Coos County Quarter Summary Reports
|Editor's Note: Coos County Coordinators Dave and Diane Bilderback prepare a "Quarter Summary Report", which they email or mail to each Coos County CoastWatcher. Their reports begin with a brief 4- or 5-paragraph synopsis of what's happening in Coos County; there's usually a photo, too. We've compiled all their reports into this page to make comparison easy. |
In the list below, you will find each of Diane and Dave Bilderbacks' Summary Reports. In most cases, we also provide a link to a PDF file containing their full report, including all the individual Mile Report Summaries. To contact Diane and Dave Bilderback, call them at (541) 347-1335, or use our Contact Us page.
Osprey with fish in its talons. Patrick and Roberta Smit, 8/7/2011, Mile 117.Third Quarter 2011
Thanks to all of you who filed reports for your adopted miles for the third quarter of 2011! Most of you noted how remarkably free your beaches were of man-made debris. The notable exception appears to be Beach Lisa's Mile 125 with much land and sea debris including two wooden pallets, a rusted crab pot and several lengthy pieces of nylon rope.
The driftlines on those miles facing the open ocean also were reported to be exceedingly light with some shells, crab carapaces, small patches or tangles of eel grass, bull kelp and sea palms. However, in the sheltered North Cove of Cape Arago (Mile 117), Pat and Roberta reported a heavy accumulation of kelp and algae.
Large numbers of small, spherical jellies were the most notable animals found in the driftline on Miles 96, 97, 102, 125 and 129. Beach Lisa (Mile 125) saw "thousands of these tiny jellyfish riding up onto the beach with every wave. They sparked like jewels." These spherical jellies are in their own phylum, Ctenophora. Other jellies are in the phylum Cnidaria. The common name of this Ctenophore is Sea Gooseberry or Cats Eyes.
Several CoastWatchers had great birding experiences. Beach Lisa (Mile 125) had a mature Bald Eagle swoop over the foredune right in front of her, and as Pat and Roberta Smit "clambered down into North Cove, a magnificent Osprey with a fish in its talons rose from the water right under their noses."
The beaches also were remarkably clear of stranded and dead seabirds and mammals. Barbara Harrison reported a Northern Elephant Seal on Mile 101, and John Hull and Hanspeter Witschi found on different occasions a large Steller's Sea Lion on Miles 94 and 95.
CoastWatchers Jerry Chadwick and Sarita Southgate (Mile 123), Lloyd Maxfield (Mile 109) and Diane and Dave Bilderback (Miles 96 and 97) noted the large amounts of sand accumulating on the beach as ridges, only to be rearranged by the summer north winds into transverse dunes.
• Complete Third Quarter 2011 report including Mile Report Summaries
Coast Mole, showing the front feet with their charactistic claws.Second Quarter 2011
Thank you to all who filed reports for the second quarter of 2011! Many of you noted that your beaches were very clean and had little garbage. However, Kim Fassett found so much trash on her Mile 108 that her group ran out of bags. Since there was a large amount of rope in the trash, she thought that it could possibly have washed up from the Crescent
City/Brookings area that was devastated after the March 12 tsunami. Al Dohner and Marty Rhea found large cylindrical pieces of Styrofoam in the rocks on Agate Beach (Mile 112). We found a large piece of Styrofoam wharf that was on Mile 97.
Many of you had wonderful birding adventures this quarter. Susanna Noordhoff saw an Osprey flying with a fresh catch over Mile 131. South Coast UU Fellowship noted Pileated Woodpecker, Wren Tits, Winter Wren and Song Sparrow along their beautiful Sunset Bay Mile 120. Dave Bone (Mile 118-Simpson Overlook area of Cape Arago) saw a Brown Pelican, an Osprey and two Bald Eagles on his March 25 survey and during his June 2nd survey saw two Black Oystercatchers on Shell Island, an adult Bald Eagle but had seen 2 adults and 2 immatures earlier in the week, an Osprey, Turkey Vultures, cormorants and gulls.
Pat and Roberta Smith also saw Turkey Vultures, Western Gulls and Pelagic Cormorants on the adjacent Mile 117. Lloyd Maxfield saw Osprey, Turkey Vultures, swallows, gulls and one Pelagic Cormorant and a Black Oystercatcher on his Mile 109 (Five Mile Point area). Continuing south, Douglas Croucher saw Black Oystercatchers and a Whimbrel along his Mile 101 (Face Rock Wayside to Table Rock in Bandon). We saw a snowy Plover along the wet sand of Mile 96 and an Osprey that landed in the shallow surf and along New River. John Hull saw Sanderlings and a Bald Eagle flying over New River on Mile 95; shorebirds, Sanderlings, cormorants, pelicans and Bald Eagle along Mile 94. Along Mile 93, John saw flocks of seabirds migrating over New River and the beach on May 3, but only two gulls and probably swallows on June 1st.
We found a dead Coast Mole along the edge of New River (southern edge of Mile 96) but our most interesting find was the three tree stumps of an ancient forest that have been exposed by New River's push to the north. This was a reminder of the subsidence that occurs when there is a large Cascadia fault earthquake and the land sinks 3 to 6 feet. When alive, these trees were growing on dry land but today the remaining trunks are exposed on a sandy beach!
• Complete Second Quarter 2011 report including Mile Report Summaries
Least Sandpipers blend right in with the driftwood and it is easy to overlook them from a distance.First Quarter 2011
Thank you to all who filed a report in the First Quarter of 2011 (December 22, 2010 - March 22, 2011)! As customary, the First Quarter Summary Report is attached at the conclusion of this letter.
While many of the beaches of Coos County were devoid of visitors during the first quarter of 2011, the sunny, pleasant, winter days did bring people out to enjoy the beaches at Horsfall (Mile 129), Bastendorff (Mile 122), Sunset Bay (Mile 120), Whisky Run (Mile 109), Bullard's (Mile 104) and Bandon (Mile 100).
