Mile 239 Report

June 15, 2008
by Shafer

Salishan Spit north, Siletz Bay
Sunday 2:30 PM
58° F
Moderate from the N
Humans / Pets:
Walking / Running:
Playing in surf:
Activity Comments:
Notable Wildlife:
Flock of six Pelagic cormorants; three flocks of Brown pelicans totaling 26 individuals; one Caspian tern; a few Western gulls; and on the estuary side, five roosting Blue herons.
Dead Birds:
Fish & Invertebrates:
Drift line surprisingly clear of debris.
New Development:
Natural Changes:
Beautiful, sunny day with a brisk wind (Small Craft Warning). The drift line was quite clear of debris. On the ocean-side of spit we observed three separate flocks of Brown pelicans flying north (total of 26 birds); observed a flock of six Pelagic cormorants flying north; and saw a Caspian tern flying west from the shore. We also noted something unusual: a Psitticine feather...probably an Amazon parrot. We picked up the remaining trash we couldn't collect on the 12th. On the way back, we saw five roosting Blue herons and numerous Barn swallows on the estuary side.
  • June 15, 2008
  • June 15, 2008
  • June 15, 2008
Other Mile 239 Reports (83)


November 20, 2022 - ORbeach
Sunny, calm day.  Only a few beach walkers.  We picked up a very few small pieces of trash.  The harbor seals were not at their usual resting spot at the north end of the Salishan Spit, but there...
August 6, 2022 - ORbeach
Found a dead sea lion on the beach at beach access #50.  It was not here a week ago when we did our coast walk.  It was pretty badly decomposed so may have died at sea and been washed up.  Hard to...
July 31, 2022 - ORbeach
A warm calm summer's day.  More people than usual on the beach (40+) and the parking lot at the end of Salishan Drive was full.  We counted 8 license plates from Oregon, 4 from Washington, 1 from...
March 28, 2022 - mlbutowitsch
Lots of gulls and several seals playing in the surf.
March 10, 2022 - ORbeach
A calm, cool day with just a few high clouds.  The harbor seal population was back in its usual place at the tip of the Salishan Spit.  Very little trash - I picked up 4 small pieces.  The access at...


November 21, 2021 - ORbeach
A pleasant day the weekend before Thanksgiving.  Only a few people on the beach.  Picked up a very few pieces of plastic trash.  No harbor seals at their usual resting place at the tip of the...
  • Winter storm erosion creates bluffs near houses on the Salishan Spit
  • Harbor seal in the water at the mouth of the Siletz River
  • A variety of gulls overlooking Siletz Bay
  • Unusual marking in the sand
October 3, 2021 - mlbutowitsch
It was a beautful day to walk our mile.  No real action on the Salishan spit part of our mile, but lots of activity and people on the Mo's side.
  • A lone seagull on the upper part of the spit.  Many more by the bay
  • Driftwood
August 1, 2021 - ORbeach
We thought it would be foggy on the beach, given the weather the past few days, but it turned out clear and sunny.  Persistent chilly north wind, though.  The harbor seal colony was a little closer...
June 17, 2021 - mlbutowitsch
A beautiful, but extremely windy day.  Finding the sea stars was a first.  One orange one and 3 purple ones.
April 18, 2021 - ORbeach
A cool but calm day in a streak of very dry weather.  The harbor seals have returned to their favorite hang-out at the tip of the Salishan Spit and evidently have produced a few pups this season. ...
March 17, 2021 - mlbutowitsch
Very lovely day.  All people seen were at the Mo's section of our mile.  None on the Salishan spit during our walk.
February 28, 2021 - ORbeach
A cool, mostly sunny day, with a chilly wind from the southwest.  Lots of driftwood on the beach - not surprising considering the stormy weather and high tides the last couple months.  No significant...


