photo.


Man holding eagle and spreading its wing
Dianna Moore photo.



Connie McGehee helps with the tricky business of unwrapping MC for release after banding, weighing, measuring and tissue sampling.



Date: February 17 and 18, 2014
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Dale Larson, Virginia Molenaar, and Chelsea Royer.

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


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


Bald Eagles
Bald Eagles on the salmon perch: adult and 4-year old. Chelsea Royer, a writer for Grays Harbor Talk, participated in today's survey for a story on Coastal Raptors. For Chelsea's wonderful story go to
Grays Harbor Talk.
Dan Varland photo.


Sea lion
Sadly, we saw this male California sea lion wash ashore on the tide.
Dan Varland photo.


Sea lion
The sea lion was alive, but not doing well. This photo reveals a swollen lower jaw. We phoned Dyanna Lamborne of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network about the sea lion and continued our survey. After the survey, we checked back on the sea lion's status and found it had died.
Dan Varland photo.


necropsy on the sea lion carcass.
Next day, February 18, Dyanna Lamborne and assistant Alex Phillips conducted a necropsy on the carcass.
Dan Varland photo.


The animal had a huge jaw abscess
The animal had a huge jaw abscess which was caused by this spine embedded deep in the jaw. The injury was a result of an attack on a spiny fish. According to Dyanna, the intended prey likely was a Ratfish.
Dan Varland photo.


To determine the cause of death, many tissue samples were gathered.
To determine the cause of death, abscess or not, many tissue samples were gathered during the necropsy.
Dan Varland photo.



Date: February 8, 2014
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Tom, Scott and Elli Rowley; Rob Palmer and Dianna Moore.

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


Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon E/6
Peregrine Falcon P/5
Bald Eagle M/D
Bald Eagle U/O


Falcon with the Olympics in the background
Rob Palmer (www.falconphotos.com) photographs P/5 with the Olympics in the background.
Tom Rowley photo.


Falcon
P/5.
Rob Palmer photo.


Falcon in flight.
P/5 in flight.
Rob Palmer photo.


Two-year old Bald Eagle.
Two-year old Bald Eagle.
Rob Palmer photo.


Three people on the beach
Three generations of Rowley's on survey: Tom, Tom's son Scott and his granddaughter Elli.
Dan Varland photo.


Tom photographs E/6, a juvenile female Peregrine Falcon.
Tom photographs E/6, a juvenile female Peregrine Falcon.
Dan Varland photo.


Falcon
E/6.
Tom Rowley photo.


Falcon
E/6.
Tom Rowley photo.


Falcon in flight.
E/6 in flight. The gaps in her feather coverage are a result of feather sampling we did at capture on January 2, 2014.
Tom Rowley photo.


Dunlin.
Dunlin.
Tom Rowley photo.


Un-banded adult Peregrine Falcon feeding on a shorebird.
Un-banded adult Peregrine Falcon feeding on a shorebird.
Tom Rowley photo.


Elli takes a turn with the spotting scope.
Elli takes a turn with the spotting scope.
Dan Varland photo.


Falcon
P/5.
Tom Rowley photo.


Two-year-old Bald Eagle at the water's edge.
Two-year-old Bald Eagle at the water's edge.
Tom Rowley photo.


Tom photographs a 2-year-old Bald Eagle feeding on a sturgeon carcass.
Tom photographs a 2-year-old Bald Eagle feeding on a sturgeon carcass.
Dan Varland photo.


7 eagles at the carcass, but with only one at a time feeding.
We saw as many as 7 eagles at the carcass, but with only one at a time feeding.
Tom Rowley photo.


Two two-year-olds eagles
Two two-year-olds.
Tom Rowley photo.


Two-year old feeding.
Two-year old feeding.
Tom Rowley photo.



Tom Rowley photo.


Three first-year eagles (less than one year old).
Three first-year eagles (less than one year old).
Tom Rowley photo.


First-year eagle.
First-year eagle.
Tom Rowley photo.


Two-year-old.
Two-year-old.
Tom Rowley photo.



Date: February 2, 2014
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Dan Miller, Sandra Miller and Dianna Moore..