Although winter high seas did characteristically erode the foredunes of many beaches, CoastWatchers were amazed that their adopted beaches were so remarkably clean of debris and displayed only a light driftline of a few shells, carapaces and small rocks. This was unexpected as heavy winter storms usually bring considerable debris and heavy driftlines to the Oregon beaches.
Wildlife also was remarkably sparse on the beaches with Harbor Seals, Western Gulls and a few small flocks of Sanderlings being the most commonly sighted animals. However, Lloyd Maxfield did observe Harlequin Ducks, Surf Scoter and turnstones on Mile 109, and Pat and Roberta Smit reported that the Northern Elephant Seals had pups at Shell Island on Mile 118. For the second year in a row, Barbara Harrison found a dead beaver on Mile 98. On Mile 97, Barbara Harrison also observed a few Snowy Plovers, and we found about 190 Least Sandpipers huddled together in groups on the dry sand.
We have two reminders as we enter this busy tourist season. If you see people climbing on off-shore rocks or islands, please call Dan Huckel, the USFWS law enforcement officer, at 541-961-9399 cell or 541-867-4550 office to report the place, time and type of activity. Also, rules on fires: beach fires in state parks such as Bullard's Beach or Sunset Bay need to have specific permits issued by area park managers, and no fires are ever permitted near driftwood. However, fires can be built on the dry sand, away from the headlands and driftwood along areas not in state parks. These fires should be "dead out" and not left smoldering when unattended. If you see a fire that is out of control or is threatening to spread to the headlands or shores, call 911. If the fire is not threatening to spread, or is smoldering, you can take a stick to separate the pieces or use water to put it out, but don't cover it with sand as an unsuspecting person may step bare-footed on the coals. Please do report unattended fires to local area state park managers.
• Complete First Quarter 2011 report including Mile Report Summaries
This Harbor Seal track is along the south edge of the Snowy Plover Habitat Restoration Area.Fourth Quarter 2010
Happy 2011 and good beach walking to you! Thank you to all who filed a report in the Fourth Quarter of 2010 (September 21-December 22)! As customary, the Fourth Quarter Summary Report is attached at the end of this letter.
While we often have some jelly fish washing ashore in the fourth quarter of the year, large numbers of jellies were observed by Kim Fasset on her Mile 108 on September 25, Doug Croucher on his Mile 101 on October 3rd and by John Hull on Mile 94 on September 25th and on Mile 93 on September 27th. Since these reports all were made within a 10 day period and in the southern Coos County area, it appears that there was an abnormal amount of jellies washing up on shore. It will be interesting to see if the same thing occurs in 2011.
Lloyd Maxfield reported that the Humpback whale that washed ashore on Mile 106 was basically a large pile of blubber on September 22. We heard from the Marine Mammal Stranding Network that Oregon Institute of Marine Biology graduate students and State Parks Rangers were involved in collecting biological data from the whale when it first washed ashore as well as to retrieve the fishing gear that had entangled the whale and send it to NOAA Fisheries for identification.
Thanks to Sarita Southgate for reporting the dead and dying sea lions to the Marine Mammal Stranding Network at Bastendorff Beach on September 24th! Just a reminder that if you see an alive or dead marine mammal, please do report this either by
• using the easy online CoastWatch Marine Mammal Stranding Report, or
• calling 541-270-6830. Please make certain to include whether the animal is alive or dead, the estimated length and coloration of the animal, the location, time of your observation and finally, please leave a telephone number where you can be contacted. If you have a camera, please make certain to take pictures as these are the best way to identify animals or carcasses.
Barbara Harrison reported that there was a large collection of logs on Bullard’s Beach Mile 103 and 104 early in November. We found this section still full of logs on our walk in the area on January 2, 2011. We are looking forward to seeing what you all will find on your beaches on the first quarter of 2011!
• Complete Fourth Quarter 2010 report including Mile Report Summaries
Closeup of dorsal fin of the Longnose Lancetfish. The fin is soft and at first was down against the body. In this photo, Dave has pulled the fin up. Note the beautiful blue eye and irridescent skin.Third Quarter 2010
Thank you to those of you who filed reports for the Third Quarter of 2010 (see summary below)!
This summertime quarter found increased use of some beaches by people enjoying walking on the beach, playing in the sand, kite-flying and horseback-riding while other beaches had few visitors. Also, there was increased motorized use of beaches where various types of vehicles are allowed. Unfortunately, the number of reports of violations of vehicular use on closed beaches also increased during the quarter. Jerry Chadwick and Sarita Southgate found that illegal driving continues to destroy sections of the Bastendorff Beach foredune.
Generally, the driftline was light and had the usual kelp and algae, wood pieces, small rocks and little to moderate amounts of man-made debris. However, Phil and Connie Van Doren reported the largest amount of plastic and glass bottles washed ashore that they had ever seen on Mile 139. Susanna Noordhoff removed three bags of debris from Mile 131 and reported that the shipwreck of the Sujomeca was visible at Horsfall Beach access. Al Dohner and Marty Rhea removed bottles, lines, parts of a large float and a 5 gallon jerry can from the beach.
Beaches continued to accumulate sand, forming berms between the ocean and foredunes and obscuring bedrock. On some beaches, distinctive ridges and runnels formed with runnels retaining sea water from high tide overwash.
Louise Whitehead found squid egg cases on Mile 121—a rare find indeed! David Bone saw one pod of Orca, and he heard that another pod was sighted off his Mile 118 at Simpson Reef. Patrick and Roberta Smit reported that many colorful Harlequin Ducks were in the north Cove of Cape Arago off of their Mile 117. Barbara Harrison observed Snowy Plovers on Miles 96 and 97. We found an unusual Longnose Lancetfish on Mile 98. After attending a summer BLM New River presentation on Tiger Beetles, we were able to find Pacific Coast and Oregon Tiger Beetles on both Mile 97 and 96.
• Complete Third Quarter 2010 report including Mile Report Summaries
This dead Pacific Sardine (Sardinopsa sagax caeruleus) was found at the conflunce of Twomile Creek and New River.Second Quarter 2010
Thanks to those of you who filed beach reports for the Second Quarter of 2010!
