Notes from the Field (Winter 2017):

Date: February 22, 2017

 

Location: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Tony Starlight, Sandra Miller

Raptor Count:
Bald Eagle Merlin
3 adults, 2 immatures,
1 age uncertain
1 (age uncertain)


Bald Eagle takes flight from a post on the beach.
All photos by Dan Varland.

Tossing bread to the gulls.






Sanderling scavenging Dungeness Crab.




Picking at the claw!


Dunlin at rest.

 

Tony Starlight and Sandra Miller on the lookout, north end of the Long Beach Peninsula.



Dan Varland and Tony Starlight at the ready!

 

Date: February 20, 2017

Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Ashley Sacco, Pam McCauley, and Sarah McCauley.

Raptor Count

Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon Merlin
4 adults, 2 immatures 1 immature
1
(age uncertain)

Marked Individuals Observed

Species Color Marker Code
Bald Eagle B/O
Peregrine Falcon Z/D

Two-year old Bald Eagle feeding on a fish.
All photos by Dan Varland.








A crow awaits the leftovers.




Crows foraging at the wrack line.



This crow found a crab claw.








Bald Eagle B/O. Only the silver US Geological Survey band is visible in this 

photo. The green visual identification band with B/O is hidden under feathers.



Date: February 19, 2017
Location: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Rich Vroman, Claire Sides, Lucas Van Natta, Jesse Sides and Amy Elder.


 

Raptor Count
Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon Merlin
8 adults, 3 immatures 1 adult
1
(age uncertain)

 

Marked Individuals Observed

Species Color Marker Code
Bald Eagle M/R
Peregrine Falcon 96/N

Keeping the smart phone out of the rain for a selfie!
All photos by Dan Varland.




Time to play fetch!

 






Two-year old Bald Eagle feeding on Dungeness Crab.


This beautiful female Peregrine Falcon was banded by Tom Bloxton and me on June 5, 2004 when she was a youngster in a nest on Grays Harbor, Washington. We captured her during today's survey to get blood and feather samples. In the intervening years, she's never been re-sighted! She'll be 13 years old in May. Only one other peregrine in Coastal Raptors studies has lived this long, based on re-sightings of banded birds (peregrine V/V). The oldest banded Peregrine Falcon on record with the federal Bird Banding Lab: 19 years, 9 months.




Her bands up close




Lucas Van Natta holds 96/N.






Survey participants Rich Vroman and Claire Sides searching for raptors at the north end of the Long Beach Peninsula.




Date: February 4, 2017
Location: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Dan Miller, Tasha DiMarzio and Shelly Parker.

Raptor Count:
Bald Eagle Merlin 
16 adults, 15 immatures 1

Marked Individuals Observed:

 

Species Color Marker Code
Common Raven RGYLOS


Tasha DiMarzio and her mom Shelly Parker.
Dan Varland photo.




Tasha, originally from Washington, is a wildlife biologist in Seward, Alaska. On May 5, 2013 she was doing a bird survey at the Seward airport and saw Y/6, a Peregrine Falcon we had banded on January 7, 2012. It was feeding on a Pintail it had killed.
Dan Varland photo.




Tasha at the survey site in June of 2013. The log where she saw Y/6 is over her left shoulder.
Dan Varland photo.



 


Tasha with me on site! I happened to have had a vacation planned for Alaska that summer and stopped in for a visit.
Sue Varland photo.




The leg band on banding day.
John Korvell photo.



 


Dan Miller releasing Y/6 on banding day.
John Korvell photo.




This 2-year-old Bald Eagle was one of 31 eagles we saw along the survey route today.
Dan Varland photo.



A couple more Bald Eagles.
Dan Varland photo.




Garbage drop-off location along an access road. Today was beach cleanup day.
Dan Varland photo.




Many people volunteer for beach cleanup. Here a crew gathers for a selfie.
Dan Varland photo.


Date: January 21, 2017
Location: Ocean Shores.
Observers: Dan Varland, Pam McCauley, Mary O'Neil and Bill Morgan.

 

Raptor Count

Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon
3 adults, 1 immature 2 immatures


Individuals Marked
Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon Z/D

We began our survey at 7:50 AM, with the tide peaking at 9.2 feet at 7:35 AM. Not long after we got underway, we saw ocean waves pushing clear to the dunes. This photo shows an ephemeral stream created by the water drawing back.



Bald Eagle with shorebirds under foot.

 

 


One of two Peregrine Falcons we encountered during the survey. We had not seen a peregrine on an Ocean Shores survey since December 4 and were beginning to wonder just where they were!

 

We captured and banded the peregrine perched on the stick in the photo above. Pam McCauley displays the bird, a first year female, after banding and tissue sampling.

