Notes from the Field (Winter 2015):

Date: February 22, 2015
Location: Hoquiam Wastewater Treatment Plant, Hoquiam, WA



Tom Rowley photographed these peregrines, a male and a female, perched in a tree next to the nest box that Coastal Raptors installed atop an Osprey nest platform at the Hoquiam Wastewater Treatment Plant in 2013. In an email with the photo, Tom said, "The male took off and went hunting, scaring up the ducks on the pond. We lost sight of him and he didn't return to the tree. The female, however, stayed in place. The nest box still looks empty."

In 2014, the box was used by Great Horned Owls. They raised two young, which Coastal Raptors banded at an estimated 28 days of age last April. Adding the age of the young at banding (28 days) to the number of days in the incubation period (30 days) gives us a total of 58 days from the time eggs were laid until banding. Counting back, 58 days from banding to egg laying, indicates the eggs were laid on or about February 17. Now past last year's egg laying date for the Great Horned Owls, we may see peregrines using the nest box in 2015. Time will tell!


Empty nest box
Empty nest box, February 22, 2015.
Tom Rowley photo.




Date: February 19, 2015
Location: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Bill Clark, Suzy Whittey and Jim Deane.


Man with binoculars sitting in a vehicle
Raptor researcher Bill Clark.
Bill has more than 100 publications on raptors to his name; his research interests include raptor field identification, molt and migration.


Close up of metal banded talons of a falcon
We re-captured C/4, a 10-year old female Peregrine Falcon.
Suzy Whittey photo.


Woman holding a falcon on the beach
Dianna Moore with C/4 on banding day, December 19, 2004. In juvenile plumage at the time, C/4 was a less one year old.
Mark Schult photo.


Woman holding a falcon on the beach
Mark Schult photo.


Man holding a falcon on the beach
Bill Clark with C/4. We had recaptured C/4 four times since banding and were very surprised to catch up with her today for a fifth time. C/4's last recapture was November 17, 2010, more than four years ago! With this recapture, C/4 becomes the second oldest Peregrine Falcon in the study. Peregrine Falcon V/V, re-captured at age 11, is the oldest.
Sadly, V/V was found injured on East Sand Island in the Lower Columbia River on March 11, 2014, a few months after we last saw her. V/V was taken to the Wildlife Center of the North Coast south of Astoria, Oregon for rehabilitation. She died from her injuries just short of her 12th birthday.
Suzy Whittey photo.



Bill Clark talks about C/4 and her feather molt.


Two bald eagles perched on the crest of a dune
Bald Eagle pair in the dunes.
Dan Varland photo.


Person holding a peregrine falcon to examine its leg bands
We captured a first-year male Peregrine Falcon, applying visual identification band U/2.
Suzy Whittey photo.


Man holding and streching out the wing of a falcon
Dan Varland with U/2.
Suzy Whittey photo.


Hand spreading tail feathers - a light colored feather notable among the darker feathers
U/2 beginning the molt from juvenile plumage.
Bill Clark photo.


Arms holding a falcon and spreading a wing to show the top wing feathers
Suzy Whittey photo.


A falcon flying away from a man whose hand is outstretched
U/2 release.
Suzy Whittey photo.




Date: February 10, 2015
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Mike Walker, Jeff Wayman and David McWalker.


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


Marked Raptors Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon R/6
Peregrine Falcon W/5


Peregrine Falcon perched on a branch
Peregrine Falcon R/6.
Mike Walker photo.




Date: February 2, 2015
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Pam McCauley, and Dale Larson.


Raptor Count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon
8 adults,
1 juvenile
1 adult


Marked Raptors Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Bald Eagle U/O


Bald eagle perched on driftwood
Bald Eagle, as seen through spotting scope with iPhone camera attached.
Dan Varland photo.




Date: January 24, 2015
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Mike Walker, Bill Morgan and Dave Murnen.


Raptor Count:
Bald Eagle Northern Harrier
5 1


Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Common Raven RGOLSY
Common Raven ROYLGS



Raven feeding.
Dan Varland video.



Here we see the same raven feeding, with a close-up view. We take videos using an iPhone attached to a spotting scope. Ravens are wary birds. This one was more tolerant than most! He allowed us to get within about 100 feet for this video. After he flew away, we found he had been feeding on a small bird.
Dan Varland video.



Four-year old Bald Eagle.
Mike Walker Video.




Date: January 17, 2015
Location: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Dan Miller, Dianna Moore, and Rich Van Buskirk.


Raptor Count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon Northern Harrier
2 2 1


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


first-year male Peregrine Falcon banded with visual identification band 2/Y.
We made our first capture of the year: a first-year male Peregrine Falcon banded with visual identification band 2/Y.
Dan Miller photo.


Rich Van Buskirk with 2/Y.
Rich Van Buskirk with 2/Y.
Dianna Moore photo.



Dan Miller photo.



Dan Miller photo.



Dan Miller photo.




Date: January 13, 2015
Location: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Tom Rowley, Rich Van Buskirk, Mike Walker, Larry Warwick and Jim Deane.


Raptor Count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon
3 1



This day, January 20, 2015, marked 20 years since our first capture and banding of a Peregrine Falcon on the coastal beaches of Washington. That bird, an adult female, was captured on the Ocean Shores study area and given visual identification band 3/W.


Peregrine Falcon
3/W on capture day, January 13, 1995. It was rainy, which is pretty typical January weather on the Washington coast. She was re-sighted seven times after banding: four in 1997, two in 1999 and one in 2011. All of these were in winter or early spring.



The last re-sighting was on February 11, 2001. Brian Caven, pictured here with his wife Charlene, took some great photos of 3/W that day.


