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 Santa Cruz Island Update, July 12-19, 2011
IWS Crew
Posted: Jul 20 2011, 09:24 AM


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Hello Friends,

Is anyone feeling the pangs of empty nest syndrome? Both sad and exciting, this week marks the end of a chapter for us: The last of the 2011 Channel Island bald eagle chicks has successfully fledged! crying.gif & applause.gif (Conflicted beings, we are.)

I (Kim) hiked to Hazards on Friday to check on the Hazards chick. But A-76/Hutash is growing up just like the rest of them. No longer a chick, I found her sitting on a slope about 40 meters from her nest.

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Her mother, A-16, remained vigilantly perched nearby.

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Later in the week, I returned to find A-76 still on the same slope, having climbed another 60 meters or so toward the ridge top.

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Not yet a confident flier, she moved about with flapping hops. Chick3.gif Just in the two days between my visits, her “flapping hops” were gaining more ground, and she had a bit more of the grace and coordination we associate with these majestic flyers.

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We were able to get out on the boat one day to check on the Pelican/Twin Harbor fledgling, A-74/Karana. We caught the family at a rather eventful time. A-74 was begging, while her parents, K-26 and K-10, called.

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Gulls took to the sky and THE intruder whizzed by as a blurring streak; a peregrine falcon. Fortunately, A-74 is large enough now that we don’t need to worry so much.

She is flying beautifully and quickly expanding her range though much of her time is still spent at Twin Harbors.

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Thirdly, we come to our internet star, A-73/Dreamer: We were all thrilled by his unexpected return to the nest on Friday, July 15th! Cartwheel-ani.gif

Eagle Duo posted this video of his return for anyone who may have missed it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxNGQmt8ui8

Don and I went out to Sauces late in the tour.

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As we looked out across the Santa Cruz Channel, we agreed that A-73’s inclination toward spending his days on the coast verses on the nest is well founded; beautiful views and plenty of activity.

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continued...
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IWS Crew
Posted: Jul 20 2011, 09:27 AM


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A-73 sits on Kinton Point with one of the adults.

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We were witness to a masterful flight soaring over ridge and canyon.

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Both A-27 and A-40 were in the area, sharing in an afternoon flight.

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After stretching his wings, he returned to Kinton Point where he send one of the adults off into flight.

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Weather conditions did not allow us to make the journey to Anacapa Island this week to check on A-75/Anacapa, but GPS data indicates that he is moving around Oak Canyon regularly.

The Fry’s Harbor eagles, A-24 and A-46, were stationed on their typical perches. So silent and still, I wonder how many boat passengers cruise by these island eagles, completely unawares. We sure are hoping this pair nests next season.

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continued...
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IWS Crew
Posted: Jul 20 2011, 09:29 AM


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Besides the eagles, the irresistibly cute island fox pups are out and suited up for their photo shoot.

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Sharing a playful moment with a tolerant parent.

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The Western Gull remains a ubiquitous part of the island coastline.

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It is uncommon for us to see turkey vultures on the islands, but occasionally a visitor soars by.

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The Channel Islands are undergoing some incredible conservation efforts, and IWS has been fortunate to be part of such a significant segment of it. Meanwhile there are numerous other projects, including the wetlands restoration project at Prisoners Harbor. The National Park Service, in collaboration with several other organizations, is undertaking a project to remove 10,000 cubic yards of soil in an effort to restore a native wetland. Non-native plant species on 20 acres will be removed and replaced with 25,000 native wetland plants. They even made provisions for a few cottonwood trees in an effort to create future eagle nesting habitat! It will be exciting to see how the composition of wildlife species shifts as these native habitats are restored.

A non-native eucalyptus tree felled

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Here is a photo early into restoration efforts. Notice the fence in this photo.

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For comparison, here is a current photo: The old ranching fences have been removed. If all goes as planned, this field will one day host a wetland supporting a huge variety of songbirds and island flora.

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It is here that I will bid you all farewell. This tour marks the end of a chapter for myself as well. As a seasonal employee, my work is complete. I will be heading off, leaving Don to fend for himself among the eagles and foxes.

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It has been a pleasure joining you this season for a wonderful journey into the lives of our Channel Island bald eagles. Thanks so much for your enthusiasm and support of our beloved eagles.

Take care,

Kim and Don tinyeagle.gif
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Eagle Duo
Posted: Jul 20 2011, 09:43 AM


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Thank you for another amazing update! applause.gif applause.gif Your words, complimented by your pictures, paint such a beautiful picture and make me almost feel like I'm there with you....without having to do all that hiking! biggrin.gif

How exciting it must be for you to see these fledglings soaring in the skies with their parents! wub.gif

Your alteration of Dreamer's name made me laugh out loud, which was very welcome right now. ROFL_sm.gif

Thank you for all your hard work in helping to insure a successful season for the Channel Island eagles! applause.gif Good luck to you in your next endeavor. Xfingers.gif Maybe our paths will cross again. It's a small world, so you never know! biggrin.gif
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river
Posted: Jul 20 2011, 09:54 AM


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applause.gif
Thanks for the wonderful update Don & Kim huggie.gif
Now we will start going thru the withdraw symptoms... ughh. Kim at least you got to see some eagle action on your last day thumbUp.gif
love your stories and pictures, hope to see you again next season ! wavey.gif

a big thanks to all of you ! grouphug.gif


Soar on Eaglets tinyeagle.gif soar on !! tinyeagle.gif
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iggle
Posted: Jul 20 2011, 10:42 AM


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thumbUp.gif Super last update, Kim! I wish you all success on your next endeavor. Thank you for sharing all your hard work with us. wavey.gif

Great news about the NPS restoration project and how cool that they are planting some eagle nesting trees too!
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sfstucco
Posted: Jul 20 2011, 10:44 AM


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In addition to the heartwarming reports of the fledglings, I am very happy you reported on the restoration projects. I wholeheartedly support such efforts, as a restored ecology is good for all species.
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amethyst
Posted: Jul 20 2011, 10:46 AM


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Wonderful to get so much info about our favorites, the PH family and the SC family!!!

Thank you!

Kim, wishing you a wonderful, prosperous, fulfilled life ahead! I don't think anything compares to our eagles though!! biggrin.gif
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Topa Topa Hikers
Posted: Jul 20 2011, 11:01 AM


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Welcome Home, Beautiful Dreamer! Chick3.gif

Great video capture Jann Chick3.gif

Beautiful SC update... HartSpin2.gif
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Patti
Posted: Jul 20 2011, 11:06 AM


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Kim, thank you for the great eagle news and photos...and conservation information!

Did you see any of the illegal immigrants who were recently stranded on Santa Cruz Island?

Best of luck to you and please come back for another season!
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summer818
Posted: Jul 20 2011, 11:07 AM


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Kim and Don, I just love your updates! Those eagles are enjoying their island! Cartwheel-ani.gif You two are the best, and I loved the fox pups, too cute for words. So, Dreamer is a Screamer. ROFL_sm.gif Thanks for all you do!
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Kate5555
Posted: Jul 20 2011, 11:10 AM


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Kim:

Thank you for all you have done this season as well as past ones! We look forward to when you return for the 2012 Season.

Great job on catching A73 and your diligence in going out to the PH pair - what a treat.


wavey.gif until you return.
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EarthMuffin
Posted: Jul 20 2011, 11:40 AM


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Don and Kim,
Thank you for a great update of our beloved eagles. I loved seeing the pictures of Dreamer!

Kim, thank you for your work this season! Hopefully we will see you back here sometime! Good luck on your future endeavors!

Praline
Medford, OR
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susano
Posted: Jul 20 2011, 01:41 PM


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Kim that was a beautiful update on the eagles, eaglets, the adorable fox pups, the restoration project, and a few visiting birds...
You have an eye for beauty and the ability to capture the scene in such a way that I felt as though I was on the islands with you tucked into your lens and enjoying the magnificent terrain and wildlife!! I could almost smell the ocean air!!
This is a time of mixed feeling because soon the eaglets will be gone and greatly missed as will you be missed and your lovely photo captures and posts.
I wish you the best in days to come and hope you will return next year! applause.gif applause.gif wavey.gif wavey.gif
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zoovyvor
Posted: Jul 20 2011, 08:46 PM


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Thanks so much for the great update. Unbelievable how well all the eaglets are thriving this season. Excellent! thumbUp.gif
I cannot believe I missed K73's visit to the nest after all this time. In my defense, I was getting ready to leave town on vacation and have only been checking in sporadically. He looks wonderful and his arrival was absolutely beautiful. He has obviously been practicing. Blush.gif
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