 

 


 

Z/D was a quite calm bird in the hand.

 

 


 

We saw these two friends late in the survey.





Date: January 14, 2017
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Dianna Moore, Marc and Suzanne Tomlinson.

Raptor Count:

Bald Eagle
4 adults, 3 immatures


Adult Bald Eagle on salmon perch. All survey photos by Dan Varland.

This pooch pauses long enough for a photo before retrieving a stick.

Surfer.

 

Fishing for Surf Perch.

 

This gull landed on the hood of our 4Runner, wanting a handout. We didn't oblige!

 

 


Date: January 7, 2017
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Tom Rowley, Dan Miller and Sandra Miller.


Raptor Count:

Bald Eagles
7 adults, 5 immatures, 1 age uncertain


A raven eyes a fish carcass...and so does a gull! Dan Varland photo.

 

The raven flys toward our vehicle, leaving the gull behind.
Dan Varland photo.

 

Dan Varland photo.

 

Dan Varland photo.

 

A second raven sidles up to the fish-toter.
Dan Varland photo.

 

Leaving raven 2 behind, he moves closer to our vehicle.
Dan Varland photo.

 

Focused on his meal, he flew within 10 feet of our vehicle.
Dan Varland photo.

 

Someone's out looking for a new wheel!
Dan Varland photo.

 

Gull scavenging an adult male Surf Scoter. We saw a total of three dead Surf Scoters on the survey this morning.
Dan Varland photo.

 

We bumped the gull off the carcass to get this closeup.
Dan Varland photo.

 

Another gull, this one scavenging a female Surf Scoter.
Dan Varland photo.

 

Dan Varland photo.

Once again,we moved the gull off the carcass for a closer look and photos.
Dan Varland photo.

The white patch behind the bill is diagnostic of the female Surf Scoter.
Dan Varland photo.

 

With a Dunlin flock in the foreground, an immature Bald Eagle feeds on a bird carcass.
Dan Varland photo.

Immature Bald Eagle scavenging a sea lion carcass.
Dan Varland photo.

As we left the beach after our survey, Sandra Miller spotted this Northern Harrier hunting over the dunes.
Dan Varland photo.

 

Dan Varland photo.




 


Date: January 6, 2017
Location: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Lucas Van Nett, Mike Walker and Sharon Hildebrandt.


 

Raptor Count:

Bald Eagles
4 adults, 3 immatures


Sanderling scavenging a Dungeness Crab carcass.
Dan Varland photo.


Dan Varland photo.


Ravens scavenging a sea lion carcass.
Dan Varland photo.


Dan Varland photo.


Skate or possibly a ray.
Dan Varland photo.




Dan Varland photo.




Date: December 31, 2016
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Dave Murnen, Kerry Marl and Pam McCauley.

Bald Eagles
4 adult, 2 immatures

Bald Eagle pair at the north end of the study area.
Dan Varland photo.



Crow scavenging lobster! No doubt someone dumped the remains of a great meal on the beach, as lobster are not native to the Pacific coast.
Dan Varland photo.






 


Date: December 18, 2016
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Dave Murnen, Dianna Moore and Virginia Molenaar.

Raptor Count:

 

Bald Eagle Merlin
4 adults, 2 immatures 2 (age uncertain)

Dark phase Merlin watching traffic north of Ocean Shores.
Dan Varland photo.



The Merlin, up close.
Dan Varland photo.



Dan Varland photo.

 

Dan Varland photo.

 

Common Raven scavenges a small bird.
Dan Varland photo.

 

 

Dan Varland photo.

 

Dan Varland photo.




 


Date: December 7, 2016
Location: Long Beach and Grayland
Observers: Dan Varland, Scott Horton, Bill Morgan and Suzanne Staples

 


Raptor Count

Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon Merlin Red-tailed Hawk
5 adults, 2 immatures 1 adult 1 adult 1 immature

Marked Individuals Observed

Species Color Marker Code
Bald Eagle V/O

 

Adult male Merlin.
Dan Varland photo.

 

Distant view of the Merlin.
Dan Varland photo.

Stranded Harbor Seal with an injury or infection on its neck. We notified the Marine Mammal Stranding Network about this animal.
Dan Varland photo.

Snowy Plover.
Dan Varland photo.

 

 

After the survey at Long Beach, Scott Horton, Bill Morgan and I drove to Grayland for a survey just before dark. We captured and banded this first-year female.
Dan Varland photo.

Scott Horton and Bill Morgan with the falcon. Dan Varland photo.


Dan Varland photo.

The visual identification bands.
Dan Varland photo.

Dan Varland photo.