Some Coos County beaches accumulated large amounts of man-made debris while many other beaches did not. BeachLisa believes that the North Spit of Coos Bay (Miles 125-126) seems to “catch more than their share of trash.” Lisa found a plethora of large red light, mercury vapor, fluorescent and incandescent bulbs on Miles 125-126, and John Hull also found fluorescent and incandescent light bulbs on Mile 93 as well as large numbers of fishing floats on Miles 93- 94. Michelle Roberts reported that South Whisky Run Beach (Mile 108) had accumulated tires, hard hats, shoe soles, oil containers as well as plastic and glass bottles. Barbara Harrison found that the “high surf and west winds brought in an abundance of litter much of it glass and plastic bottles” onto Bullards Beach (Mile 104) and South China Creek Beach (Mile 97).
Al Dohner and Marty Rhea’s neighbor removed two 35 gallon bags of bottles and plastic from the beach, but Al and Marty still found additional debris to remove one week later on their Mile 112. Probably the most unusual finds by Barbara Harrison were portions of a dead cow on Mile 104 (Bullard’s Beach) and a Kitchen base cupboard on Mile 97.
Jerry Chadwick and Sarita Southgate report that State Parks has made a great improvement at Bastendorff Beach by opening a much needed new toilet and garbage can! Unfortunately, people are still driving illegally on this beach and leaving trash and fire remains.
Jerry and Sarita also report that there has been a lot of sand filling in along the south side of the jetty and that it enabled them to walk to within about 150 yards of the last spur of the jetty. Al Solomon and Jean Adamson found rockfall from the 35 foot cliff at the southwestern end of Bastendorff Beach and that erosion continues along the foredune. They also found four dead and decomposing seals or sea lions on this section of the beach. Heavy erosion of the foredune was also noted by Douglas Croucher on Mile 104 and 105.
Sand has continued to accumulate on the beaches forming distinctive long ridges and runnels. On the other hand, we found that the mouth of New River continues to migrate north on Mile 96. Since 2007, the river has moved 1820 feet to the north eroding 1180 feet of the foredune!
Lloyd Maxfield found over eight different wild flowers blooming along the beach and headland of Mile 109 this quarter. Those of you interested in coastal wildflowers should check out his nice photos of these plants as well as other interesting critters that he found along the shore.
• Complete Second Quarter 2010 report including Mile Report Summaries
The small forest (Englemann spruce) on top of the foredune is collapsing onto the beach as the foredune is being washed away.First Quarter 2010
Photo 03/13/2010, Jean Adamson
Thanks to those of you who filed reports for the First Quarter of 2010!
This quarter most CoastWatchers enjoyed walking the unpopulated beaches, often being the only people on the beach. Many beaches displayed evidence of winter storms and the actions of high surf. Waves have overtopped and eroded the bases of the foredunes. With a few notable exceptions, the high surf has removed sand, leveling the beach. BeachLisa found that the shipwreck of the George Olson was once again partially exposed above the sand line on Mile 125, whereas Susanna Noordoff reported that the shipwreck of the Sujomeca at Horsfall Beach access was buried again except for a two foot long metal spike. Louise Whitehead was amazed to find that Lighthouse Beach (Mile 121) was not loosing sand but was remarkably in-filling with sand.
Winter storms had brought considerable driftwood and logs to the high beach but with a few exceptions had swept the lower beach clean leaving behind only a minimal driftline with few dead birds and little ocean-based debris. However, three beaches did accumulate trash. BeachLisa reported that Miles 125-126 on the North Spit of Coos Bay was festooned with trash. Al Solomon and Jean Adamson found that trash buried in the foredune was dropping onto Bastendorff Beach (Mile 122) as the foredune eroded. We found considerable trash accumulated on the northern shore of the mouth of New River.
Lloyd Maxfield reported that sand removal at Fivemile Point (Mile 109) was so severe that the bedrock was exposed. Tom Bishop also reported exposed bedrock on Merchants Beach (Mile 111). Al Solomon and Jean Adamson found that rocks at Yoakam Point (Mile 122) that had been covered with sand during the summer were fully exposed six feet above the sand line.
Jerry Chadwick and Sarita Southgate remain concerned about the degradation of Bastendorff Beach (Mile 123) by illegal vehicular damage. Wildlife on the beaches was mostly limited to foraging Sanderlings and a few Western Gulls. However, Patrick and Roberta Smit (Mile 117) and Lloyd Maxfield (Mile 109) did see Harlequin Ducks. Elaine Cramer reports that a porcupine was encountered on the trail to her mile at South Cove of Cape Arago (Mile116), and Lloyd Maxfield found a dead Lamprey on Mile 109. Barbara Harrison and we spotted over-wintering Snowy Plovers on Miles 96 and 97.
• Complete First Quarter 2010 report including Mile Report Summaries
Brown Pelican, North Cove Cape Arago, Mile 117, 10/31/2009.Fourth Quarter 2009
Thank you to those of you who filed reports for the Fourth Quarter of 2009.Thank you also to those of you who removed garbage from our beaches!
This quarter may very well be called the "Brown Pelican Quarter" as many of you mentioned seeing large numbers of these birds along our coast and beaches this fall. Bill Bridgeland, Fish and Wildlife biologist for the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex, USFWS estimated that there were 3000 birds in the Bandon Face Rock, Coquille Point, Table Rock area alone.
Normally, Brown Pelicans leave our shores in the fall and wing their way to warmer California for breeding, but this year there appears to have been plenty of small bait fish to feed so many birds. But with any large grouping of birds, there will be some that are injured or dying. For example, Barbara Harrison (report on 11/24/09, Mile 101) called Free Flight Bird Rehabilitation in Bandon and assisted them in moving an injured Brown Pelican for rehabilitation. Currently, there are still some Brown Pelicans in the area but the large majority have moved south. Please follow Barbara's example and call Free Flight at 541-347-3882 to report birds that are you suspect may be in trouble. Do not attempt to capture, feed or approach these birds as it is illegal to do so and discourages these birds from migrating south in the normal way. On Mile 100, 11/30/09, just opposite Face Rock, Doug Croucher saw people moving towards a large flock of gulls and Brown Pelicans resting on the beach that caused these birds to use energy to fly up. It will be interesting to see if the Brown Pelicans stay late again this coming fall of 2010.
