Notes from the Field (Summer 2015):

Date: August 14, 2015
Location: north side of Grays Harbor, 3 miles west of Hoquiam
Observers: Dan Varland, Jenny Fisher, Pam McCauley, and Tom Rowley.


Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Turkey Vulture AL
Turkey Vulture AY


Individuals Marked:
Species Color Marker Code
Common Raven ROGLSG
Turkey Vulture BW


Jenny Fisher with adult Turkey Vulture.
Jenny Fisher with adult Turkey Vulture.
Tom Rowley photo.




Tom Rowley photo.

We applied wing tag HE to the vulture.
We applied wing tag HE to the vulture.
Tom Rowley photo.


Vulture legs.
Vulture legs. Vultures are wing tagged rather than leg banded because they defecate on their legs. If they were banded, the material could accumulate between leg and band, with the potential for inflammation and injury.
Tom Rowley photo.


The team with our vulture
The team with our vulture near the trap site in Ed and Sue Wayman's yard: (L to R): Dan Varland, Tom Rowley, Jenny Fisher and Pam McCauley.
Sue Varland photo.


Jenny Fisher with adult Turkey Vulture.
Jenny Fisher releases the Turkey Vulture.
Tom Rowley photo.



Tom Rowley photo.

Common Raven.
Common Raven.
Tom Rowley photo.


The pink mouth on our raven indicates this is a first-year bird.
The pink mouth on our raven indicates this is a first-year bird.
Tom Rowley photo.


Our raven's color bands.
Our raven's color bands.
Tom Rowley photo.


Getting a blood sample for contaminants testing.
Getting a blood sample for contaminants testing.
Tom Rowley photo.


Releasing the raven.
Releasing the raven.
Tom Rowley photo.




Date: July 11, 2015
Location: Hoquiam Wastewater Treatment Plant Treatment lagoon, Hoquaim, WA
Observers: Dan Varland, Jenny Fisher, Katie Lutz, and Tom Rowley


Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Turkey Vulture AL


Individuals Marked:
Species Color Marker Code
Turkey Vulture BV


A Turkey Vulture feeds at a deer carcass
A Turkey Vulture feeds at a deer carcass we set out on the north side of the Hoquiam Wastewater Treatment Plant lagoon.
Tom Rowley photo.


net launcher 13 feet from the carcass.
We located our net launcher 13 feet from the carcass.
Tom Rowley photo.


Turkey Vulture being captured with a net launcher
Tom Rowley photo.


Turkey Vulture being captured with a net launcher
Tom Rowley photo.


Turkey Vulture being captured with a net launcher
Tom Rowley photo.


Turkey Vulture being captured with a net launcher
Tom Rowley photo.


Turkey Vulture being captured with a net launcher
Tom Rowley photo.


Turkey Vulture being captured with a net launcher

Tom Rowley photo.


Turkey Vulture being captured with a net launcher
Tom Rowley photo.


Working to remove our vulture from the net.
Working to remove our vulture from the net.
Tom Rowley photo.


Dan Varland, Jenny Fisher, Rick Johns and Katie Lutz.
Free at last! Left to right: Dan Varland, Jenny Fisher, Rick Johns and Katie Lutz.
Tom Rowley photo.


Drawing blood from a wing vein for contaminants and disease testing.
Drawing blood from a wing vein for contaminants and disease testing.
Tom Rowley photo.


The wing tag.
The wing tag.
Tom Rowley photo.


close up of turkey vulture head
Tom Rowley photo.


Jenny Fisher releases BV
Jenny Fisher releases BV
Tom Rowley photo.




Date: June 15, 2015
Location: 0.4 mile south of the Grayland Beach Road access, Grayland, WA
Observers: Dan Varland, Nathalie Denis, Tom Rowley, and Dawn Bailey.


Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Turkey Vulture BP


Individuals Marked:
Species Color Marker Code
Turkey Vulture CA
Turkey Vulture AR
Turkey Vulture BY


we captured 3 Turkey Vultures
Using the net launcher, we captured 3 Turkey Vultures feeding at a Stellar Sea Lion carcass.
Tom Rowley photo.



Tom Rowley photo.



Tom Rowley photo.



Tom Rowley photo.


vultures struggling under the net
Nathalie Denis and I kept them from struggling under the net by covering them with blankets or towels.
Tom Rowley photo.


The net trap
The trap (background), the carcass and the net with vultures secured.
Tom Rowley photo.


untangling the birds from the net
Next, Nathalie, Dawn Bailey and I moved on to the challenging process of untangling the birds from the net.
Tom Rowley photo.


The gray beak on this vulture, when apparent at this time of year, is characteristic of one-year-olds.
The gray beak on this vulture, when apparent at this time of year, is characteristic of one-year-olds.
Tom Rowley photo.


vulture at least 2 years of age.
The ivory-colored beak on this bird, when apparent at this time of year, is indicative of a vulture that is at least 2 years of age. We applied wing-tag CA to this vulture.
Tom Rowley photo.


Dawn releases CA.
Dawn releases CA.
Tom Rowley photo.