December 26, 2020 - ORbeach
A cloudy, cool day.  Cold wind from the south.  Hardly anyone on the beach.  Minimal trash, except for two large items which we could not carry.  There were lots of large driftwood pieces on the...
December 22, 2020 - mlbutowitsch
It was a fairly unpopulated time on the spit.  Rockhouds and walkers.  Started to drizzle after completion of our mile.
November 21, 2020 - ORbeach
A calm, sunny but cool day.  More people out on the beach than normal, given the time of year - probably glad to get outside after nearly a week of heavy rain and storms.  No trash ... I picked up...
October 12, 2020 - mlbutowitsch
It was a lovely day with sun and hardly any wind.  We did note a dead and partially eaten seal on the bay side.   
July 6, 2020 - ORbeach
We thought it would be a good idea to take a look around on our mile after the 4th of July because in past years we have found quite a bit of fireworks debris.  To our pleasant surprise there was...
June 21, 2020 - mlbutowitsch
It was a quiet day on the spit, but very busy on the Mo's part of mile (probably due to it being Father's Day.  Last week we did see horses on the beach for the first time.  Weather was comfortable...
April 30, 2020 - ORbeach
Pleasant day with a southerly wind.  Normally there would be more visitors on the Taft side of the Siletz River, but tourism has been curtailed by coronavirus restrictions.  The harbor seals were...
March 21, 2020 - mlbutowitsch
Very nice day.  Most of people noted were on the Mo's side.  On the Spit itself, only 5 people were seen.  More people coming to the beach area as we were leaving.  Little owl was sitting on log,...
March 15, 2020 - ORbeach
Very bright pretty day.  Only a few beach-walkers.  Small amount of trash collected - mostly styrofoam pieces.  Ranger Doug had already picked up two crab pots, one a commercial one with a tag which...


December 21, 2019 - mlbutowitsch
Limited amount of debris on beach.  Several people but not crowded and no unusual activities noted.  Lots of large trees (some burned) seemed to have been washed up after big storm.  Found a sea star...
November 23, 2019 - ORbeach
Calm, mostly sunny day.  A few people out on the beach, walking or looking for agates near low tide.  Almost no trash.  There were no harbor seals in their usual resting place at the tip of the...
September 21, 2019 - mlbutowitsch
Large amount of squid eggs observed.  Otherwise typical contents of driftline.  No development threats observed.
June 23, 2019 - ORbeach
Calm, partly cloudy day.  More visitors than usual on the beach.  Very little trash.  A number of Dungeness crab shells noted in the wrack line, but they appeared to be molts, not due to any trauma.
January 27, 2019 - ORbeach
Sitting on our sunny patio in 65 degrees this January day, we thought it would be a good day to do our Coastwatch mile.  It was a different story once we got out on the beach and were facing the...


December 5, 2018 - ORbeach
Brilliantly clear day with very little wind.  The receding waves left a nice wide flat area of wet, fairly hard sand, making the walking a little easier than usual.  Just two individuals on the beach...
September 20, 2018 - ORbeach
Had time to walk the Taft side of our mile this afternoon.  About 60 people out enjoying the beach.  At least 10 fishing from the shore.  Four boats in the water at the mouth of the Siletz River -...
September 8, 2018 - ORbeach
A calm pleasant day.  There were THOUSANDS of squid egg cases in the tide line ... both along the ocean and on the Siletz Bay side of the Salishan Spit.  People on the Taft side of the river were...
July 14, 2018 - ORbeach
Sunny, breezy July day.  More people than usual on the beach, but of course it's the middle of summer.  Harbor seal population at the end of the spit seemed larger than usual, with several juveniles...
May 13, 2018 - ORbeach
A pleasant Mothers Day, with just a little light coastal fog.  Great day for wildlife spotting:  4 whimbrels, 1 brown pelican, 1 juvenile eagle, 10 turkey vultures, about 20 harbor seals (fewer than...
March 11, 2018 - ORbeach
Pleasant day.  First time I have seen surfers in the "jaws of death" Siletz rivermouth.  One appeared to be temporarily pulled south by currents but he managed to get back.  Almost no trash to pick...