A few other interesting natural beach finds this quarter were Elaine Kramer's dead octopus (South Cove, Cape Arago-Mile 116), two large Humboldt Squid (one on Larry Plew's Mile 130 and on our Mile 96) and a dead beaver found by Barbara Harrison on Mile 98. Dan Packard saw two Harbor Porpoise swimming off of his Mile 119, Cape Arago on 10/20/09. Pat and Roberta Smit saw large aggregations of California Sea Lions in North Cove of Cape Arago (Mile 117) on 12/20/09 and others reported seeing groups of sea lions swimming offshore of their miles this fall.
Larry Plews found the Helen E shipwreck emerging from the sands on his Mile 130 (see online photo with his report 12/18/09). BeachLisa found "Enough treated lumber to build a garage.." on her Mile 125 on 12/19/09. Much of the lumber was studded with nails that will make it dangerous for vehicle and bare-foot traffic on these beaches in the future. She witnessed ATV and vehicles who allow their dogs to run loose as they proceeded down the beach and sand road area.
Jerry Chadwick and Sarita Southgate witnessed a SUV on their Bastendorff beach (Mile 123), and they notified South Coast Beach Ranger Robin Sears (541-297-7089) and action was taken on this violation quite promptly by law enforcement. Don and Leslie Suva found evidence of fires on the beach on Mile 98 (Devil's Kitchen beach) on 11/1/09. Many of you helped clear garbage from the beach on your miles!
We also would like to thank quite a few of you who have found a dead marine mammal on the beach and reported it to Jim Rice, Marine Mammal Stranding Coordinator, using the CoastWatch Marine Mammal Stranding online form or given a call to the Stranding Hotline at 541-270-6830. These reports help establish much need baseline information about these strandings.
• Complete Fourth Quarter 2009 report including Mile Report Summaries
Dave Bilderback (right), Hanspeter Witschi carrying Gray Whale vertebra, Mile 96.Third Quarter 2009
Thanks to all who filed reports for the summer "Third Quarter" of the year!
We also would like to thank many of you who reported that you found dead seals or sea lions on your mile and then took the additional step to call (541-270-6830) or email or use the CW stranding form to send the location and photos to Jim Rice, the Coordinator of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network. This information is collected by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) so that the "normal number" of strandings is known (called a "baseline number"). If the number of animals that strand increases, scientists can be alerted to investigate further. Your help with this is invaluable to the Stranding Network!
Bill Poppe found a dead Black-footed Albatross on his Mile 138. Shawn Powell and Tina Choi found a whale vertebra and a dead Salmon Shark on their Mile 127. Another small dead shark was found by Al Dohner and Marty Rhea on their Mile 112. We also found a whale vertebra on our Mile 96 and were permitted to collect it by the Marine Mammal Stranding Network for the Shoreline Education for Awareness (SEA) educational outreach program. Will Bailey saw a large amount of Dungeness Crab bodies and parts on his Mile 107. BeachLisa saw lots of jellies on her Mile 134.
Jerry Chadwick and Sarita Southgate are continuing to see lots of trash, dead fire mounds with broken glass and debris, dune erosion caused by traffic over the dunes, as well as lots of tire tracks on the closed Bastendorff Beach, Mile 123. Susanna Nordoff found two small still-smoking fires on her Mile 131. Barbara Harrison found campers in the no-camping zone on Mile 98. These concerns all have been reported to State Parks.
Many of you reported that the normal amount of sand was building up on your miles. Louise Whitehead reports that Mile 121 (Lighthouse Beach) developed quite a steep slope that she had never seen before as well as more small caves in the cliffs.
• Complete Third Quarter 2009 report including Mile Report Summaries
Guadalupe Fur Seal's narrow jaw. Purple is Dave's gloved fingersSecond Quarter 2009
Thanks to all of you who have filed reports during the second quarter of this year! Thanks also to the large number of you who removed litter from our beaches!
Many of you mentioned seeing large numbers of Brown Pelicans that returned early to our beaches this year. Dave Bone, Mile 118, spotted a pod of Orcas near Simpson Reef on the evening of June 8th. John Hull saw hundreds of jellies on his walk along Mile 96 on May 31st. BeachLisa found two concentrations of dead crabs on her Mile 134 on June 14th. We found a dead Guadalupe Fur Seal and two wings and a foot of a Black-footed Albatross on a walk of Mile 100 (photos in the report). The Black-footed Albatross wings and foot are now part of the Bandon Marsh USFWS Office display.
Doug and Mariann Croucher found beachgoers and their dogs getting too close to 12 Harbor Seals and their 6 pups on Memorial Day and so reminded folks to leash their dogs and give the Harbor Seals space at Coquille Point.
Louise Whitehead, Mile 121, reported 3 people on the Gregory Point Lighthouse Island and we reported this to the USFWS. However, this land will be soon turned over from the US Coast Guard (current owners) to the Coos Confederated Tribal authorities. In the future, please report people on this island to Brad Kneaper, Chief of Police, Coos Confederated Tribes at 541-999-7141. However, in all other cases, if you see people on Oregon off-shore islands, these should be reported to Daniel Huckel, Refuge Officer, USFWS, at office number: 541-867-4550 extension 240 or cell phone 541-961-9399.
Barbara Harrison has reported several violations in the Snowy Plover Habitat area of a person walking through the fencing as well as an ATV and motorcycle tracks in the China Creek area of Bandon. Don and Leslie Suva noted that there was illegal camping in the China Creek Parking lot as well as evidence of campfire in the driftwood close to the parking lot on June 25th. Al Dohner saw tire tracks on Mile 112 in early June which is a beach closed to vehicles.
We would like to alert you to a new deadline policy for our CoastWatch reports. While you will see that all reports submitted through the end of June are included in this report summary, in the future, we will include in the summary just those reports submitted by the 21st of the end of quarter months of March, June, September and December. The reports submitted with dates later than the 21st of those months will be included in the subsequent quarterly report. This will streamline summary report preparation. Also, Lloyd Maxfield has made it possible to include the "mile descriptors" in the summary, and so, we have eliminated the beach place markers in the following summary report. If you click on the report date, this will take you to the full report on the CW website.
• Complete Second Quarter 2009 report including Mile Report Summaries
A log cut by a beaverFirst Quarter 2009
Thank you to all CoastWatchers who have filed reports this quarter! We had a total of 40 reports (these also include the new "Dispatch" type). Also, thank you to the many CoastWatchers who removed garbage from the beach, whether on the formal SOLV Beach Clean-up Day or during other times during the quarter. Those of you attending the February 28th presentation, "Trash on the Beach" by Al Dohner know how important it is to get the plastic off the beach!
We had an interesting winter with some nice sunshine and calmer weather in January and February that allowed 13 Northern Elephant Seal pups to be born at Shell Island and survive through weaning. Normally, they are born but die when they are washed off the island during the rough winter weather. Dan Packard (Mile 119) and Dave Bone (Mile 118) both reported seeing Gray Whales off of their miles. Another interesting phenomenon was the sighting of flying Brown Pelicans off of Kerry Palermo's (Mile 142) and Jerry Chadwick and Sarita Southgate's (Mile 123) miles! Normally, these birds are in California and Mexico at this time. Several of you also sighted Bald Eagles flying over your miles. Also, Barbara Harrison found a dead Salmon Shark on Mile 98, a first for a winter wash-up.
Many of you reported that there was a large amount of logs or woody debris on your miles. We had stems and small logs that had obviously been stripped of the bark or chewed by beaver on Miles 96 and 97, and then we noticed it again on Miles 99 and 100. While the winter weather was milder than previous years, many of you did report that you had the "normal" winter erosion of the foredune.
Lloyd Maxfield noticed that there had been a fire in the gorse along the lower portion of the headland near the beach access at Whiskey Run and reported that to Oregon State Parks and Recreation. This was the first that they had heard about this fire, so it is important to report such issues when you find them. Vehicles or vehicle tracks in no vehicle areas were reported on Miles 104, 123, and 138.
Dave and I are noticing that this winter, sand levels remain high on many of the Coos County beaches and will be interested to know if this summer's normal sand build up will be especially high. There's always much to watch as the beach is always changing!
• Complete First Quarter 2009 report including Mile Report Summaries
Bullseye Puffer Fish, Mile 131Fourth Quarter 2008
We had an amazing 43 CoastWatch reports during the Fourth Quarter of 2008! Thank you to all who submitted reports! We have included reports through the New Year's weekend, January 3, 2009 in the following Fourth Quarter Summary Report.
Many of you mentioned seeing Brown Pelicans late this year. Over 3000 birds were observed in the Audubon Coos Bay Christmas Bird count, and this is very unusual as generally they fly south before December. Dave Bone reports that ODFW attributes this to a large pelican hatch in the past two years and a large herring run. It will be interesting to see if this is repeated in 2009. Barbara Harrison reports finding a dead Brown Pelican on her Mile 97, and we also have seen about five dead pelicans at various locations this quarter. However, with the increase in living birds, it isn't surprising that we will find a few dead ones.
Many of you also commented on the large bull kelp wash up this year. These piles are a great food source for the beach hoppers and other insects, which in turn are greedily eaten by Sanderlings, Western Sandpipers, Least Sandpipers, Snowy Plovers, Dunlins and other shorebirds.
Susanna Noordhoff and we found a Bullseye Puffer Fish with its distinctive parrot-like teeth on her newly adopted Mile 131 during her orientation hike. This fish normally lives in waters from Peru to San Diego area and so was reported to ODFW. See photo below our signatures.
ATV's, vehicles and their tracks were reported on closed beaches on Mile 141, 140, 123, 104, and 97. State Parks and Recreation have put up new signs on Bastendorff Beach and other beaches in our area, hoping to discourage vehicles on closed beaches. Please continue reporting problems in your reports.
Many of you agreed with Elizabeth Spona (Mile 129) when she reported that "The ocean was impressively turbulent." Walking on the beaches during the Fourth Quarter can be challenging, requiring a careful look at the tide charts and most of all, watching out for sneaker waves.
• Complete Fourth Quarter 2008 report including Mile Report Summaries
Diving Pelican, Bastendorff Beach.Third Quarter 2008
Photo ©2008 Patrick D. Smit - May be used for non-commericial purposes.
Another great summer of interesting CoastWatch reports! Thanks to all of you who have submitted reports. We have had several reports of variously "green goo" or "green frothy" or "brown-colored" ocean water, which is a good sign that our ocean has been upwelling and that the nutrients from the upwelling have caused the wonderful bloom of diatoms that feed our ocean food chain. It may not look great, but it is a good sign.
Many of you reported seeing lots of Brown Pelicans flying over the ocean and diving for food and Turkey Vultures gliding over the beaches. We also had lots of reports of Whimbrels, Sanderlings and other shorebirds on our beaches. Louise Whitehead spotted two puffins mixed in with other floating birds off of her Lighthouse Beach (Mile 121), and both Dan Packard and Dave Bone saw whales off of their Cape Arago miles (Mile 119 and 118).
There was an unattended fire on John Noland's Mile 100 as well as evidence of fires in the driftwood on Marty Rhea and Al Dohner's Mile 112. Doug Croucher reported a dog was harassing an injured Common Murre on Mile 101.
We hope that you have had a chance to read John Noland's "The Shark Community", the first "CoastWatch Story" on the CW website. There are full-sized photos of the live Salmon Shark that was returned to the ocean in his report of August 19, Mile 100. In addition to this live animal, we found a dead Salmon Shark on Mile 97. This same animal was later found by Barbara Harrison on her walk. We also found a Longnose Skate on Mile 96.