Raptor count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon Merlin
8 adults,
4 juveniles
2 adults,
3 age undetermined
1


Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon P/5
Bald Eagle M/D
Bald Eagle U/O


First-year Bald Eagle north of Ocean Shores.
First-year Bald Eagle north of Ocean Shores.
Dan Varland photo.


This survey was conducted Super Bowl Sunday
This survey was conducted Super Bowl Sunday; happily for us Seahawk fans, the survey was over well before game time. This crab boat was at work as well. In all likelihood, those crabbers came ashore in time to watch the game too.
Dan Varland photo.


Sandra Miller with her Seahawk apparel and P/5, a 3-year-old female Peregrine Falcon we captured for blood and feather sampling.
Sandra Miller with her Seahawk apparel and P/5, a 3-year-old female Peregrine Falcon we captured for blood and feather sampling.
Dan Varland photo.


Sandra with P/5.
Sandra with P/5.
Dan Varland photo.


We cleaned P/5's visual identification band, making it easier to read with a scope after release.
We cleaned P/5's visual identification band, making it easier to read with a scope after release.
Dan Varland photo.


Me with P/5
Me with P/5 on 12/11/10, the day she was captured and banded. Our re-sighting today marks the 15th since she was banded; all re-sightings have been on the study area where she was banded, Ocean Shores.


P/5
Phil Seu took this photo of P/5 and the ones that follow a few months after she was banded.
Phil Seu photo.




Phil Seu photo.




Phil Seu photo.


Feeding Falcon
Here the food item is identifiable as a Rhinoceros Auklet.
Phil Seu photo.



Date: January 23 and 25, 2014
Location: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Scott Horton, Suzy Whittey, and Suzanne Staples.


Peregrine Falcon feeding on a gull
On January 23, Suzy Whittey photographed this adult female Peregrine Falcon feeding on a gull just off the beach access at Ocean Park. She had been to the grocery store and had 10 minutes to spare before meeting her husband Chuck. Suzy later told me "After watching the waves for a second or two, I noticed this Peregrine Falcon."


Peregrine Falcon feeding on a gull
Preoccupied with feeding, the peregrine allowed close approach It didn't take long for Suzy to realize that she was banded. This photo reveals the band visual identification code: V/V. What a find! V/V was banded at Long Beach, a few miles from where this photo was taken, in 2003. We have banded 173 peregrines on Washington beaches since 1995. V/V holds the record for longest span from banding to re-sighting: 4,019 days, or 11.3 years! Suzy's encounter marked the 13th re-sighting of V/V.


Raven watching Peregrine Falcon feeding on a gull
Suzy wasn't the only one watching V/V eat.


Raven watching Peregrine Falcon feeding on a gull
Looking for an opportunity to feed, this raven had to wait for leftovers.


Person holding Peregrine Falcon
Suzy, Suzanne Staples, Scott Horton and I spotted and captured V/V during a raptor survey at Long Beach on January 25, two days after Suzy's encounter. A hood is applied to keep her calm during blood and feather sample acquisition.


Person holding hooded Peregrine Falcon



Two people holding hooded Peregrine Falcon
Scott Horton and Suzanne Staples with V/V.


People at table set up with equipment
Getting ready to take samples.



What a day it was.


Close up of falcon talons
V/V's legs. This John Korvell photo was taken on January 7, 2012. Before the encounters on January 23 and 25, this was the last time V/V had been seen.


Tire treads leading away down beach
We did not re-sight V/V in 2013, though it wasn't for a lack of trying! The greatest effort was made during a 3-day survey extravaganza, February 26-28. Will and Betsy Dixon, David and Wendy Close, Bruce and Christy Schwager and Todd and Chris Peterson participated. Mostly due to wind and rain, not a single peregrine was seen. Todd and Chris, founders of BirdNote, created a wonderful BirdNote program on Coastal Raptors while at Long Beach with the group.

Not only that, Bird Note's Ellen Blackstone created an excellent blog about V/V and the work of Coastal Raptors on the BirdNote website.


Hand holding falcon
V/V, just before release on January 25.
Suzy Whittey photo.


Falcon flying away from a person on the beach
Off she goes. We hope to see her again.
Suzy Whittey photo.