December 28, 2017 - ORbeach
We walked from Access #50 to the tip of the Salishan Spit.  Almost no trash - picked up 4 small items.  A large group of seals in their usual resting place ... but we were concerned about one who had...
December 9, 2017 - ORbeach
A calm, warm, dry December day.  Low tide.  Almost no trash on the beach - we only picked up a few small items.  The harbor seal colony was in their usual location at the tip of the Salishan Spit,...
  • Mouth of the Siletz River & Inn at Spanish Head.
  • Happy harbor seals.
  • Harbor seals
  • Pyrosomes on the beach near the surf line.
  • Surf fisherman.
October 15, 2017 - ORbeach
Very pleasant day.  Picked up a small amount of trash.  Relayed our concerns about the dead sea lions to the ranger but he indicated he may not take any action since it is very expensive to get a...
June 18, 2017 - ORbeach
A beautiful day to be out.  Very little trash collected ... one piece of line and a few plastic pieces.  Found 3 (presumably) dead purple ochre stars in a pile of wood & algae debris above the...
  • We've seen this before.
  • Harbor seals
March 12, 2017 - ORbeach
It's a miracle! - a sunny, warm day with no rain!  Much more trash on the beach than usual (although note that your cheery Coastwatchers haven't been out here for a while).  We filled up 4 bags.  ...


November 25, 2016 - ORbeach
Walked the Taft side of the Siletz River mouth, part of our mile that we don't get to often.  42 people, 9 dogs enjoying the beach.  Some debris noted, mostly very small plastic pieces and bottle...
October 29, 2016 - ORbeach
Pleasant day after nearly a month of rain.  More people than usual out walking on the beach.  Picked up 1/2 bag of trash ... mostly small plastic pieces and styrofoam.
September 24, 2016 - ORbeach
Not much to report.  Pleasant fall day.  One fisherman + one family on the Salishan Spit.  Several fishing/crabbing boats in Siletz Bay and the river mouth.  Collected a small amount of debris....
May 17, 2016 - ORbeach
Sunny, windy day. Only one family on the Spit. We picked up many plastic pieces ... filled a large trash bag. Most looked like edges or sides of containers. No writing or markings. I had my zoom...
  • Bald eagle on sand bar, Siletz Bay
  • There seems to be a little fur exposed. Looks like a predator/scavenger pulled the skin back from the bones.
  • Harbor seals with a pup
  • Harbor seals, Oregon Coast
  • Fish (?) skeleton
  • Fish skeleton close-up
  • No writing or markings at all, so difficult to determine if it's a tsunami item.
  • Agate finds during CoastWatch walk
April 2, 2016 - ORbeach
Sunny, calm day. Several people out walking on the spit. Estimated 120+ people and 12 dogs on the Taft side of the Siletz. No beach litter! - except for one stray crab pot. Some of the sharp drop-...
  • In dry sand. Looks like a local item.
  • This bird did not seem to be able to walk well or fly. Eventually it made it to the water's edge. Probably will not survive long.
  • Plenty of harbor seals out today
  • Lots of driftwood between me and the access to the path ... I think I'll take another route.
February 25, 2016 - ORbeach
Only me on the beach this beautiful Thursday afternoon. 50+ people across the Siletz River mouth on the Taft beach. The harbor seals have returned to their usual resting place ... estimated 150+. The...
  • Telephone pole among the driftwood
  • New dropoff caused by rains, tides and storms.
  • ... but did not appear to have been in the water long enough to be a tsunami item
  • Harbor seal colony
  • This collection of items had some plastic but appeared to be a memorial so I left it. It was well up in the dune grass.
January 2, 2016 - ORbeach
The northern tip of the Salishan Spit has changed quite a bit since our last walk two months ago, no doubt due to the extreme rain, storms and King Tides of the past month. A higher level where much...
  • Somebody acknowledging the New Year
  • New streamlet flowing towards mouth of Siletz Bay
  • Strange lightweight fibrous substance noted all along high tide line
  • Where the harbor seals used to hang out; surface is now very rocky, less sandy
  • Sharp dropoff where there used to be a gradual incline
  • Dropoff near "Do Not Disturb Seals" sign
  • Good day for agate finds


December 24, 2015 - ORbeach
We went out to take a "peek" at our mile the day after King Tide day, Dec. 24. Lots of driftwood all along the beach, many very large logs. It appeared some had washed up over the hill where the...
  • Beach access path from the parking lot at the end of Salishan Spit. Several large, heavy pieces of driftwood scattered along the path
  • There is almost a beach wrack line along the path ... indicting possibly waves came up over the hill and left debris on the downhill side of the path
  • Large amount of driftwood on the beach at the north end of the Salishan Spit ... understandable given the recent storms and high tides
November 5, 2015 - ORbeach
Walked the Taft side of Mile 239 this afternoon. 8 people fishing, 12 walking, 4 playing in sand, 2 picnicking. Very little debris which is good for a beach that is used quite a bit. Spotted 3...
  • Cloudy, calm day at the mouth of the Siletz River
November 1, 2015 - ORbeach
Pleasant day after two days of big winds, heavy rains and King Tides. Not much debris to gather in spite of all that ocean activity. Saw a group of what we figured out in the bird book to be Heermann...
  • Storms are over but still a pretty active surf
  • New stump on the beach ... shall we count the rings?
  • Seems to be a corner of a plastic box. The writing indicates it is Kirin Lemon Chuhai, a "hard lemonade" product made by the Kirin brewing company (per my nephew who reads Japanese). Possible Japanese tsunami debris item.
  • Flock of Heermann's gulls with resident harbor seals
September 7, 2015 - ORbeach
I didn't intend to do a Coastwatch walk today but just started walking on the beach and it was such a pleasant day, I just kept going. Almost no trash on the beach. Counted 4 dead murres. Found 6...
  • We don't see dead fish on the beach too often ... anchovy maybe?
August 8, 2015 - ORbeach
Overcast but pleasant day. NOBODY on the beach ... but evidence of recent activity (footprints). About 175 people counted across the Siletz on the Taft side (west of Mo's pier) enjoying the beach...
  • This was here on the 4th of July.  Users were considerate enough to clean up any trash and keep their fire away from the beach grass.
  • From the beak this looks like possibly a murre
June 25, 2015 - ORbeach
Walked the north side of the Siletz River outlet, which is part of our mile but which we seldom reach. Sunny, breezy day. 79 people counted between Mo's and the surfline, including 5 rock hunting, 2...
  • Different perspective on the Salishan Spit harbor seal colony ... taken from the north side of the mouth of the Siletz River
June 21, 2015 - ORbeach
A calm, cloudy but pleasant day. Only one family enjoying the beach. 3 bags of trash collected, including two large items: a door and a fiberglass tube. No tsunami-related items found this time.
  • One of the new emergency location signs posted at a beach access.  I don't know why they didn't coordinate these numbers with the Highway 101 mileage signs ... but they didn't ask my opinion.
  • Wind and wave action created this sand ridge running parallel to ocean.
  • Seal pup on shore, patiently waiting for mama to return.
  • Glad I had some help carrying these large items off the beach today!
April 15, 2015 - ORbeach
Beautiful but breezy day. The beach was covered with millions of Velella velella ("by-the-wind sailors") jellyfish decomposing in the sun. Very little debris but a couple possible tsunami items.
  • Velella velella on a piece of lumber also covered with pelagic barnacles and seaweed
  • Elephant seal driftwood "sculpture" in front of harbor seal colony
  • Heavy fiberglass tube approx. 1m long with pelagic barnacles inside.  Could not find any writing on it.  Too heavy to carry out.
  • This brand of toothbrush is popular in Korea
March 26, 2015 - ORbeach
A very pleasant day. Spring Break for schools. Over 200 people counted on the north side of the Siletz Bay outlet but we did not walk that side. Harbor seal colony in their normal spot at the tip...
  • Small tube for a marker pen with Japanese characters and small pelagic barnacles.  Some googling reveals this brand of marker is popular in Japan.
  • Found this picture on Google Images
  • Bottle cap with Asian characters and tiny pelagic barnacles
January 20, 2015 - ORbeach
Combined CoastWatch walk with King Tide photos day. An unusual amount of driftwood on the beach. Normally this stretch at the end of the Salishan Spit is a pleasant stroll. Today ... due to the...
  • I thought these were baby sea stars ... but the picture zoomed in proved otherwise.
  • Barnacle-covered plastic bottle; the small piece of label still attached says "Minute Maid" followed by several Chinese characters.
  • Asian characters on piece of a plastic basket
  • Japanese writing on the bottom of a plastic bowl; my nephew, who reads Japanese, says it is instructions for using the product in the microwave, oven, etc.
  • Pile of wood pieces on the Siletz Bay side of the Salishan Spit


November 18, 2014 - ORbeach
A pleasant, calm day after two weeks of cold rain and storms; nevertheless had the beach to myself except for one gentleman walking. Very little debris noted ... only picked up a few items in the...
  • I will donate these to the Aquarium to use in their kids' exhibit.
August 31, 2014 - ORbeach
Very nice day; a few more people than usual; many boats in Siletz Bay, fishing or crabbing; the colony of harbor seals had abandoned their usual resting spot at the end of the Salishan Spit probably...
July 27, 2014 - ORbeach
Very pleasant day. Little activity on beach. Little debris - filled one bag. 60+ harbor seals counted at the north end of the Salishan Spit. (This number always varies because they are difficult...
  • Looking south from the southern point of Mile 239.
  • Someone got a little creative with the use of driftwood!  Structure probably will not survive the winter storms.
  • At north end of Salishan Spit
  • This is probably the same animal we saw last month ... down to nothing but bones now
June 17, 2014 - ORbeach
A beautiful Tuesday afternoon and not a soul on the beach! Almost all the Japanese tsunami debris reported on May 11 is now gone, except for a few stretches where there is a proliferation of tiny...
  • Carcass was about 150 yards from the edge of the water in soft sand near the beach grass.  North end of Salishan Spit.  Was providing a meal for several turkey vultures.
May 11, 2014 - ORbeach
A nice afternoon to be out on the beach but I was stunned by the amount of plastic debris at the high tide line. Many small plastic bits ... other larger pieces that were obviously part of a...
  • My nephew who speaks Japanese says "The stick says 'Awayama Aluminum Sash'. Came from a window. Very likely from the tsunami."
  • Roll of plastic tape with characters that could be Japanese or Chinese; found covered in dried seaweed
  • Reverse side was the footprint of a shoe ... as if it were a mold or packing for a shoe
  • Bottom of shoe or slipper (flip-flop style) with pieces of yarn and flowered fabric attached; one pelagic barnacle also attached
April 12, 2014 - ORbeach
Sunny but windy afternoon. Not much to report. Little evidence of human activity. Little marine debris. Natural sand mesas ... seasonal phenomenon. Healthy population of harbor seals in their...


May 23, 2010 - Shafer
Today we walked the northern portion of our mile (north of the Siletz River). Balmy day, a few folks out enjoying the beach! Saw about 30 pelicans heading north. Found a dead rodent, probably a...


June 20, 2009 - Shafer
Not many folks out today. Noticed several piles of dog poop, though. Noticed two very decomposed birds in separate beach wrack, probably gulls. Also, noticed a dead Brown pelican in beach wrack....
  • Egg case from shark or skate.
January 25, 2009 - test
Removed two bags litter fron area above the water on the south side (spit). The north portion was fairly clean. Was surprised to see very little if any small plastic in the drift line. Nothing...