During August and September, many of you reported finding dead birds (Common Murre being the most prevalent) on your walks. One factor may have been our rough seas in August and September. Young Common Murre have a hard time when the surf gets rough as they get separated from their Dads, the parent that takes care of them at this time of their life. So they often get washed up on the shore. BeachLisa found over 13 dead juvenile pelicans on her Horsfall Mile 128 and this is the first time we have had a report of that many dead pelicans on a mile. Again, the high surf may cause juvenile birds to have trouble feeding and so get in trouble.
We want to thank those of you who participated in the September 20 SOLV Beach Clean-up! Your work helps keep the plastic and other garbage from the mouths of our marine birds and animals as well as making the beaches safer and cleaner!
• Complete Third Quarter 2008 report including Mile Report Summaries
Second Quarter 2008
We finally have completed the Second Quarter Summary Report. While we are unusually slow to send this out, we have been in touch with State Parks and Jim Rice, Marine Mammal Stranding Coordinator, as well as other land managers about some of your observations as they came in. Thanks to those of you who filed reports for the Second Quarter and those of you who have turned in reports for the Third Quarter already!
We had two reports of untended fires left smoldering (Elizabeth and Mike Sponda, Mile 129, Horsfall Beach, and Doug and Marianne Croucher, Mile 105, Bullards Beach). These are particularly dangerous as children can come running in an area and not realize that there are hot coals on the beach and may be burned.
New Oregon Coast Trail going west of Tokyo Lane to Merchants Beach. Photo by Tom Bishop.
Tom Bishop reported on June 8 for Mile 110 that the Oregon Coast Trail had been relocated and that the trail was hard to follow. He was particularly upset about the new trail's lack of any ocean view. We asked him to take photos and document the changes and he did so with a follow-up report on June 15 (Mile 109).
We have used his report to talk with Rocky Houston, who works for State Parks on the Oregon Coast Trail, about these changes. The Coast Trail was granted an easement by the Whiskey Run area wind mill company in 1985. In 1996, this company sold the land to Bandon Dunes and other people. Unfortunately, horses used the trail to the golf course to eat the grass and damaged the course. This resulted in a rerouting of the trail along a logging road and then down to Whiskey Run Road. Another rerouting of the trail occurred when the landowner began ranching short-hair cattle. The landowner was concerned that the cattle could possibly harm a hiker during the calving season or the cattle could be hurt by dogs off-leash. This resulted in the trail being rerouted again to parallel the property and to keep both the hikers and cattle separated.
What we understand is that all the landowners have worked with the Oregon Coast Trail officials to reroute the trail to keep hikers safe and to prevent property damage. Unfortunately, what has been lost is the wonderful view of the ocean. Lloyd Maxfield has posted a map of the trail's new route on his report of 8/1/2008 for Mile 109 for those of you who are interested in looking at a map. Blair Holman reported on 9/1/2009 for Mile 110, that there still needs to be a sign that indicates where the trail begins from the beach. We will keep you posted as we learn more about this matter.
One other unusual observation was that Barbara Harrison (Mile 97, April 10) and Don Luce (Mile 90, June 2) both reported finding pink shrimp in the driftline.
George L. Olson shipwreck on North Spit Beach. Photo by Elaine Cramer.First Quarter 2008
Thanks to those of you who submitted reports in the First Quarter of 2008! We had a total of 36 reports. Many of you found your beaches eroded by the winter storms, exposing logs in the ocean carved foredunes. The North Spit area suffered greatly in this removal of sand, leading to the reappearance of the Horsfall Ship as well as the new appearance (for many years) of the "George L. Olson" on Mile 125.
Another common theme was that the beaches were "clean" and less debris was reported than in Winter quarter of 2007. Thanks to those of you who help remove the debris! We had fewer dead birds reported than in 2007 as well. There was one sighting of a live Coypu or Nutria on Mile 126 and a dead muskrat on Mile 97. While there have been fewer dead marine mammals this winter, John and Beth Wegner found a dead Harbor Seal with the hind flippers tied on their Mile 133. This and the other strandings were reported to Jim Rice, Marine Mammal Stranding Coordinator.
It appears that we had one successful Northern Elephant Seal pup raised out at Shell Island as the animal disappeared and it was assumed that it went to sea at the appropriate time. Dave Bone reports that the telescopes removed by vandals at Simpson Reef Overlook were found dumped from a bridge over a slough. Vandals released 6 goats from a research project in the Cape Arago area.
We invite you to attend our upcoming CoastWatch Conference on May 31st at Southern Oregon Community College, Hales Center for the Performing Arts. Marine ecologist Cynthia Trowbridge will lead off with a basic ecological tour of Oregon's rocky shores, and will be followed by veteran natural history educator (and Coos County CoastWatcher) Marty Giles, speaking on "The World of the Beach." Our key speaker in the afternoon will be geologist Jonathan Allan of Oregon's Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, discussing recent research into sand movement and changes of the shoreline (and the likely future as sea level rises and wave heights increase). Workshops will focus on invasive species of the shoreline (led by Cynthia Trowbridge) and identifying seabirds and shorebirds (by Dawn Grafe of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service). The day will conclude with field trips to both sandy and rocky shorelines. Registration will begin at 9 a.m., with the conference running from 9:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., and field trips following.
We strongly encourage you to invite friends, neighbors and any interested person to attend the conference as it is free and open to all. This is a great opportunity to learn about our coastal rocky shore, birds, animals, plants, invasive species as well as the important changes in sand levels. We always are looking for additional Mile Adopter volunteers as well.
Brandt's Cormorant, bandedFourth Quarter 2007
Thank you to all those of you who filed reports! We had only 14 reports in the Fourth Quarter of 2006, but in 2007, we had 41 reports! We attribute this to many of you taking advantage of filing your reports online! We have enjoyed reading your reports and seeing the great photos that some of you have submitted.