Peregrine Falcon
3/W.
Brian Caven photo.


Peregrine Falcon
3/W.
Brian Caven photo.


Peregrine Falcon
3/W.
Brian Caven photo.


peregrine falcon drying wings her wings on the beach.
This survey day, 20 years later, on January 13, 2015, we found a first-year peregrine drying wings her wings on the beach. Apparently she had just taken a bath. We tried to capture her, but with no success. Larry Warwick's truck is in the background.
Tom Rowley photo.



Tom Rowley photo.



Tom Rowley photo.


Three ravens in a tussle. We're not sure what this fight was all about.
Three ravens in a tussle. We're not sure what this fight was all about.
Tom Rowley photo.


Ravens on beach
Tom Rowley photo.


Ravens on beach
Tom Rowley photo.


20 ravens feeding on this carcass.

Down beach we counted 20 ravens feeding on this carcass - wow!

Tom Rowley photo.



Dan Varland video.



Tom Rowley photo.



Tom Rowley photo.


carcass of a sea lion.
We flushed the birds off the carcass to get a closer look at it: sea lion.
Dan Varland photo.


Mount Rainier
Mount Rainier from the north end of the Long Beach Peninsula.
Tom Rowley photo.




Date: January 10, 2015
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Dan Miller, Scott Freed and Larry Warwick.


Raptor Count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon
1 juvenile 1 juvenile


Marked Raptors Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon R/6


Houses and geotubes at the south end of the Ocean Shores peninsula
Wave action from recent winter storms further exposed the geotubes at the south end of the Ocean Shores peninsula.
Dan Varland photo.




Date: January 4, 2015
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Tom Rowley, Bill Morgan and Noel Ferguson.


Raptor Count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon
3 adults,
1 juvenile
1 juvenile


Marked Raptors Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon R/6
Common Raven ROYLGS


U/O, an adult female Bald Eagle we banded on June 9, 2012
U/O, an adult female Bald Eagle we banded on June 9, 2012
Tom Rowley photo.


U/O lifts off.
U/O lifts off.
Tom Rowley photo.


Bald Eagle
Tom Rowley photo.

Bald Eagle
Tom Rowley photo.


Bald Eagle
Tom Rowley photo.


Bald Eagle
Tom Rowley photo.



R/6, a first-year Peregrine Falcon we banded on September 18, 2014.
Tom Rowley photo.



R/6 looks around as a vehicle passes behind her.


R/6 chases a 4-year old Bald Eagle.
R/6 chases a 4-year old Bald Eagle.
Tom Rowley photo.


Double-crested Cormorants in winter plumage.
Double-crested Cormorants in winter plumage.
Tom Rowley photo.




Date: December 23, 2014
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Charlie Varland, Ariel Varland, Dianna Moore.


Raptor Count:
Bald Eagle Short-eared Owl
5 adult,
1 juvenile
1


Marked Raptors Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Bald Eagle U/O


banded Bald Eagle on beach near surf
One of our banded Bald Eagles, U/O, about to lift off with a bird carcass. We captured and banded this adult female 1.2 miles north of this location on June 9, 2012. Last June we documented her nesting with another of our banded eagles, M/D, 1.2 miles northeast of her location today.
Ariel Varland photo.


Coyote on the beach near dunes
Coyote.
Ariel Varland photo.


Coyote on the beach near dunes
Ariel Varland photo.


Bulldozer working on beach between dunes
The city of Ocean Shores clearing a creek channel.
Ariel Varland photo.



The big find of the day was this Short-eared Owl. In 19 years of surveys, this is the first one we've seen!
Dan Varland video.




Date: December 12, 2014
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Josh Benton, and Pam McCauley.


Raptor Count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon Northern Harrier
5 2 1


Marked Raptors Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Common Raven ROYLGS


Man riding a bicycle on beach
Bicyclist.
Dan Varland photo.


Man cutting wood on beach with chainsaw
Wood cutter.
Dan Varland photo.


Beach with tire tracks leading off into distance
Dan Varland photo.




Date: December 8, 2014
Location: Grayland
Observers: Dan Varland, Sandra Miller, Dale Larson and Dann Sears.


Raptor Count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon
1 adult 1 juvenile


Bright colored sunrise
Beautiful sunrise.
Dan Varland photo.


Man on beach holding a falcon
Dale Larson with Z/K, a first-year female Peregrine Falcon captured and banded today.
Dan Varland photo.


Gloved hands holding falcon talons with green and blue metal bands
Dan Varland photo.


falcon held to expose back with wings spread
Z/K.
Dale Larson photo.



Z/K relaxing on the beach about 30 minutes after she was released.
Dan Varland video.




Date: December 6, 2014
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Jake Brandsma, Heather Brandsma and Dianna Moore.


Raptor Count:
Bald Eagle
5 adults


Marked Raptors Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Common Raven ROYLGS


Boy on beach holding aneomometer and compass
With anemometer in one hand and compass in the other, Jake Brandsma measures wind speed and direction. This measurement is taken four times during each Ocean Shores survey.
Dan Varland photo.


Dog on beach
Newfoundland enjoying a morning at the beach.
Dan Varland photo.



We captured and banded this raven, 1.5 miles from where this video was taken on April 23, 2014. We banded his right leg with an orange band over a yellow and his left with gray over silver (the federal band). Hence the color marker code ROYLGS: Right - Orange over Yellow; Left - Gray over Silver. ROYLGS has managed to remove his gray band. Still, we refer to him as ROYLGS, "Roy Legs". Roy Legs gets around. The video was taken the second time we saw him, at 9:19AM. We first saw him at 8:22AM, 5.5 miles north of the second sighting. Both times he was with another raven, probably his mate.
Dan Varland video.