August 26, 2008 - salspit
Pretty much normal for this Salishan Strip; quiet conditions; many birds, mostly gulls and pelicans; and the usual large number of hauled-out harbor seals.
July 13, 2008 - Shafer
Beautiful day, but the fog bank came in during our walk. The wind was quite brisk. Observed a lone Brown pelican fishing in the surf, and saw several Western gulls, including a juvenile (probably a...
June 29, 2008 - Shafer
Beautiful sunny day! Observed a mixed flock of gulls and cormorants feeding on surface about 1/4 mile off shore; a flock of approximately 70 gulls resting on shore; Bull kelp, Rockweed kelp, Feather...
June 12, 2008 - Shafer
Began our walk as usual at the Shops at Salishan. Bright, sunny day with surprisingly few folks on the beach (six). Rescued a stranded Ochre star and noted a few dead Moon jellies. Collected quite a...
May 9, 2008 - Shafer
Beautiful day! Surprisingly few folks on the beach. The drift line debris was pretty much all natural; picked up two large bags of trash from above the high, high tide line (we thought it would be...
March 22, 2008 - Shafer
The weather was lovely! Sunshine and light breeze! We began our walk as usual at the terminus of the Salishan Nature Trail and walked north about a half mile before losing dry sand. We turned south...
March 2, 2008 - Shafer
Rather cloudy today, which could explain why we saw so few folks. On the seaward side of the spit, the only wildlife observed were a couple of Western gulls following us as we collected trash. On the...
February 26, 2008 - Shafer
Another beautiful day! Very few visitors, but saw a resident of Salishan with her little dog. Noted a gull (Western?) with a broken wing and a Sanderling with an injured, possibly broken, leg. On the...
February 23, 2008 - Shafer
Beautiful, sunny day! Not very many folks out on the spit today. As our walk was during high tide, we cut it short when we reached a stretch of beach with little or no dry sand (lesson learned from...
February 16, 2008 - Shafer
Another beautiful day! Saw a dead Harbor seal pup and reported to pinniped line; approximately 20 Harbor seals on leeward side of spit; saw feeding behavior (aggression) with gulls and determined...
February 15, 2008 - Shafer
Beautiful day! Not too many people, and no dogs...which is a surprise. Picked up a huge piece of styrofoam and several small boulder-sized pieces. Also, picked up over 30 plastic bottles. No wildlife...
February 14, 2008 - Shafer
Beautiful sunny day! Not too many folks on beach. A couple of folks had their two Golden retrievers off-leash near the north end of spit...hopefully they avoided the haul-out area of the Harbor seals...
February 9, 2008 - Shafer
Began our walk as usual at the end of the Salishan Nature Trail. Picked up a couple of bags of trash. Noted a fish skeleton (species unknown), two dead Western grebes; and, behold, a dead Holstein...
  • Fish skeleton, species unknown.
  • Dead cow in surf line. Salishan management aware.
January 5, 2008 - Shafer
Began our walk as usual, at the terminus of the Salishan Nature Walk and ended at the Salishan Boat Launch. Saw a Western grebe in the surf line and numerous sanderlings and surfbirds darting amongst...


December 26, 2007 - Shafer
As usual, began walk at N44'53.632 and stopped at N44'55.528 to come back along bay side of spit. Found a dead Brandt's cormorant and a dead Common murre. Hit with hail about three times during walk...
  • Seafoam
  • Typical view
  • Flock of Sanderlings & Surfbirds
  • Harbor seals
December 24, 2007 - Shafer
Began at N44'53.632 and finished at N44'55.157. Saw sanderlings foraging in driftline; dead grebe being picked at by gull; usual litter at high tide line; lots of sea foam today.
December 15, 2007 - Shafer
Finished our walk today. Began at N44'53.632 and ended at N44'55.528. As previously noted, saw approximately 80 Harbor seals at north end of spit. Extreme level of styrofoam debris...around 15 huge...
  • A massive styrofoam debris line at the north end of Salishan Spit. It will take several trips and/or several folks to clean it up. It looks like the remains of a dock.
December 14, 2007 - Shafer
We began walk at N44'53.632 and finished at N44'55.157 when we became too laden with trash and left it in receptacle at boat launch. On way back, birds noted on the bay side of spit: coots, Surf...
  • Fish head found, possibly a cod?
November 26, 2007 - salspit
Other than tire tracks in the sand, things appeared pretty normal. one large bag of litter picked up.
July 16, 2007 - salspit
In general the beach was quite clean. Nothing of note other than the two dead murres and the smoldering driftwood noted above and reported.