Mile 94 Report

October 18, 2011
by John Hull

Location:
Coos
West of Laurel Lake, Lost Lake
Conditions:
Tuesday 10:00 AM
Sunny
70° F
Wind:
Calm/Light
Tide Level:
4.0 ft
Humans / Pets:
People:
2
Dogs:
1
Activities:
Walking / Running:
3
Concerns:
Apparent Violations:
ATV tracks
Disturbances:
Shorebirds moving in response to humans/dogs
Vehicles:
Cars/Trucks parking:
0
ATVs/OHVs parking:
0
RVs/Buses parking:
RVs/Buses parking: 0
Cars/Trucks on beach, allowed:
0
ATVs/OHVs on beach, allowed:
0
Cars/Trucks on beach, prohibited:
0
ATVs/OHVs on beach, prohibited:
0
Activity Comments:
Beach Walk Tuesday, October 18th, 2011Mile 94Blaine sent me out by myself, saying she would meet me at the bottom of the BLM path. So, Lucie and I shouldered the oars and walked along our mown path down to our dinghy, the Second Sea Sprite, for our first bye-bye-in-the-boat on this visit to our Lonely Plover beach house.The weather was absolutely perfect. Still, sunny and almost hot. I shed my sweat shirt and tee shirt and flip flops when we reached the boat. We got in and pushed off and rowed down Lower Fourmile Creek. There was more vegetation growing in the creek than I have seen previously.When we rounded the corner onto the New River, heading north toward where I thought might be a good spot to beach the craft to pick up Blaine, who was going to walk down the BLM path and meet us. I noticed that the vegetation on the east bank had grown taller, and I could no longer see the lower windows of our upper floor from the dinghy. Either the water level was lower or the vegetation was taller. It proved to be the latter when I later found I could no longer see the big log on the East bank from our house.Lucie and I enjoyed the still warm air and watched little fish flash their silver sides as they jumped out of the water. They were, I think, between two and three inches long. I wonder if a larger predator was after them beneath the surface of the water. The water in the river was clearer than I can recall, but the angle was low so I couldn’t see anything beneath the surface from where they propelled themselves into little arcs thru that thin fluid, air.Eventually, Blaine arrived to enjoy one of the rare perfect days for a beach walk along Mile 94. I rowed us across and found that the vegetation on the west bank of the New River was more intense, thicker and varied than in the past. There were willows, dandelions and strawberries, none of which I recall seeing over there before. At least this time I didn’t see any gorse. But I did find raccoon tracks at the edge of the water.We made our way over the dunes and down onto the beach. The beach was not nearly as wide as it had been on mile 95, further north. The waves were very small, most less than two feet trough to crest with the tallest being only about three feet. The ocean was flat and grey-green as we set out. It became somewhat more blue as our morning passed.We crossed the dry sand and headed north. There was a mist along the ocean, so we could not see the haystacks in front of Bandon to the north nor Cape Blanco to the south. Puzzling since the waves were small so to not generate much spindrift, and the air was clear over on the meadow. It was only on our return, an hour or so later, that we could make out the outline of the shoulder of Cape Blanco against the sky.Early on we saw two flocks of birds. One numbered around thirty and were probably Sanderlings on the wet sand. They took flight as we approached. Shortly beyond them, also on the wet sand, was a much more numerous flock of two types of gulls. I estimate they were more than one hundred. One type was larger and exhibited quite a bit of white, the other smaller variety, showed more brown. But they were milling about together, and we wondered what food source might have attracted so many, if that was what it was. We walked to where they had been but couldn’t determine the attractant.The beach itself was very clean. We saw only one clump of bull kelp, about thirty feet long, on or near the wet sand, during our first fifteen minutes. No crab parts, no shells or jellies, no other seaweed, no little pieces of wood, no feathers, nothing, save for the little rocks that were smaller than golf balls here and there on the sand, perhaps a few per square yard. Interestingly, the sand was fine without any coarseness,just sand and little water-rounded pepples. Blaine collected a few white ones.Along the way, as we were on the west bank of the New River (which I call Far Rock-away) we found cloven hoof prints too big to be deer. We assumed they were elk, although not as large as the long trail of tracks we had found on an earlier visit. Later Dr. John Merle Logan, our neighbor and Professor Emeritus from the University of Texas A&M, told Blaine at a Bandon Community Health Center Board meeting, he had seen two elk on the far bank of our river earlier that morning.The most amazing thing along our way was the discovery of a huge piece of a dock sitting in the dry sand. It measured about twelve feet by nine feet and three feet thick. All were apparently two solid pieces of concrete. There were wood timbers attached on the two long sides with some nuts still shiny, they must have been stainless steel. There was a rusted metal box, perhaps two feet by two or three by three, attached to one end with a big steel pad eye and a metal hitch hanging from that, two pastic rollers and two big cleats, suitable for mooring a pretty substantial boat on top. We could not imagine how such a thing could be up on the beach. What force could have conveyed it here?Later, in a conversation along our lane with neighbors Christine and Hanspeter Witschi, who also monitor this portion of the wild and desolate Oregon coast, we learned that those massive pieces of concrete are actually hollow and the whole thing can float,and they had found it before, further North, while they were with the Bilderbacks on another beach walk of their own.As we passed the points where the waves had first overtopped the dunes, we crossed over the sand to the West bank of the New River. As we made our way further north, we found a beautiful piece of white driftwood, the remains of a big tree’s root system and bottom of its truck. It was taller than me, and we dubbed it the Mermaid’s Throne, an echo of the Mermaid’s Chair, a similar piece that used to occupy a spot just across from where the Sandy Path across what is now Bandon Biota land comes to the east bank of the river. I am looking forward to coming back with a camera. We also found some ATV tracks on the sand of the West bank and wondered if they were authorized government tracks or unauthorized poachers. On another visit, that time along the Sandy Path, I found evidence that the ATV had come in from the north. In addition, there were also footprints left by people in that area. Normally Blaine and Lucie and I do not find any tracks on Far Rock-away.We saw three small birds, Sanderlings?, on the sand and in the shallow still water of the New River. One was engaging in an unusual hopping pattern, and we realized it had just one leg. When the three of them took flight that one flew well, the same as its companions.As we returned to the dry sand on the west side of the dunes we found several places, each covering several square yards, with intense concentrations of bird tracks. The tracks themselves could have been covered with a dime. Not sure what made those spots so attractive to so many.Eventually, we made our way back to the dinghy and found that there definitely is much more vegetation in the mouth of the Fourmile Creek than in the past. It is some sort of long, thick-bladed grass growing up from the bottom of the water.The weather was still warm and still and sunny.
Notable Wildlife:
Flock of 30 plus Sanderlings (?) and over 100 gulls, some larger and white and some smaller and more brown.
Dead Birds:
Total:
0
Stranded:
Total:
0
Fish & Invertebrates:
Very little to none.
Driftline:
Shells·Small rocks
Very few mussel shells, one or two oyster shells.
New Development:
Modifications:
Large part of concrete dock or pier.
Natural Changes:
Evidence of wave overtopping
Comments:
Blaine brought back one small brown bottle.
Summary:
Beach sand and wet sand very clean. One nine by twelve by three foot concrete dock or pier on dry sand. Flock of over a hundred gulls of two species together on wet sand. Flock of about thirty Sanderlings (?) on wet sand. