I was honored to be asked to ride along on a Coastal Raptors outing last weekend in Ocean Shores.
The local nonprofit’s mission is to provide research and education programs leading to better understanding and conservation of birds of prey in coastal environments. Part of that research is conducting regular raptor counts along Washington’s shoreline.
Dan Varland, the group’s executive director, drove his SUV with me and two of his regular volunteers: Dave Murnen, executive director of NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor County; and local attorney Bill Morgan. Dave acted as a spotter and took wind readings at specific points along the way; Bill documented human and canine activity on the beach. Such environmental factors are important to note when taking a raptor count, Dan said.
We drove onto the beach at dawn via the Damon Road access and went south to the jetty, then north all the way to the Copalis River. Along the way, we spotted eight bald eagles, two peregrine falcons and a northern harrier. (We also saw a wide assortment of other birds; two coyotes; some surf fishermen; and miscellaneous flotsam.)
These are just a few of the photos I took.
For more information about this nonprofit organization, visit CoastalRaptors.com.