It was a good quarter to see birds as many of you mentioned seeing Brown Pelicans (Miles 90, 96, 97, 104, 117, 126, and 141), Sanderlings (Miles 90, 96, 97, 104, 106, 124, and 130) and Snowy Plovers (Miles 95, 96, 97, 106, 138) as well as sea gulls and other birds. Bill Poppe reported seeing a cow elk in the lagoon on Mile 138, which is a first sighting of an elk on the beach.
Bill Poppe also observed that while the section of beach closed to vehicles on Mile 138 has about 75 feet of additional vegetation — the majority being European Beachgrass, the section that is open to vehicles has none of this vegetation.
Many of you reported that the ocean leveled the beach (Miles 97, 99, 104, 109, 126, 133, 137, and 141), and some reported that there was foredune erosion.
Storm damage was visible on the Cape Arago headlands (Miles 118 and 119) with slides, trees and branches down as well as evidence of high stream flows. On Mile 117, Pat and Roberta Smit found that the normally heavy driftline "was much reduced and restricted to the center of the cove." In addition, they found an estimated 700 golf balls that they removed, and this has been reported to Robin Sears, South Coast Beach Ranger.
Other issues of concern were the vandalism of telescopes at Simpson Reef Overlook on Mile 118, vehicle/horse conflicts on Mile 126 (Horsfall Beach north of New Carissa) and tracks of vehicles in closed vehicle areas on Miles 112 (Agate Beach) and 123 (Bastendorff Beach). These all have been reported to Robin Sears and other State Park Managers.
For those of you who "missed the boat" last year -you have another chance to view the shipwreck remains of the steel steamer, Sajameco that wrecked in 1929 on Horsfall Beach near the Observation Parking lot as the recent sand erosion has made it visible again.
We had three reports of banded birds being found in the past month and wanted to give you some guidelines on reporting these birds. David Ledig, South Coast Refuge Manager, (USFW) advises that if possible, the metal band should be removed as there often is additional information about the bird and where to send the information on the inside of the band. This can be done by taking two small pieces of string, pulling in opposite directions and opening the band. The bird band can be reported at the "How to Report a Federal Bird Band in North America" website or you can call 1-800-327-BAND (2263). You can send the metal band into the address that is often in the inside of the band, or you are welcome to take the metal band to David Ledig at the Bandon Marsh Office, 836373 North Bank Lane, Bandon (please call first at 347-1470), and he will send it off. It is important to report the band as scientists learn many things about bird migration and juvenile success rates from these reports. For example, many of the banded Brandt's Cormorants are from the Farallon Islands off the coast of San Francisco, CA.
• Complete Fourth Quarter 2007 report including Mile Report Summaries
Jan and Robin greet a Northern Elephant Seal pup.Third Quarter 2007
Photo ©2007 Trish Mace.
Thanks to so many of you who filed reports this past quarter! We had a banner reporting period with 41 reports filed! We have enjoyed reading as well as viewing the pictures for those of you who submitted them.
Dave Bone (Mile 118) and Pat and Roberta Smit (Mile 117) reported seeing Gray Whales off of their Cape Arago headland miles. Overall, most of you reported clean and uncluttered beaches. Many of you reported sand erosion or removal in reports filed in late August and September. This is very different from last year's heavy accumulation of sand on the beach. This summer we had two periods (middle of July and middle of August) where the wind blew from the south rather than from the north, creating periods of "ocean down-welling" rather than our customary north wind that leads to "ocean up-welling". So many beaches did not get the "normal" sand accumulation that comes from the ocean upwelling.
Louise Whitehead reported a dead Humpback Whale on her Mile 121, and dead young Salmon Sharks (Lamna ditropis) were reported on Miles 140, 108, 99 and 106. These periods of down-welling were very busy for us as well, as we had 35 young Steller's Sea Lion pups that came ashore during months of July and August from Port Orford to Whiskey Run. While we certainly had not seen this number in previous years, Dr. Susan Reimer, a Steller's Sea Lion biologist working with ODFW told us that about 2000 animals were born on the Orford and Rogue Reefs, and so this number of dead young animals is within a normal range. Dr. Jan Hodder, Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, pointed out that all of our dead animals were found after a period of "down-welling" which brings floating material from the ocean and deposits it on the beach.
Salmon sharkFire was another concern this summer as there were three fires reported. Lloyd Maxfield reported that near Mile 109, there was a 10-20 acre wildfire in the gorse along the top of the bluff south of Whiskey Run access road. Al Dohner reported a large fire in the driftwood on September 1 on Mile 113, and we found an unattended beach fire on Mile 97.
Blair Holman found an illegal campsite on his Mile 110, and this was reported to Robin Sears, South Coast Beach Ranger. She and Calum Stevenson, South Coast Coordinator Natural Resources, investigated and took down this structure. Al Dohner reported that there were illegal tire tracks around Fivemile Point and these went north to the sea stacks between Agate and Sacchi beaches (Miles 109-112), and this also was reported to Robin Sears. Dave Bone reported vandalism of a park bench to Cape Arago Park officials.
• Complete Third Quarter 2007 report including Mile Report Summaries
Spring sand buildup on Mile 96. Photo by Diane Bilderback, 7/25/2007.Second Quarter 2007
Thanks again to all of you who submitted reports for the Second Quarter of 2007! Many of you have noted that sand was starting to move in from the ocean this quarter. A good example comes from Pam Smith who noted that her Mile 107 was “No longer an immense stretch of fairly flat beach, but rather a rambling of hills and valleys with sandbars and mini rivers everywhere.” Quite a few of you visited your mile during low tides and reported that people were being respectful of the tidepool life.
Following are examples of how CoastWatch reports help monitor the health of the shore and how the Department of Parks and Recreation positively responds to your concerns.
