Date: April 4, 2020

Location: Ocean Shores

Observer: Dan Varland

 

I've known Pat Hayes for years. Pat live in Ocean Shores and drives the Ocean

Shores beach regularly, photographing the raptors he sees along the way. Pat's

been very good about reporting to me the banded Bald Eagles, Peregrine Falcons

and Common Ravens that he sees when he's out there. 

 

This day Pat called, indicating that he had heard that a Bald Eagle was dead on 

the beach near the Ocean City access road. I drove to Ocean City and found the 

access blocked to vehicle traffic due to state social distancing restrictions with

the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

 

Coastal Raptors has a permit from Washington State Parks to access coastal 

beaches for raptor research. It was therefore within my authority to drive 

around the barricade, which I promptly did. I drove a half-mile north and was

unable to locate the carcass. I headed south and saw a bicyclist. I waived him

down and asked if he'd seen a dead eagle on the beach. Somewhat to my

surprise, he said yes, and told me where I could find it. 

 

 

The eagle, an adult, was a half-mile south of the access point. It didn't take 

long  to see what the problem was - fishing line.  

The arrow points to the carcass of another bird, which upon examination turned out to a gull. It

too was wrapped in fishing line, which was tangled in the eagle's legs. Apparently the eagle had

grabbed an easy meal and got tangled in the line.  

 

 

 

 

Unable to fly or even walk due to the severe entanglement, it appears the eagle

down on the incoming tide. 

 

It is likely that, had the beach been open to the public, someone would have 

spotted the struggling eagle and reported it, providing an opportunity for rescue. 

 

 

What can be learned from this? When we see fishing line lying around on the

beach or anywhere else, we need to pick it up.

 

March 13, 2020

Location: Long Beach

Observers: Dan Varland, Alex Lauber, Tony Starlight and Glenn Marquardt. 

 

Raptor Count

Bald Eagle
19 adults, 21 immatures

 

 

Individuals Marked

Species Color Marker Code
Bald Eagle A/O

 

 

Immature Bald Eagle drying his wings. 

Immature Bald Eagle. This one's a little closer to adulthood than the one

shown above. 

Adults, likely a mated pair. The one in the foreground is banded. We were not

able to make a positive ID. 

Semipalmated Plovers. Dan Varland photo. 

Sanderlings. Dan Varland photo. 

 

Black-bellied Plovers. Dan Varland photo. 

 

Bald Eagle and driftwood in silhouette at the north end of the 25-mile long 

Long Beach Peninsula. Dan Varland photo. 

 

 

Common Raven feeding on a Dungeness Crab carcass. 

 

We managed to snare a Bald Esgle late in the survey. Alex and I gathered him

in. 

 

Alex secures the hood, gripping one strap with his hand and the other with his 

teeth. 

 

A hooded eagle is a calm eagle. Whew!

 

Alex slips boots over the feet and tightens the straps, removing the risk of 

anyone getting footed. Glenn records data. 

 

Alex holds the eagle with hood, boots and a wrap known as an aba. 

Glenn, Alex and I get ready to apply the bands and take a blood sample. 

 

We chose visual ID band A/O.

Alex applying visual ID band A/O. 

The capture and banding location at the south

end of the 25-mile long Long Beach Peninsula. 

I take a head measurement we call "cranium" while Alex

holds the eagle. 

 

Alex with the eagle. Measurements indicated this bird is a

male (males are smaller than females).

The eagle was transferred to Tony who released him. 

A/O with his new bands after release. 

Tony noticed a very appropriate whisky on the shelf at a 

local pub after the survey. 

We shared a toast to A/O!

 

March 2, 2020

Location: Ocean Shores

Observers: Dan Varland, Mary Kay Kenney, David Kenney, and Dan Miller.

Photos by Dan Varland unless otherwise noted. 

 

Raptor Count

Bald Eagle
17 adults, 13 immatures

 

Marked Individuals Observed

Species Color Marker Code
Bald Eagle B/O
Bald Eagle` M/Z

 

Bald Eagles. Bald Eagles go through a series of molts leading to adult plumage.

The process takes 3-6 years (most take 5). The eagle on the left is a one-year old

(second plumage) and the one on the right is age 2 (third plumage). Beak and 

eye color also change during this process, from brown to yellow. 

 

Sea Otter wearing a tag on its right rear flipper.  

 

 

Removing the tag. David Kenney photo. 

A careful look revealed the number on this tag is 553, with the 3 the hardest to 

discern. We had permission to remove the tag from the carcass by the Marine 

Mammal Stranding Network's Dyanna Lambourne. The tag was mailed to 

her after the survey. She later reported that the Sea Otter had been captured

on the Olympic Peninsula north of La Push, Washington in August of 2011. 

At capture, it was identified as a 7-year old male and weighed in 73 pounds.      

 

Bald Eagle pair. The eagle on the right wears visual ID band B/O. Coastal

Raptors banded B/O on June 12, 2015. This was the 151st sighting of B/O since

banding day; sightings show that B/O is a year-round resident of our Ocean 

Shores study area. We assume that the larger eagle on the right is his mate. 

 

Another Bald Eagle pair. The eagle on the right wears visual ID band M/Z. This

eagle, a female, was banded on April 20, 2018; this is the 30th sighting of M/Z

since banding. Sighted in all seasons on the Ocean Shores study area, like B/O, 

M/Z is a year-round resident. We assumed the smaller eagle on the left is her 

mate. 

 

Date: March 1, 2020

Location: Long Beach.

Observers: Dan Varland, Mary Kay Kenney, David Kenney, Sophie

Garcia-Heras, Deena Heg, Bob Plotnick and Gay Jensen. 

 

Photos by Dan Varland.

 

Bald Eagles squabble over food. 

 

One takes off with a prize. 

 

Sophie photographing a Northern Fulmar carcass. She counted 49 such 

carcasses along the survey route. Why so many dead fulmars? The most likely

reason is starvation due to a decrease in forage fish.

 

 

Seizing the moment. 

 


 

 

 

Bald Eagle feeds on a beach-cast sea lion. We encountered many eagles during

today's survey but did not do a systematic count.