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 Santa Cruz Island Update, February 28- March 6, 2012
IWS Crew
Posted: Mar 7 2012, 10:09 PM


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Wow!
This week has been a bonanza of eagle excitement, full of discovery, and is quite likely my very favorite tour ever! If you havenít seen the most recent Channel Islands National Park press release regarding the bald eagle project, here is a link:

http://www.nps.gov/chis/parknews/bald-eagle-2012.htm


First though, you might want to read thisÖ


Wednesday
I was a full crew this tour, with Maria coming out to assist us, Dr. Sharpe out to work on cameras, and of course Amanda and myself as usual. While Dr. Sharpe and Maria worked on the cameras, Amanda and I went to the west end of the island. She was surveying near the shore and I had decided to check on an area that A-64 seemed to be frequenting quite regularly according to GPS. It was up near the North Ridge so I hiked up a side ridge until I could get a visual of the point. This is what I saw:

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Yup, you saw that right! I couldnít see the tag at the time, but we later confirmed that it was A-64ís nest. yahoo.gif

The spot where I had hiked up was way too close though, so I hiked to a new location and Amanda joined me so we could both watch the new nest. At first it was just one bird sitting, apparently incubating, but soon a second one arrived. They called to one another, they preened, and they even wub.gif


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continued...
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IWS Crew
Posted: Mar 7 2012, 10:12 PM


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But who is the elusive female that has captured A-64ís heart? Go ahead and take a look:


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In case you had any trouble reading that tag, it was A-49. Yup, our own Princess Cruz has finally settled down to raise her own family. I wish the young couple the best of luck, and look forward to tracking their progress. And in case anybody thinks it is wrong that they are related, remember they donít know that. Maybe they just recognized the royalty in one another tongue.gif

A-49 and A-64ís nest is going to be known as the Fraser Point Nest, since it is that area of the island.


A lizard I spotted on the hike out
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Thursday
Thursday was pretty quiet after such an exciting start to the week. We focused on the Willows pair, surveying from a few different point along the south shore. Maria went to Willows Anchorage, while Amanda and I went to points further east. I spotted a pair on and off for a few hours, and even thought I might have seen some wub.gif on the far side of a cliff. The big excitement for today was that Dr. Sharpe got the Chinese Harbor webcam up and running. I love seeing what they are up to!


My view
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The pair close-up
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continued...
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IWS Crew
Posted: Mar 7 2012, 10:16 PM


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Friday
This was another really exciting one! I had Maria and Amanda go to nearish points along the coast, so they could alert me to eagle activity and I hiked down to the area I had seen the Willows Pair the previous day. Just guess what I found! They have built a nest all the way over to the east of the navy site where we stay. This nest will be known as the Los PiŮos nest. The birds arenít incubating yet, but here it is:

Naked eye
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Zoomed a little
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Amanda watching the nest, hidden in a bush
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Empty nest
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A-45
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A-51 & A-45
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One more biggrin.gif
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Meanwhile, Dr. Sharpe checked out the Fraser Point nest. Hereís pictures of A-64 and the nest, just briefly empty.

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Can I handle any more excitement? Maybe a little laugh.gif
On top of everything else today, A-27 laid her first egg of the year at the Sauces nest. thumbUp.gif
The only low point of the day was finding out that the camera system in the Carl nest wonít be functional this year. Dr. Sharpe hiked out to check on it and whatever is wrong is too close to the nest to repair while the nest is in use.


continued...
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IWS Crew
Posted: Mar 7 2012, 10:18 PM


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Saturday
Dr Sharpe left Santa Cruz Island, but instead of heading right back to Catalina, he joined a park service group headed out to West Anacapa. The hope was that Sunday or Monday he could get onshore to check the nest there.

Meanwhile, Amanda and I went out in the boat to check on the Frys Pair and the Cueva Pair. The Hazards birds appear to have built a new nest in the same tree as last yearís nest, but approximately 5 feet higher up. Here are the pictures:


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And last yearís nest for comparison
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The pair perched on the coast
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Zoomed on one
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The other
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The Frys Pair were seen perched separately, but then they flew into a tree where they perched together for quite a while. They are clearly not incubating yet, so we are not sure yet if they are using the nest they built (but didnít use) last year or not.

A-24 perched alone
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Frys Pair perched in tree
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continued...
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IWS Crew
Posted: Mar 7 2012, 10:22 PM


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Sunday
Sunday Amanda, Maria and I all went out in the boat to check on the Smugglers Pair, A-57 & A-58. The GPS points for both birds showed them using one canyon consistently, as well as coastal cliffs. We dropped off Amanda to survey the canyon and boated up and down the coast looking for eagles.

