Mile 179 Report

March 9, 2009
by oystercatcher

Location:
Lane
Heceta Head Lighthouse, Devils Elbow SP, Cape Creek
Conditions:
Monday 5:00 PM
Cloudy
44° F
Wind:
Strong from the NW
Tide Level:
-0.1 ft
Humans / Pets:
People:
26
Activities:
Concerns:
Disturbances:
Vehicles:
Cars/Trucks parking:
12
Activity Comments:
The 40' juvenile male fin whale which was washed up on Sunday the 8th was being buried in an 11' deep trench by a local Florence excavating company. There was a crowd gathered watching and taking photos of the burial. A Park ranger was sprinkling lime on the carcass to keep the smell down so that predators would be less likely to dig it up.
Notable Wildlife:
Dead Birds:
Stranded:
Total:
1
Dead 40' young male fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) located toward the south end of Heceta Head Lighthouse beach just above the drift line.
Fish & Invertebrates:
Driftline:
Small rocks·Wood pieces
New Development:
Modifications:
Natural Changes:
Comments:
The Fin Whale is a baleen whale, the second largest whale thought to live at least 80 years, growing up to 80' long, and weighing as much as 130 tons. They lunge feed on krill, squid and small fish such as herring. Long and slender they can swim up to 20 mph in short bursts. Occuring in all major oceans, and listed as endangered, they were heavily hunted in the 20th century. Their recovery is hampered by collisions with ships and noise from human activity.
Summary:
The 40 foot long juvenile male fin whale which was washed up on Sunday the 8th was being buried in an 11 foot deep trench by a local Florence excavating company. Emanating from the carcass was an incredibly strong smell of rotting flesh that could be smelled all the way to the east parking lot. There was a crowd gathered watching the burial of the whale and taking photographs. Park personal had sprinkled lime on the carcass to keep the smell down so that predators would be less likely to dig it up. In the middle of the burial a brief storm blew in with strong winds, rain and icy sleet.Samples from the whale for study had been taken earlier in the day by marine biologists in order to determine the cause of death. There was speculation that the whale may have sucumbed to malnutrition.
  • Dead Fin Whale on Heceta Lighthouse beach
    Dead Fin Whale on Heceta Lighthouse beach
    Heceta Lighthouse beach taken from Cape Creek Bridge
    March 8, 2009
  • Closer look at dead Fin Whale from Cape Creek Bridge
    Closer look at dead Fin Whale from Cape Creek Bridge
    Dead whale photographed from Cape Creek Bridge
    March 8, 2009
  • Showing  whale's blood left after it was moved to the burial site located further to the south end of beach below parking lot.
    Showing whale's blood left after it was moved to the burial site located further to the south end of beach below parking lot.
    Center of beach just north of whale beaching location.
    March 9, 2009
  • Park ranger throwing lime on the fin whale while it is being buried.
    Park ranger throwing lime on the fin whale while it is being buried.
    South of center of beach above high tide line (close to parking lot).
    March 9, 2009
  • Covering the fin whale body with sand
    Covering the fin whale body with sand
    Near Southern end of Heceta Head Lighthouse beach below parking lot above drift line
    March 9, 2009
  • Observers of the whale burial.
    Observers of the whale burial.
    South west end of parking lot above drift line
    March 9, 2009
Other Mile 179 Reports (6)

2009

June 29, 2009 - oystercatcher
It was a beautiful clear morning. The tide was the lowest I have observed with exposed sand almost out the rocks where the nesting birds were. The Elder Hostel tour was busy photographing...
  • Low tide looking out to the rocks off Heceta Head.
  • Gulls, cormorants and murres on the rocks.
  • A pair of oyster catchers were observed off the point on the right side of the photo.
  • View of the sand to the rocks from Cape Creek
April 10, 2009 - FriendofStrawberry
Immature Gray Whale reported dead on Carl G. Washburne State Park beach just north of Heceta Head Lighthouse Thursday night. Scientists took samples at that time. When we were there Friday morning...
March 8, 2009 - FriendofStrawberry
Juvenile, 40-foot-long male Fin Whale washed up on beach at Heceta Head.A deep water juvenile male Fin Whale washed up on the beach at Heceta Head Lighthouse. On Friday it was seen at the mouth of...
  • Open mouth - Top baleen visible and tongue on lower jaw.
  • Open mouth.  Visible where mammal research samples were taken earlier in the day.

2008

August 28, 2008 - oystercatcher
It was a sunny calm morning with no one in the parking lot when I arrived. A fog bank sat just off shore beyond the breakers. The beach sand appears to have started moving off shore revealing loads...
  • fog bank off shore on a sunny calm day
  • Cobbles being revealed as the sand has started washing out to sea.
  • Pelican resting with seagulls on Heceta Head rocks.
  • Footprints in the early morning sand may be those of a coyote making an early morning visit to the beach.
  • Postelsia
  • unidentified dead bird showing head and beak
  • unidentified dead bird foot
August 3, 2008 - oystercatcher
It was a beautiful calm morning with only one car from Montana with a couple photographing tide pools which they had never seen before. Most of the rocky beach found in spring was now covered with...
  • green anemone in tide pool
  • large rocks at North end of beach at low tide
  • snails on rock
  • Cormorants and Gulls on  rocks off Heceta Head
April 13, 2008 - oystercatcher
It was a pleasant day for beach goers, alternating sun and overcast with moderate wind. Lots of cars coming and going from the parking lot. People tide pooling, climbing on the rocks, beachcombing...
  • View of Heceta Head, the lighthouse, lighthouse  keepers residence (bed and breakfast), beach  and Devils Elbow.
  • Juvenile mussels with noticeable patches of missing barnacles.
  • Rocks at low tide with seaweed or algae growth.
  • sea stars and anemones
  • beach at low tide near water line looking north to caves which are below the bluff