Shawn Powell and Tina Choi reported that there were several feet of possible oil residue running along the length of the beach at the New Carissa wreck on their Mile 127. This information was conveyed to Calum Stevenson, South Coast Coordinator for Natural Resources, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. Calum investigated and found that there were black streaks located at the high tide line approximately 25 feet west of the foredune and only adjacent to the New Carissa. However, after collecting a sample of this sand, he determined that the dark substance responded to a magnet and did not look or feel oily. Calum concluded that the black substance was magnetite. This may alleviate the concerns of other CoastWatchers, who were concerned about seeing black streaks on the beach. We want to thank Calum for looking into this matter.
Eric and Sue Dolan reported a large rusty water heater on their Mile 99 near Johnson Creek in Bandon. We are happy to report that Robin Sears, South Coast Beach Ranger and the North Coast Beach Ranger, David Woody, combined forces and used the crane on David’s truck to remove it from the beach. They also attempted to remove the partial boat hull that is just north of Fivemile Point on Mile 109 as well, but were unable to get around the point. Thank you for your work to clean up the beaches, Robin and David!
If you have questions or suggestions about how we can improve this summary, please email us.
• Complete Second Quarter 2007 report including Mile Report Summaries
Skeleton of 1920 steamer Sajameco.First Quarter 2007
Photo ©2007 Diane and Dave Bilderback.
We are delighted to have reports on so much of our Coos County coastline! Many of you found this winter's high seas eroding the vegetated foredunes, removing large amount of sand and making the beach flat and often without much of a wrackline. Two old shipwrecks were found, one by Griffith King at Horsfall Observation and the other by Pam Smith at Cut Creek on Whisky Run Beach. Tom Bishop and Joanne Bailey also found the shell of a fiberglass bow just north of Fivemile Point.
Quite a few ATV/Vehicle violations were observed and reported to area managers. Lloyd Maxfield reported a 55 gallon drum of oil on Whisky Run Beach to managers, who were able to remove it. This is the third time that he has found oil on this beach. Many of you observed Sanderlings in the surfline, and during March, there were many reports of dead Rhinoceros Auklets, Tufted Puffins and Horned Puffins. This wash-up of birds was reported to David Ledig, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Necropsies done on some of these dead birds indicated that they had starved to death.
Many of you chose to submit reports on the new online system and were for the first time able to submit photos as well. Photos have helped with the identification of dead birds and other interesting beach finds. Also, some of you chose to submit more than one report due to the ease of the online system. To view the full reports and photos, please go to the Mile Reports Browser. You can sort the reports by county and date and that will make it easier to find just the most recent Coos County reports.
We would be happy to receive articles about your CoastWatch activities or beach finds for publication on the Coos County web site.
We have placed the following Coos County news items on the website:
Albatross Beached on Mile 136
CoastWatcher Finds 1929 Shipwreck on Mile 107
Pacific White-sided Dolphin Found on Mile 97
Teamwork Rescues Northern Elephant Seal Pup
Ghost Ship Appears at Horsfall Overlook
• Complete First Quarter 2007 report including Mile Report Summaries
Almost 4' of sand lost.Fourth Quarter 2006
Photo by Diane Bilderback.
Thank you to those of you who submitted your reports for the Fourth Quarter, 2006. Many of you saw large bull kelp knots (Nereocystis) on the beach this last quarter. Stormy seas ripped up the algae's holdfasts and brought them ashore. Another common observation was strong sand removal by the ocean, and in some cases, rocks were exposed that people were seeing for the first time. The storms were so strong that logs washed up on and over the foredunes. This has resulted in erosion of some foredunes and bluffs. These photographs were taken less than a month apart and show Dave standing next to a Snowy Plover fence post near China Creek. Look at how much sand was removed!
We are happy to report that we have had over 10 new Mile Adopters in the past few weeks and are looking forward to having an increased number of reports in the first quarter of 2007.
If you are interested in testing the new online Mile Report form, please send us an email and we will get you started. One great advantage of this online form is that you will be able to see the reports as they are published instead of waiting for our summary. Also, another great advantage is that you can upload digital photos of your mile, making it much easier to keep track of mile changes over time. The paper report form still will be available to those of you who wish to use it. However, Dave and I will be placing the information from these forms up on the web so that it is available to other CoastWatchers.
Be sure to bookmark this new Coos County Web page, with its summary of all the recently published reports (click on the report to see a one page version), scheduled events, and what we call 'alerts' such as interesting photos of events on miles. Alerts may include pictures of living or dead whales, dolphins, birds of interest or human activities as well as unusual natural events. Alerts allow people who aren't on that mile to know about an event that they might like to see. We also are still working on developing a Coos Resource page that will have important contact numbers for problems that you may see on your mile.
We are looking forward to a 'sea change' for how CoastWatchers report on their mile and keep in touch in 2007. If you have suggestions or concerns, please let us know.
Ridge and Runnel, south of Cape Blanco, 7/10/06.Third Quarter 2006
Photo ©2006 D.Bilderback.
Thank you to those of you who turned in your Third Quarter Reports! We have been slow in summarizing the Third Quarter Reports due to planning for the South Coast Conference. Your reports were full of interesting beach observations, such as Lois Maine's report on helping a stranded Harbor Porpoise return to the ocean off of the Whiskey Run/Bullard's Beach area and Blair Holman's observation of a dead gray/white shark on Mile 110 near Whiskey Run Beach.
Many of you reported that there was a large accumulation of sand on your beaches, and while this is to be expected during this quarter, the amounts were often much greater than in previous years.
We appreciate the location reports of the dead seals and sea lions as we go back out to measure and photograph the carcasses for Jim Rice, Coordinator for the Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network. He sends the reports into NOAA, who keeps a record of this information. If you see a dead marine mammal on the beach, please give us a call at 347-1335. If we happen to be out, please leave a message with location information or a phone number, and we will get back to you. This will help us get to the carcass earlier and we may be able to get better measurements.
If you are interested in volunteering with the Marine Mammal Stranding Network, please send an email to Jim Rice at email@example.com or phone him at 541-867-0446. We have enjoyed assisting Jim in a necropsy of a California Sea Lion and in measuring a dead Cuvier's Beaked Whale in the past few weeks.
• Complete Third Quarter 2006 report including Mile Report Summaries