Amanda didnít see anything on her survey route, but we did spot the pair eventually on the coast just east of Smugglers. They were perched on either side of a canyon mouth, and didnít appear to be incubating yet, but we werenít able to watch them long enough to be positive.

The canyon
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A-57
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A-57
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A-58
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A-58
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Monday
Amanda went to check on the Carl nest, and she saw a chick! Sorry no pictures, it isnít even poking its head above the sides of the nest yet. It is only visible occasionally through the branches. What an early hatching!

Also, I talked with Dr. Sharpe, and while he wasnít able to go onto West Anacapa, he did see the Oak Canyon pair from the boat. Hopefully their continued interest in last yearís nest sight means they will be incubating soon.

Oak Canyon pair near nest
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Tuesday
With a special end to our special tour, A-27 had a second special delivery hatch1.gif

Egg # 2 was laid shortly after midnight between Monday and Tuesday. This is the first time I have seen our first and second egg of the year laid right around the first hatching. This year is shaping up to be a truly busy and exciting year with lots and lots of egghatch-2.gif & Chick3.gif


Until next time,
Helen and the IWS Crew



PS. A little unexpected beauty seen one evening on the island. Common Poorwill
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vickih
  Posted: Mar 7 2012, 10:30 PM


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I'm glad to know A64 (my favorite) has his own territory; I'm just shocked it's with his sister A49. I know they are from different years. Just wondering if this happens very often. Loved to know about the hatchling. It's going to be a great year for chicks I believe and interesting in other developments.

Vickih biggrin.gif
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Eagle Duo
Posted: Mar 7 2012, 10:40 PM


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WOW! That's all I can think of to say.....WOW!!!! yikes.gif

Thanks so much for all you all do! We appreciate you! applause.gif

Stay safe!!!
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Patti
Posted: Mar 7 2012, 10:43 PM


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I'm FLOORED, but thrilled that A49 finally has a nest of her own. (The up side is they don't know they're related..... whistling.gif ...it could be worse.) I think it's ok so long as there isn't a real weak trait in the genetics?

Now to read the rest of the Update....and thank you so much Helen & Crew!

Edit: I can't believe the Carl nest chick has already arrived. The Willows Pair/Los Pinos nest is spectacular...that red rock. Stunning. What an Update all the way around and more.
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EarthMuffin
Posted: Mar 7 2012, 10:53 PM


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What a great update! Thank you Helen!

I think its awesome that A51 has found a mate. This is the K51 that had a summer fling with Wray last year isn't it?

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raycyn
Posted: Mar 7 2012, 11:00 PM


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I can only echo Jann's excitement! Thank you so much Helen for all you and the rest of the crew do - it is indeed looking to be an exciting year - don't know how any of us will keep up with it all, but will be a fun time trying!

Thanks so much as always Announce.gif



Cindy in Oregon
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Cumbrian
Posted: Mar 7 2012, 11:09 PM


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Wow! Our baby has a mate and a nest! She knows a Prince when she sees one!

Thanks Helen... and the rest of the Crew ... for a super duper Update.

Exciting news about the Carl Chick ... so that's K-11 & A-35 .. Malva Real Pair?


We may soon need an updated map of the territories to keep track. biggrin.gif


Praline ... you are getting confused with the bling #'s

K-51 was Wray's suitor.
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urdognu
Posted: Mar 7 2012, 11:14 PM


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WOW... what a shock and awesome surprise... First to read about Spirit...and to top it off with Princess Cruz.. I used to joke with my husband, many of you probably have also... that they will hook up.... But it was just jokingly... Very very special indeed.
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CHIL Partners
Posted: Mar 8 2012, 12:37 AM


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You're right...THE best report EVER!!!! An exciting year for sure!
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Artsy Mom
Posted: Mar 8 2012, 03:01 AM


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WOW what an awesome report!!! I am totally speechless and that doesn't happen very often tongue.gif Princess Cruz with her brother ohmy.gif Who would have guessed that could happen. Thanks for all the interesting updates on the mated pairs. When all the new hatch1.gif hatch1.gif arrive we're going to need a score card to keep track of everyone biggrin.gif
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Lori
Posted: Mar 8 2012, 04:00 AM


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user posted image is right!!! user posted image

Princess Cruz and Spirit? Unbelievable.... We certainly continue to see and learn new things about eagles every year.
(<<<That's wee little A64 Spirit & Skye in my avatar tongue.gif )

Great news about the Carl hatch1.gif

Thanks Helen and the whole IWS crew for all you do. applause.gif
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