Notes from the Field (Winter 2016):

Date: February 24, 2016
Location: Grayland
Observers: Dan Varland, Tom Rowley, Nancy Gerard and Ina Rowley.


Raptor Count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon
7 adults,
6 immatures
1


Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon Z/U


4 Bald Eagles feeding on a sea lion carcass
Not long after our survey started, we ran across Bald Eagles feeding at a sea lion carcass north of Grayland. From several hundred yards away, we counted four adults and four immatures at the carcass. As we drove closer for better photos, most flew south to a creek a short distance away. A few stayed on to feed.
Tom Rowley photo.


4 Bald Eagles feeding on a sea lion carcass
Tom Rowley photo.


4 Bald Eagles fighting over a sea lion carcass
These two immatures squabbled over a choice feeding site.
Tom Rowley photo.


4 Bald Eagles fighting over a sea lion carcass
At the best feeding sites, this adult was clearly dominant over the younger birds.
Tom Rowley photo.


4 Bald Eagles fighting over a sea lion carcass
Tom Rowley photo.


4 Bald Eagles fighting over a sea lion carcass
Tom Rowley photo.


Mature bald eagle challenging 2 juveniles
Tom Rowley photo.


Mature bald eagle feeding on a carcass with 2 juveniles waiting
Tom Rowley photo.


Mature bald eagle feeding on a carcass with 2 juveniles waiting
Tom Rowley photo.


Mature bald eagle feeding on a carcass
Tom Rowley photo.


Mature bald eagle feeding on a carcass
Tom Rowley photo.


Mature bald eagle feeding on a carcass
Tom Rowley photo.


Mature bald eagle in flight inches above the beach
Tom Rowley photo.


Mature bald eagle standing in stream
South of the carcass, this creek offered fresh water for drinking and bathing.
Tom Rowley photo.


Immature bald eagle perched on wet sand
Two-year-old Bald Eagle.
Tom Rowley photo.


Immature bald eagle perched on wet sand
Tom Rowley photo.


Peregrine falcon taking flight with pounding surf in background
Continuing on with our survey, we saw this banded Peregrine Falcon.
Tom Rowley photo.


Close up of flying peregrine falcon and green bands on legs
A closer look at some of the photos revealed this was Z/U, a female Coastal Raptors banded not far from this location on March 1, 2015.
Tom Rowley photo.


Four people posed behind open hatch of SUV
The survey crew post-survey. Left to right: Tom Rowley, Nancy Gerard, Dan Varland and Ina Rowley.





Date: February 16, 2016
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Dan Miller, Chrissy Williams and Tom Rowley.


Raptor Count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon Merlin
1 adult,
8 immatures
2 adults,
1 immature
1 age uncertain


Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon P/7
Common Raven ROYLGS
Peregrine Falcon R/6


Weather map showing large storm over Washington coast
National Weather Service map of heavy cloud cover/precipitation over the Washington coast and Olympic Peninsula on February 15, the day before our survey.


Wet juvenile bald eagle perched on branch with wings hanging down
Bald Eagle with wings extended, drying feathers. After several days of rain, our February 16 survey marked a change in the weather to overcast with no rain. Surely Ocean Shores raptors welcomed the opportunity to dry out!
Tom Rowley photo.


Wet juvenile bald eagle perched on branch with wings hanging down - looking at camera
Tom Rowley photo.


Wet juvenile bald eagle perched on branch with wings hanging down
Tom Rowley photo.


Wet juvenile bald eagle perched on branch with wings spread " />
Another young Bald Eagle with wings extended.
Tom Rowley photo.


Wet juvenile bald eagle perched on branch preparing to take flight " />
This soggy eagle takes flight!
Tom Rowley photo.


Merlin perched on branch with tail feathers spread
Merlin drying tail feathers.
Tom Rowley photo.


Merlin perched on branch with tail feathers spread - looking at camera
Tom Rowley photo.


