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Santa Cruz Island Update; February 14-21, 2012
Topic Started: Feb 22 2012, 06:27 PM (1,859 Views)
IWS Crew
Advanced Member
Hello eagle enthusiast,
This week we focused a lot of time and energy on trying to see where the Willows pair and the Pelican Harbor pair have been spending their time. There has been nothing definite, but it is certainly looking like the PH pair may have decided on a nest site…


Wednesday
Wednesday we focused on trying to see the Willows pair, but the day began with a distant visual of an eagle on Sandstone Point.


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Shortly after spotting the Sandstone bird, I got a good visual of the Willow’s pair flying east from near my lookout on the Hacktower Road. I moved to Sandstone Point and got a distant visual of a pair below Loma Pelona that could have been the Willow’s pair again. I didn’t see where they went though, because while I was watching them a second pair flew by heading east, and I watched them for a while trying to get an ID. I didn’t, but I am guessing that it was the same birds we having been seeing at Sandstone Point a lot, whether that is A-48 and a male or the Anacapa pair visiting Santa Cruz Island is anybody’s guess.

When I looked back at the other pair, they were gone. Sneaky rascals! In all of the excitement I didn’t get a single picture of the adults, but I did get these shots of a juvenile that flew over my viewpoint on Sandstone Ridge. It had blue tags and a backpack, but I couldn’t read its numbers… whoever is was looked really healthy though!


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Later that day, Amanda saw an adult fly from near the Hacktower Road toward the west and disappear near Alberts Peak. Intrigued at the thought that it might be the Willow’s pair roosting for the night, we decided to spend the next day exploring that area.


Thursday

Both Amanda and I went to explore the Alberts area. This was a popular area with the Willow’s pair last year, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see them decide to build a nest here. Here is a the view in that area:


Looking east
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Looking west
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Amanda is hiking in the circle… so small you can’t see her
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After a few hours of scanning and surveying, I left Amanda there and moved east to check on the other place we had seen a pair, below Loma Pelona. The only eagle we saw all day was this distant bird at Sandstone. It started out on the cliff, flew out and caught a fish, perched in the grass to eat and then flew up to a fencepost to preen and relax until flying away to the east later in the day.


Bald eagle on cliff
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On fencepost
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A little closer
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continued...
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IWS Crew
Advanced Member
Friday
It wasn’t a great day to go out in the boat- a little windy, a little choppy, and the tides were a bit extreme- but we were sure that if we got out on the water we would be able to figure out what the PH pair were up to. We set out early to spend the morning watching the coast west of last year’s nest. Because this area requires a long hike that takes us very close to the nest area, we hadn’t gotten to spend much time scanning there for activity. It was one of the sites that we thought they could potentially be using. :X:

After a couple of hours it became clear that they hadn’t roosted there, they weren’t flying there, and it was time to check the rest of their territory. We slowly motored along heading east, scanning every cliff and tree, and about an hour later we spotted one of them. It flew in from the east and landed on the same ridge that Don saw them on last week when they :wub:

After a while it flew east and around a point disappearing with us right behind. We rounded the corner to the most exciting sight, 2 orange tagged adult sitting right next to the Chinese Harbor nest from last year. :)^

For those of you that are new or forgot, last year when the PH weren’t seen at their original nest for nestorations, us biologists started searching for the new nest. Don discovered a nest in Chinese Harbor and we went about preparing a webcam and waiting for the pair to lay, but they disappeared when laying time came around and weren’t found until a little while later, already happily incubating in a third nest. That third nest was the one they used last year, but it looks like they may have decided to give the Chinese Harbor nest a go after all.

They flew away after five minutes and after a merry chase we ended up back at the Chinese nest watching the pair perched just up the hill from it. This time they stayed for almost an hour, more than long enough for pictures…


The nest area
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Closer
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Our royal pair
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Maximum zoom
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The day ended with them flying away again and us losing sight of them just east of the CH nest area as they flew inland.


Saturday

Saturday I went out to check on the camera system at the CH nest to see if it worked. Sadly it does not, but hopefully it is something that we can fix. If the problem is near the nest, then we may have to go another season without a PH webcam <_<

While I was tinkering with the camera, Amanda went to check on the Carl nest. She was happy to report that they are still incubating and attentive. Here is a picture of the nest:


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After checking on the nest, she went out to survey at the west end of the island. It was beautifully blanketed in yellow blossoms, but no bald eagles were around.


Flowers!
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Fraser Point
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West Point
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continued...
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IWS Crew
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Sunday
This was a quiet day. I went to Sandstone Point, but didn’t see any eagles all day, just other wildlife.

Red tailed hawk
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Island scrub jay
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Amanda went to Willows in the morning, but didn’t see any eagle activity there just flowers and great views.

