Notes from the Field (Spring 2017):

Date: May 13, 2017
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Virginia Molenaaer, Leo Kenney, and Kate Clover. 


Raptor Count:

Bald Eagle Northern Harrier
2 adults,
3 immatures
1 (age uncertain)

Kate Clover and Leo Kenney participated in the survey. Kate, from Minnesota,

and Leo, from Massachusetts, traveled to our neck of the woods primarily 

because of an interest in ...sand! Kate and Leo are fascinated by sand; they help 

others appreciate the nature and beauty of sand through a wonderful calendar  

they do with another sand enthusiast (the 2017 cover below). Dan Varland photo.

Leo adds some Ocean Shores sand to his collection. Dan 

Varland photo.

We saw quite a few people on the beach during the survey. Dan Varland photo.

Hauling a large piece of debris off the beach. Dan Varland photo.

Lesser Yellowlegs? Dan Varland photo.


Date: April 18, 2017
Location: Ocean Shores. 
Observers: Dan Varland, Tom Rowley, Rocio Crespo, and Kat Reardon.   


Raptor Count

Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon Merlin
3 adults

1 immature
(age uncertain)

Merlin.This photo and all others from this survey by Tom Rowley.

Marlbled Godwits.

Marbled Godwits.

A one-year-old Harbor Seal with serious health issues.

The seal was feisty enough to fend off the advances of a Bald Eagle.

We reported the injured seal to Dyanna Lambourn of the Marine Stranding 

Network. She authorized us to bring him in for examination and treatment. 


Seal Team 3! Rocio Crespo, Professor of Veterinary Medicine at Washington

State University), Kat Reardon (Senior Year Veterinary student, WSU), and 

Dan Varland. 

We transferred the seal to the WSU vehicle and Rocio and Kat transferred him

to Dyanna Lambourn's lab in Lakewood, Washington. 

Unfortunately, the seal was euthanized when an examination revealed a severe 

lungworm infection in lungs, heart and gut. 


Date: April 12, 2017
Location: Long Beach. 
Observers: Dan Varland, Andetrius Lee, Dorianne Seel, and Jennifer Seel. 


We captured and banded this first-year female Peregrine Falcon, applying 

visual identification band Z/C. Dorianne Seel photo.  

Z/C. Dorianne Seel photo. 


Left to right: Dan Varland, Dorianne Seel and Andetrius Lee. Dorianne's mom

Jennifer was behind the camera. 


Choosing the band. Jennifer Seel photo. 

Taking a blood sample. Jennifer Seel photo. 

Away! Jennifer Seel photo. 

Date: April 13, 2017
Location: Long Beach. 
Observers: Dan Varland, Andetrius Lee, Dorianne Seel, and Jennifer Seel. 


Dorianne captures a photo of a Caspian Tern. Jennifer Seel photo. 



Dunlin in breeding plumage.   Dorianne Seel photo. 

Turkey Vulture. Dorianne Seel photo.

Bald Eagle with visual identification band M/R, feeding at a sea lion carcass

while a vulture waits his turn in the background. Coastal Raptors banded this

eagle 10 miles north of this location on April 12, 2012, five years and one day 


Date: April 2, 2017
Location: 21 miles north of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Observers: Ernie and Sandra Pacholuk

Ernie Pacholuk and his wife Sandra came across this Peregrine Falcon perched

in a Garry Oak while hiking a trail in Stoney Hill Park, about 21 miles north of 

Victoria, British Columbia. Ernie had his Nikon camera with telephoto lens 

along that day, and was able to get some great shots of the falcon. After a close 

look at his photos, Ernie saw the falcon was banded. 


Seeing a blue band on the right leg and a green band with V over M

on the left, Ernie reported his observation to the federal Bird Banding Lab.

Within days, the Lab sent him an email with information about

the banded bird. About the same time, the Lab sent me an email

with details on Ernie's re-sighting. 




Suzanne Tomlinson, Dianna Moore and I banded V/M on January 22, 2003
on the Grayland study area beach. We identified her as a first-year female of
the coastal subspecies, Falco peregrinus pealei.


Ernie's re-sighting was not the first for V/M. We saw her once near her banding

location two weeks afterward. Then once in January and once in February 2004, 

Paul Lavesque sighted V/M at Esquimalt Lagoon, 4.5 miles west of Victoria. He

captured this photo of her through his spotting scope. 


Banding location and the Vancouver Island re-sighting locations for V/M.


V/M on April 2, 2017. She's 15 years old this month! This distinguishes her as the 

oldest Peregrine Falcon in the Coastal Raptors study, ongoing since 1995 and

with 239 banded on the beaches and elsewhere on the coast to date. Not only

that, she's the fifth oldest on record at the Bird Banding Lab (the website lists 

older individuals: 3 age 19, and one age 16).  Ernie Pacholuk photo.

Ernie Pacholuk photographed this peregrine, an un-banded male, with V/M.