Date: January 18, 2014
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Bill Vogel, Ellen Sweetin and Trish Safstrom.

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


Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon M/5
Peregrine Falcon E/6
Bald Eagle M/R


M/R, an adult Bald Eagle
M/R, an adult Bald Eagle we banded at Long Beach on April 12, 2012.
Dan Varland photo.


E/6, a first-year Peregrine Falcon
E/6, a first-year Peregrine Falcon we banded at Ocean Shores on January 2, 2014.
Dan Varland photo.


M/5, an adult Peregrine Falcon
M/5, an adult Peregrine Falcon we banded at Ocean Shores on January 19, 2013.
Ellen Sweetin photo.


Juvenile Bald Eagle perched on driftwood
Juvenile Bald Eagle.
Ellen Sweetin photo.


Two people sitting in lawn chairs on the beach on a gray day.
Relaxing on the beach in January, Washington style!
Dan Varland photo.





Date: January 2, 2014
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Dann Sears, Mike Walters, and Elle Walters.

Raptor count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon Northern Harrier
3 5 1


Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon P/5
Peregrine Falcon D/2
Peregrine Falcon M/5


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


Fin Whale carcass on beach.
Fin Whale. This whale washed up on the beach north of Ocean City on June 12. Gulls still feed on the carcass, despite its age.
Mike Walters photo.


Fin Whale carcass on beach.
Fin Whale on the day it washed ashore, June 12, 2013. Coastal Raptors reported the stranding to the Marine Mammal Stranding Network.
Dan Varland photo.


Workers next to Fin Whale carcass.
Jesse Huggins (foreground) and others from the Marine Mammal Stranding Network conducted a necropsy on June 13. They found the whale died from blunt force trauma, meaning it was stuck by a ship.
Dan Varland photo.


D/2, an adult female Peregrine Falcon
D/2, an adult female Peregrine Falcon we re-captured today for a blood sample. D/2 was captured and banded on December 19, 2010 at Long Beach.



Elle Walters, Mike Walters and Dan Varland with D/2.
Elle Walters, Mike Walters and Dan Varland with D/2.
Dave Murnen photo.


E/6, a first-year female Peregrine Falcon we captured and banded today.
E/6, a first-year female Peregrine Falcon we captured and banded today.
Mike Walters photo.


Man and woman taking measurements on a peregrine falcon.
Measuring.
Mike Walters photo.


Elle Walters and Dann Sears pose with E/6.
Elle Walters and Dann Sears pose with E/6.
Dan Varland photo.


Researchers drawing blood sample from a peregrine falcon
Blood sampling.
Mike Walters photo.


Young woman holding a peregrine falcon
Elle Walters with E/6.
Dan Varland photo.


People on beach as falcon flies away over surf.
E/6 takes flight.
Mike Walters photo.





Date: December 27, 2013
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Cathy Varland, Jason Downs, Sandra Miller, and Dan Miller.

Raptor count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon Merlin
8 4 1


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


Peregrine falcon perched on driftwood
P/5
Dan Varland photo.


Peregrine falcon perched on driftwood
P/5
Dan Varland photo.





Date: December 17, 2013
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Dale Larson, Tom Rowley and Jim Westergaard.
Comments: It was very foggy this morning. We thought about canceling the survey altogether, but decided to drive the beach a ways anyway to see what we could find. One mile north of our starting point at the Damon Road access, we ran across the peregrine pictured below.

Raptors Banded:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon Z/2


Dale Larson with Z/2, a first-year female Peregrine Falcon.
Dale Larson with Z/2, a first-year female Peregrine Falcon.
Tom Rowley photo.


Dan Varland with Z/2 just before release.
Dan Varland with Z/2 just before release.
Tom Rowley photo.


Peregrine Falcon
Z/2
Tom Rowley photo.


Peregrine Falconf flies away.
Z/2 heads off.
Tom Rowley photo.





Date: December 8, 2013
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dave Murnen, Dianna Moore, Mary O'Neil, and Sandra Miller.

Raptor count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon Northern Harrier
5 adults 3 3


Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon D/2


3 deer on beach at waters edge with fishing boat on the water in distance.
Black-tailed Deer at the water's edge.
Dianna Moore photo.