Peregrine Falcon perched on driftwood scraching at beak with talon
We saw R/6, a one-year-old female Peregrine Falcon that we banded at Ocean Shores on September 18, 2014. Today's re-sighting marks the 38th since banding day; all have been at Ocean Shores.
Tom Rowley photo.


Peregrine Falcon perched on driftwood with tail feathers spread
R/6 drying tail feathers.
Tom Rowley photo.


Peregrine Falcon perched on driftwood
R/6.
Tom Rowley photo.


Peregrine Falcon perched on driftwood with wings spread
We also saw P/7, a first-year female Peregrine Falcon we banded at Ocean Shores on November 2, 2015. This was our first encounter with P/7 since we banded her. It was great to see her alive and well.
Tom Rowley photo.


Peregrine Falcon perched with neck arched and mouth open wide
P/7 about to cast a pellet.
Tom Rowley photo.


Peregrine Falcon perched on driftwood looking directly at camera
P/7.
Tom Rowley photo.


Man with large seahorse wood scuplture in the back of his pickup
We ran across chainsaw carver James Harkett from Montana. James was in the area to sell his handiwork, including this wonderful seahorse!
Tom Rowley photo.


Peregrine Falcon perched on sand
Peregrine Falcon taking a bath in runoff water along an access road to the beach. We could see this falcon was banded, but could not read the band's code.
Tom Rowley photo.


Peregrine Falcon on beach partially submerged in water
Tom Rowley photo.


pair of Common Ravens
A highlight of our survey was seeing this pair of Common Ravens. Ravens mate for life and do not migrate. Males are larger than females. The larger bird on the right clearly is a male. The female is one of our banded ravens: ROYLGS. The acronym ROYLGS identifies the position of the color bands on her legs. Right leg = ROY = Orange over Yellow; Left leg = LGS = Gray over Silver. The gray band is missing, having been removed by the raven's powerful beak. We banded ROYLGS on April 23, 2014 at Ocean Shores. This observation marks the 13 re-sighting since banding, all have been at Ocean Shores When she is re-sighted, her mate is usually not far away.
Tom Rowley photo.


pair of Common Ravens
These two showed behavior revealing that spring nesting is not far away. Tom captured photos of mutual preening, called "allopreening" in birds, and beak-to-beak contact, known as "beaking". These behaviors strengthen pair bonds between individuals.
Tom Rowley photo.


pair of Common Ravens
Tom Rowley photo.


pair of Common Ravens
Tom Rowley photo.


pair of Common Ravens
Tom Rowley photo.


pair of Common Ravens
Tom Rowley photo.


pair of Common Ravens
Tom Rowley photo.


pair of Common Ravens
Tom Rowley photo.


pair of Common Ravens
Tom Rowley photo.


pair of Common Ravens
Tom Rowley photo.


Raven flying away
Tom Rowley photo.




Date: January 30, 2016
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Dennis and John Southard, Tim and Martha Cambridge, Pam McCauley, Dave Murnen, and Mary O'Neil.


Raptor Count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon
7 adults,
6 immatures
1 Adult


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


Person on beach studying anemometer
Participating in his first raptor survey, John Southard measures wind speed and direction with the Coastal Raptors anemometer and compass.
Tim Cambridge photo.


Rainbow over ocean
Light showers and sunlight combined to create this wonderful rainbow.
Tim Cambridge photo.


Peregrine falcon perched on driftwood with dune grass in the background
Peregrine Falcon Z/V perched on a root wad.
Tim Cambridge photo.


Young man looking through sighting scope wearing camoflage
John Southard looks through the spotting scope at Peregrine Falcon Z/V perched on a pole in the dunes; John's dad, Dennis, is in the background.
Dan Varland photo.


Young man looking through sighting scope at a bird perched in distance atop a post
Z/V had a commanding view of the area from atop the pole.
Dan Varland photo.


Coyote sitting on the beach
We ran across this very tame coyote during the survey.
Tim Cambridge photo.