Could the two have a nest site on a nearby cliff? Ernie plans to return to the 

park in the weeks ahead to look for them and will share his observations with 

Coastal Raptors. 


Looking south to the Olympic Mountains from the location where Ernie and his

wife Sandra saw Peregrine Falcon V/M with an unbanded male.
Ernie Pacholuk photo.

Date: March 20, 2017
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Dale Larson, Jennifer and Dorianne Seel.

Raptor Count:

Bald Eagle Merlin
2 adults,
1 immature
2 (age uncertain)


Marked Individuals Observed:

Species Color Marker Code
Common Raven ROGLSG
Common Raven ROYLGS
Bald Eagle B/O


ROYLGS, one of our banded ravens, feeding on what we concluded was cat

food left on the beach. Note the way she is holding these gems in her beak,

all lined up! Dorianne Seel photo. 


Close-up view of what the raven was eating.  Dorianne Seel photo. 


Dorianne gets wind speed and direction where Conner Creek meets the ocean

Jennifer Seel photo. 


While ROYLGS, shown above, pulled off one of her bands this raven, 

ROGLSG, has managed to pull off two! One of the two was the metal USGS

band. Wow! That took some strength. Since none of the other nine ravens we 

havebanded to date have a gray band on the right leg and a green on the left, we

were able to identify this individual as one of ours. Surprisingly, this raven

was banded inland, about 10 miles to the southeast, on the north side of Grays 

Harbor (August 8, 2015). Dan Varland photo. 


Close-up of the bands.  Dorianne Seel photo.


One of our banded Bald Eagles, B/O.  Dorianne Seel photo.


I share a video on my iPhone of the release of B/O after he was captured, banded,
and tissue sampled on June 12, 2015. Henrik Estvall, shown here, was the one
who released B/O that day. It was a very special opportunity for Henrik, he shared
with us at the time. Dale Larson photo. 


Merlin. Dorianne Seel photo.



Dorianne Seel photo.


We saw hunts by two different Merlins during the survey, a few minutes apart.

This one was successful, the other was not. We were able to identify the prey

as a Fox Sparrow.  Dorianne Seel photo.


We located the prey remains after the Merlin was done feeding.  Dorianne Seel 



Dale Larson photo. 

All that the Merlin consumed was the brain.  Dorianne Seel photo.

Two year old Bald Eagle secures a Dungeness Crab.  Dorianne Seel photo.

He carried it up to a perch in the dunes, feeding on it there. Dorianne Seel photo.


Date: March 4, 2017 
Location: Long Beach.
Observers: Mary Kay Kenney, David Kenney, Dan Miller and Dianna Moore. 


Raptor Count

Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon Merlin Northern Harrier
9 adults,
6 immatures
1 immature 1 adult,
2 (age uncertain)
(age uncertain)


Marked Individuals Observed  

Species Color Marker Code
Bald Eagle M/R


First-year Peregrine Falcon. An hour-long effort to capture this falcon was

unsuccessful. David Kenney photo.


Another look at the only peregrine observed during the survey. 

David Kenney photo.


There goes Falco peregrinus! David Kenney photo.


Bald Eagle feeds on a salmon carcass in the rain.  David Kenney photo.

The view south to North Head.  David Kenney photo.


Glaucous gull.  David Kenney photo.


Merlin.  David Kenney photo.

Date: March 3, 2017 
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Mary Kay Kenney, Dave Murnen, and Tom Rowley. 

Raptor Count 

Bald Eagle
8 adults, 5 immatures

Marked Individuals Observed (Ocean Shores)

Species Color Marker Code
Bald Eagle B/O
Common Raven ROYLGS

It was a rainy day for a raptor survey... or a bike ride on the beach!
Dan Varland photo. 


Dunlin bathing at the mouth of Conner Creek. Dan Varland photo. 

Dan Varland photo. 



One of our banded ravens, ROYLGS as she's known to us, scavenging an owl 

carcass.  Dan Varland photo. 


ROYLGS is joined by her mate.  Dan Varland photo. 


Dan Varland photo. 

Dan Varland photo. 

Date: March 3, 2017 
Location: Grayland. 
Observers: Dan Varland, Mary Kay Kenney, and Tom Rowley. 


Individuals Marked

Species Color Marker Code
Peregrine Falcon P/R


This adult Peregrine Falcon approached our vehicle for a closer look. Tom

Rowley photo. 


Tom Rowley photo. 

We were able to capture the falcon. Left to right: Dan Varland,Mary Kay Kenney 

and Twin Harbors State Parks Manager Gary Vierra.  Tom Rowley photo. 



An adult female of the anatum subspecies, Falco peregrinus anatum.  We've 

banded 210 peregrines on the beaches since 1995; this individual marks only 

the 8th anatum captured (based on plumage characteristics and measurements).  

The vast majority of the falcons we capture, 166 to date, are the Pacific coast

subspecies, the Peale's peregrine (Falco peregrinus pealei).Tom Rowley photo. 


Tom Rowley photo. 


Tom Rowley photo. 

Tom Rowley photo.