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.
|19 adults, 21 immatures
||Color Marker Code
Immature Bald Eagle drying his wings.
Immature Bald Eagle. This one's a little closer to adulthood than the one
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
Alex secures the hood, gripping one strap with his hand and the other with his
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.
|17 adults, 13 immatures
Marked Individuals Observed
||Color Marker Code
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
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.