Coyote sitting on the beach
Tim Cambridge photo.


Coyote sitting on the beach near a parked SUV
Unfortunately, we saw him (or her!) being fed by the people in this vehicle.
Tim Cambridge photo.




Date: January 28, 2016
Location: January 28, 2016
Observers: Dan Varland, Glenn Johnson, Ashley Sacco and Jim Deane.


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


Individuals Banded:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon R/8


Man holding a falcon
R/8, a first-year male Peregrine Falcon we captured and banded at the north end of the Long Beach Peninsula.
Jim Deane photo.


Close up of green and red metal bands on falcon's legs
The bands.
Jim Deane photo.


Man holding a falcon to show it's back
R/6.
Jim Deane photo.


Woman holding a peregrine falcon
Ashley Sacco with R/6.
Dan Varland photo.




Date: January 18, 2016
Location: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Sandra Miller, Tim and Martha Cambridge, Glenn Marquardt, Tom Rowley, and Mildred Chackerian.


Raptor Count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon Merlin
2 adults,
5 immatures
1 Adult 1


Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon C/4


Juvenile bald eagle pulling strip from sea gull carcas
At 4.2 miles north along the peninsula, we saw this two-year old Bald Eagle feeding on a bird carcass (probably a gull).
Tom Rowley photo.


Juvenile bald eagle feeding on sea gull carcas
Tom Rowley photo.


Juvenile bald eagle on sea gull carcas looking intently at a shorebird walking by - apparently oblivious of the danger
Tom Rowley photo.


Juvenile bald eagle feeding on sea gull carcas
Tom Rowley photo.


Two juvenile bald eagles standing on wet sand
Further on, at 20.6 miles north, we saw these two Bald Eagles: a two year old female and a first-year male. In Bald Eagles as with most raptors, females are larger than males.
Tom Rowley photo.


Man sitting in a rusted truck
A little further north we ran across Russ Lewis, volunteer with Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, picking up beach debris.
Tom Rowley photo.


Pickup truck on beach - tailgate open, loaded with bags, rope and buckets
Russ headed south with a full load.
Tom Rowley photo.


Our tracks and the mouth of Willapa Bay at the north end of the 25-mile long peninsula.
Our tracks and the mouth of Willapa Bay at the north end of the 25-mile long peninsula.
Tom Rowley photo.


Merlin perched on Bull Kelp
On the drive south we saw this Merlin perched on Bull Kelp.
Tom Rowley photo.




Date: January 16, 2016
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Kerry Marl, Pam McCauley and Mike Walker.


Raptor Count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon
3 Adults,
5 immatures
2 Adults,
1 immature


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


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


Falcon held with wings spread
We captured and banded this first-year male Peregrine Falcon. He holds the distinction of being the 200th peregrine that we have captured on the coastal beaches. This is our 21st year of surveys and banding!
Dan Varland photo.


Falcon with light tan coloring on chest and dark brown wings
This falcon had plumage characteristics and measurements consistent with the "Continental" or "American" subspecies, Falco peregrinus anatum (lightly marked type, see Brian Wheeler's book Raptors of Western North America, page 474).
Dan Varland photo.


Close up of legs with metal bands
We apply black-over-blue visual identification bands to Falco peregrinus anatum. U/5 is only the 6th of 200 peregrine banded that we have identified to this subspecies (the vast majority of the peregrines we capture and band are the coastal "Peale's" subspecies, Falco peregrinus pealei).
Dan Varland photo.


Man looking at falcon he's holding
Mike Walker with U/5.
Dan Varland photo.


Close up of falcon looking at the camera
Dan Varland photo.




Date: January 4, 2016
Location: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Tom Rowley, Jim Deane, Suzanne Staples, Karl Vogel, and Joe Jauquet.


Raptor Count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon
8 Adults,
3 Immatures
2 Adults,
1 immature


Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon H/2
Peregrine Falcon H/7


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


steam rising off the ocean with hills in the background
Looking toward North Head, a headland at the south end of the Long Beach Peninsula.
Tom Rowley photo.


