Archive for December, 2011

Snowy Owls at Boundary Bay

I apologize for not posting about this earlier. This is really cool, and relatively unusual. Go check em out! Are you seeing owls in Whatcom or Skagit Counties? Let me know.

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Newhalem to Marblemount: 45
Marblemount to Rockport: 116
Rockport to Sedro-Woolley: 78

Total: 239
Heavy fog again in spots on the two lower sections. In clear weather these numbers might have been higher.

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Do you like to see bald eagles? Well, you are in luck because there are plenty in the area right now.

Traveling up the Skagit River valley on Highway 20 on Monday December 26, I saw 39 eagles at the big bend in the river near milepost 101. That was with the naked eye, out the car window, while the car was moving! (My husband was driving, don’t worry) We did not have time to stop and look, since we were meeting friends to float the upper Skagit. The rain held off, it was a beautiful trip, and we saw probably about 40 birds between Goodell and Copper Creek.

Eaglewatcher volunteer Don has been getting out quite a bit lately. Here is the North Fork Nooksack River yesterday:

North Fork Nooksack December 26, 2011

Don saw over 100 eagles on the Nooksack – not bad! Look at how low all the birds are in this picture! The chum must be plentiful right now.
It will be interesting to see where the eagles end up after the heavy rains which are forecast this week begin moving the fish carcasses around.

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Happy solstice! Beautiful morning, but difficult conditions for seeing eagles.

Newhalem to Marblemount: 25

Marblemount to Rockport: 79
Rockport to Sedro-Woolley: 78
Total: 182
The morning fog may have contributed to the lower numbers compared to December 15.

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Do eagles produce pellets?

From Steve Glenn, a follow-up to a discussion we were having on Sunday:

There was some question from Sunday regarding whether bald eagles produce pellets. I couldn’t think of any reason why they couldn’t – and neither could Dorrie or Erin – but I came home and checked some references: they do.


A paper that has some good information on Bald Eagles and the analysis of their pellets is Mersmann, T. et al (1992) Assessing bias in studies of bald eagle food habits. /Journal of Wildlife Management/ vol. 56, 1.


/Partial Abstract:

Although studies of bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) food habits are numerous, few authors have quantified biases inherent in the techniques used. In our study of food habits of nonbreeding bald eagles on the northern Chesapeake Bay, we examined biases associated with pellet analysis, food remains analysis, and direct observation. We assessed these biases through controlled feedings of 2 captive bald eagles and through observations of free-ranging eagles. Fish fed to 2 captive bald eagles were underrepresented (P < 0.001) in egested pellets. Most bird and mammal food items were detected in ≥1 pellet; however, species and carcass condition affected frequency of occurrence …/

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Newhalem to Marblemount: 29

Marblemount to Rockport: 118

Rockport to Sedro-Woolley: 113

Total: 260

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Great Training Weekend

It was great to see everyone over the weekend, and I enjoyed the presentations very much. I’m pounding out the schedules now – look for them to be posted here shortly. We need more help January 1, contact me if you are interested.

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