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In the afternoon, she headed back to Blue Banks to survey from there. From Blue Banks, you can see all the way to Loma Palona, on a clear day. At the very end of the day, she saw first one and then later a second bird disappear in the Hacktower Road area. It looks like the Willows pair may be focusing on the area around the Hacktower Road and Loma Pelona this year. :D

That evening, we were lucky enough to see tons of burrowing owls out along the roads. They are cute little guys!

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continued...
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IWS Crew
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Monday
Monday we were hoping to check the Chinese Harbor nest’s camera system from our access point at the top of the slope all the way down to the nest. One of the biggest problems we have is that critters often chew through the connecting cables, so I planned to walk along and check all of them for damage. I brought Amanda with me, first to show her our access point, and then to go to the nest viewpoint to warn me if any eagles were in sight. At this time of year I definitely wouldn’t have wanted them to see me near their nest! :ph43r:

I stayed low and hidden at my trailhead, waiting for Amanda to get to her viewpoint and give me the go ahead. Instead, I got the radio message “they are both at the nest.” Yay! So instead of working on the camera, I headed back to the navy site and finished up my work in the office. Amanda meanwhile got to stay at the viewpoint and watch the PH pair for the rest of the day. They spent the next 3 hours at the nest, did some nestorations, and were even seen :wub:

We still don’t know if we will be able to get the camera system to work, but it is looking more and more likely that this will be the nest they use this year and that we will soon have :egg: :egg:

Here are the pictures that Amanda took of the PH pair at the Chinese Harbor nest:

Amanda’s view
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Zoomed a little
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Max zoom
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When they :wub:
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Closer
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When they left the nest they flew to these nearby cliff sides
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Zoomed on her
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Zoomed on him
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That was our week, and boy am I excited for our next tour! We’ll see you then, but first I’ll leave you with one last island critter…

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So until next time,
Helen and the IWS crew

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jeannec
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:><: :><: :><: :><:

YAY! Fantastic update - so glad the PH pair has been spied and are nesting!! Maybe we'll get lucky on the camera, too, but good news on them! :X: :egg: And the Carl pair! Beautiful pictures - love the cliff views, yellow flowers and that cute little owl. Thank you! :)^
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EarthMuffin
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Helen and Amanda,
Thank you for a wonderful update! I am happy you were finally able to find our elusive PH pair. We may just have to be patient on getting a cam on this pair. Thanks for the great pics and for all the work you do for the eagles!
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DawnGlo
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HOORAY!!!!! I am SO relieved to hear that the PH pair have been seen at last! HOORAY HOORAY HOORAY and a HUGE thank you to everyone who took such care to find them! >O< :**: :><:
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Patti
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One happy camper here, and thank you so much Helen & Amanda. Great update and keep spying on our roaming PH couple. Surprises me that they went back to Chinese Harbor, but guess it should be no surprise?

Good news about the Willows pair and the Carl nest too!

Thanks for the flower photos. If those yellow flowers are the same as the ones along the Pacific Coast Hwy, oh......they SMELL soooooooo good!
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Anibird
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Oh my gosh...I can't believe the PH pair is back at the CH nest! After all the work with the webcam at the other site!

Great update Helen and IWS crew.

~Annie
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vickih
Advanced Member
:D Well once again K26 and K10 are playing musical nests!!! What a pair they are -- always trying to keep us guessing. Helen and crew THANK YOU so much for all you do. :><: :><: Y'all are wonderful. Looks like this pair is on track as usual for this time of year :><:

Hopefully we will be able to see the :egg: :egg: live this year.

Yeah!! IWS.

Vickih
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lovethebabies
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:><: Thank you Helen and Amanda for the great pics and the good news about the PH pair. Now I am hoping and praying you can fix the problem with the cam so we can watch them again this season. Have a great week. I'll be anxiously awaiting your next update :X:
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sunnyland7
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Helen, Amanda, and IWS Crew
GREAT REPORT! :**: :**: :**: :**:
Yea! :**: So glad you found the PH pair
It seems they leave when they think they are being watched.
Good news that thy will be laying eggs!!!
Lovely flowers and views and grat shot of the fox.
Keep Safe!!!!!
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zoovyvor
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Glad to hear that the K10 and K26 have been sighted. They surely are keeping us on our toes.
Thanks for all of your hard work as usual. :)^
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Artsy Mom
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Thanks for that great report on our elusive PH :<<o>>: :<<o>>: couple. Keeping our :X: that you can get that cam back online again. Love all the beautiful views of the coastlines, flora and fauna. That little :TF: is just gorgeous :D
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marshaz
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THANKS SO MUCH IWS CREW. YOU ALL WORK SO HARD AND ARE DEDICATED TO YOUR TASKS. GREAT SHOTS, TOO. LOVE THE SCRUB JAY, THE EAST SHOT, AND FLOWERS.
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