[Tweeters] The story of a Peregrine sighting

Jane Hadley hadleyj1725 at gmail.com
Sat Apr 30 14:48:58 PDT 2016


Dear Tweetsters -- I thought I'd pass on a satisfying experience I had
recently growing out of a trip my husband, Randy Robinson, and I took to
the coast Monday and Tuesday (April 25-26, 2016).

One stop was at Westhaven State Park in Westport. On the beach just
before high tide, we saw a mixed flock of shorebirds, mostly Western
Sandpipers and Dunlin. Suddenly, the flock took flight as a Peregrine
Falcon approached. The falcon quickly emerged with prey and went
directly to a rock on the beach and began consuming the prey. I used my
Canon SX-140 (a point-and-shoot ultrazoom camera) to shoot a bunch of
pictures.

Later, when I got home and looked at the photos on my desktop computer,
I saw that, judging from the bill of the prey, the Peregrine was feeding
on a sandpiper and not a Dunlin. I also noticed that this Peregrine also
had bands on its legs. It appeared that in a couple of my photos,
someone familiar with the codes might be able to read the characters on
the band on the left leg.

I went to the WOS website to see whether or where I should report this
sighting. At http://wos.org/research/ I found a list of research
projects in Washington, including the Coastal Raptors study.

This listing for this project said: "Colored leg bands (Peregrine
Falcons, Gyrfalcons, Bald Eagles, and Common Ravens) and wing tags
(Turkey Vultures) have been placed on birds at beaches at Ocean Shores,
Grayland, and the Long Beach Peninsula. Please note band or tag code,
color, date, time, and location." It gave the name and email address for
one of the researchers, Dan Varland.

It seemed plausible that the Peregrine we'd seen had been banded as a
part of this Coastal Raptors project, so I emailed Dan with pictures and
a description of the time and location and other details of the sighting.

Dan responded quickly, reporting that he was able to read the band and
identify this Peregrine from my photos. It was M/5, an adult male banded
in 2013 on the Damon Road access in Ocean Shores when he was one or two
years old. "[H]e's at least 5 this spring," Dan wrote. "We've had 5
re-sightings of him, not including yours. If you want to see photos of
him on banding day, go to the following link and scroll down to Jan 19,
2013: http://coastalraptors.org/fieldnotes13winter.asp"

Most of the sightings, four of which were in January and February of
2014 and the fifth in June 2015, were in Ocean Shores. While the drive
from Ocean Shores to Westport is about 50 miles, it's about a three-mile
straight shot for a Peregrine.

I did a little Googling on the lifespan of Peregrines (average is 13
years, longest known of a captive Peregrine is 25).

Thanks to Dan and other researchers in the Coastal Raptors study and
also thanks to WOS for its website, where research projects and contact
information are listed. (Amy Powell is the WOS webmaster.)

You can see one of the pictures I sent Dan here:
https://goo.gl/photos/YNcPWxkU2gJob58SA Click on the photo to see a
larger version that might allow you to read the leg band.

I was lucky that I had a better view of the left leg band than of the
right, because the left leg bands are much easier to read than the right
leg bands.

Jane Hadley
Seattle, WA
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