The weighing process
The weighing process; this bird weighed 1,703 grams, or 3.75 pounds.
Tom Rowley photo.


Releasing AR
Releasing AR, a one-year-old.
Tom Rowley photo.


AR takes flight.
AR takes flight.
Tom Rowley photo.


Nathalie Denis with BY, another one-year-old
Nathalie Denis with BY, another one-year-old.
Tom Rowley photo.


Tom Rowley photo.
Tom Rowley photo.


Turkey Vulture
There were other vultures in the area because of the sea lion carcass. One of those was BP, a Turkey Vulture we trapped on June 14, 2014 on the north side of Grays Harbor. Ours was the eight re-sighting of BP since he was captured: all occurred in summer on the beach south of Grayland, six in 2014 and two in 2015.
Tom Rowley photo.




Date: June 12, 2015
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Tom Rowley, Glen Marquadt; Glen Thompson and Sharon Thompson; Goeran, Pia and Henrik Estvall.


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


Bald Eagle perched on sign
We saw this Bald Eagle perched near the ocean and decided to try to capture him for the avian scavenger study.
Tom Rowley photo.


Bald Eagle in shallow surf water
We snared him, but he landed in the water a short distance off shore.
Tom Rowley photo.


Bald Eagle in shallow surf water
Tom Rowley photo.


Man running in surf towards eagle
I went in after him.
Tom Rowley photo.


Two men nearing eagle in water
Henrik followed me to help secure the bird.
Tom Rowley photo.


Two men in shallow surf pulling eagle towards them
Tom Rowley photo.


Man grabbing eagle in water
Tom Rowley photo.


Eagle head and wings
We brought him ashore in fine shape.
Tom Rowley photo.


Talon gripping the arm of his rescuer
I was not so lucky, as he managed to grab my arm during the effort to secure him in the water.
Tom Rowley photo.


Eagle on back with talon embedded in mans sweater and arm
One of four talons was embedded in my forearm. It took a while to free him. I was left with a puncture wound that needed attention.
Tom Rowley photo.


Arm with triangular gouge wound
Tom Rowley photo.


Woman administering first aid to man's arm
Pia administers first aid.
Tom Rowley photo.


Man with bandaids on arm
All better... for the moment. After we processed the bird I went to an Urgent Care clinic where they cleaned the wound thoroughly, closed it with Steri-Strip bandages, and gave me a tetanus shot.
Tom Rowley photo.


Closing band on legs using pliars and tools
Securing the US Geological Survey (USGS) band.
Tom Rowley photo.


Close up of banded legs
Each leg has a band with information unique to this individual. The USGS holds number 629-51977. The green visual identification band allows recognition at a distance. For more background on Coastal Raptors research involving marking birds, go to Marking Birds for Identification.
Tom Rowley photo.


Close up of bald eagle head
Tom Rowley photo.



Henrik holds the eagle with his mom Pia and dad Goeran on either side. Glen and Sharon Thompson are the bookends. Traveling all the way from Sweden, the Estvalls were visiting the Thompsons on summer vacation. A trip to the beach on a Coastal Raptors survey was arranged by the Thompsons well in advance of their visit. This was a very special day for all of us.
Tom Rowley photo.



Henrik releases the eagle.




Date: June 4, 2015
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Nathalie Denis, Tom Rowley, and Mary O'Neil.


Bald Eagle at Elephant Seal carcass
Bald Eagle at Elephant Seal carcass. We drove the beach looking for opportunities for trapping eagles, ravens and vultures for the avian scavenger study. This location would have been good, except it was very near a well-traveled trail through the dunes.
Tom Rowley photo.


Harbor Seal pup calling for mom
We followed these tracks to this Harbor Seal pup calling for mom.
Tom Rowley photo.


Harbor Seal pup
It is not uncommon for seal pups to strand on shore, separated from their mothers. They are usually reunited at a high tide.
Tom Rowley photo.


Harbor Seal pup
Seal pup
Tom Rowley photo.


Harbor Seal pup
The pup was painted by the Marine Mammal Stranding Network personnel, identifying it as a stranded pup.
Tom Rowley photo.


Long-billed shore bird on sand
Long-billed Curlew. None of us had ever seen this species. What a beautiful bird!
Tom Rowley photo.



Long-billed Curlew
Tom Rowley photo.



Long-billed Curlew
Tom Rowley photo.


Bald Eagle flying with gull carcas in its talons
Bald Eagle.
Tom Rowley photo.


Bald Eagle with gull carcass.
Bald Eagle with gull carcass.
Tom Rowley photo.




Date: June 2, 2015
Location: Grayland
Observers: Varland, Dan Miller, and Tom Rowley.


Raptor Count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon
3 adults,
3 immatures
1 immature


Bald Eagle.
Bald Eagle.
Tom Rowley photo.


Two vehicles on beach connected by a tow line
We found someone stuck in the sand just off the access at Grayland Beach Road. We tried to pull him out but were not able to, due to the loose sand.
Tom Rowley photo.


Two vehicles on beach connected by a tow line

Tom Rowley photo.