Raptor Survey Results in Trash Talk!

Raptor survey, Long Beach Peninsula, September 26. The survey group included five Wisconsinites, yours truly, and Peninsula resident Kelly Rupp.

L to R John Hermanson, Andy Waterman, Christine Seidel, Steve Krings, Chip Bircher and me. Photo by Charlotte Killien.
We drove the beach in two vehicles. Dan Varland photo.
The 25-mile long Long Beach Peninsula in southwest Washington.
Kelly most generously drove his brand new pickup for the survey. (The odometer showed fewer than 200 miles!) Dan Varland photo.

We recorded 17 raptors in all, including eight Turkey Vultures, four Bald Eagles, three Northern Harriers and two Peregrine Falcons.

As we traveled up the beach we ran into Russ Lewis at the north end. As a volunteer for the US Fish and Widlife Service, Russ collects trash that’s washed ashore. He covers the northernmost 8 miles of the Peninsula, and has been at it since 2012.

Russ Lewis. In 2019, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife honored Russ with their Volunteer of the Year award! Dan Varland photo.

Russ took time to talk with us about his efforts. Every year he hauls about 6 tons of trash off his section of the Peninsula. Trash pickup along southern 17 miles is covered by Grassroots Garbage Gang, a Peninsula-based non-profit.

The day’s haul in the bed of Russ’s pickup. Dan Varland photo.
Russ, second from left, talks with our group. Dan Varland photo.

Russ writes a report with photos and narrative on each of his trips out. With Russ’s permission, I share a few photos and writing from the report he filed from the day we met.

Russ wrote: “A pet peeve – a loaded dog poop bag left on the beach last week. I
sometimes even find them on a wrackline after having been washed up by a
high tide. No respect for the beach… and bad manners.”
Russ: “Old crab buoy that likely broke away from an abandoned crab pot somewhere out on the ocean floor.”
Russ: “A snowy plover resting in an old wheel track.

If you’d like to be on the list of people receiving Russ’s reports by email, send me an email (danvarland@coastalraptors.com), and I’ll forward you his most current report. With that, you’ll be able to register to receive the reports yourself.

2 responses to “Raptor Survey Results in Trash Talk!”

  1. As one of the folks from Wisconsin I want to thank Dan, Kelly and Charlotte for welcoming our group for an extraordinary experience on the beach with the birds and sea creatures.

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