Sand dunes with blue hills in the background
Sand dunes on Willapa National Wildlife Refuge at the north end of the Peninsula.
Tom Rowley photo.


Steam rising from waves breaking on the beach - crab boat on horizon
Crab boat beyond the breakers.
Tom Rowley photo.


woman holding a hooded falcon
Suzanne Staples holds a first-year female Peregrine Falcon we captured.
Tom Rowley photo.


close up of falcon legs with red and green metal bands
Suzanne Staples holds a first-year female Peregrine Falcon we captured.
Tom Rowley photo.


falcon held with wings spread
Peregrine Falcon M/6.
Tom Rowley photo.


Back of falcon being held with wings spread
Peregrine Falcon M/6.
Tom Rowley photo.


People behind vehicle on beach taking measurements of a falcon
Karl Vogel photographed processing the bird.
Tom Rowley photo.


Close up of scissors clipping wing tip
Feather sampling.
Karl Vogel photo.


Hands holding down falcon while blood is drawn
Blood sampling
Karl Vogel photo.


Falcon flying away over beach and dunes
M/6 after release.
Tom Rowley photo.




Date: January 2, 2016
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Dan Miller, Gary Weiman and Dave Murnen.


Raptor Count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon
3 Adults,
3 Immatures,
1 Age Uncertain
2 Adults


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


Raptors Banded:
Species Color Marker Code
Bald Eagle M/N


Three men holding bald eagle with wings stretched out
First-year male Bald Eagle we captured for contaminants and disease testing. Left to right: Dave Murnen, Gary Weiman and Dan Varland.
Dan Miller photo.


Close up of juvenile bald eage head - beak open, wide brown eyes
This eagle will reach one year of age this spring. It will take another 3-4 years, with a feather molt each year, before he achieves the white head and tail of adult plumage. Over these years, his eye and beak color will transition to yellow.
Dan Miller photo.


Close up of metal bands on bald eagle legs
The bands.
Dan Varland photo.



The release. In this video I indicate the eagle was a female. Bald Eagle females are larger than males, as is the case in most raptors. A closer examination of measurements taken indicated this eagle was relatively small and therefore a male.
Dan Varland video




Date: December 20, 2015
Location: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Scott Horton, Rich Van Buskirk, and Bill Morgan.


Raptor Count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon Northern Harrier
5 adults,
3 immature,
1 age uncertain
1 Adult,
1 immature
1 age uncertain


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



We re-captured U/2, a one-year-old male Peregrine Falcon we had banded not far from this location on February 19, 2015.
Dan Varland photo.


Close up of banded falcon legs and talons
Dan Varland photo.


man holding falcon
Scott Horton with U/2.
Dan Varland photo.


back feathers, some non-uniform and differently colored
U/2's left wing from below. Below and above, the wings retained a few brown feathers from the first-year, juvenile plumage.
Dan Varland photo.


peregrine falcon being held
Dan Varland photo.


Back feathers of hooded falcon
Note the brown wing feathers in close to U/2's back.
Dan Varland photo.



Removing the hood.
Dan Varland video




Date: December 4, 2015
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Dan Miller, Dave Murnen and Gary Wieman.


Raptor Count:
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon
4 Adults,
1 age uncertain
1 Adult,
1 age uncertain


Marked Individuals Observed:
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon R/6
Peregrine Falcon Z/2


Beach crowded with shore birds
Dunlin resting on the beach.
Gary Wieman photo.


Peregrine Falcon perched on driftwood on the sand
Peregrine Falcon R/6.
Gary Wieman photo.


Peregrine Falcon perched on driftwood with crashing waves in the background
R/6.
Gary Wieman photo.



R/6.
Gary Wieman video.



R/6 takes off after a shorebird flock. While she was unsuccessful in this attempt, we saw her feeding on a fresh shorebird kill later in the survey.
Dan Varland video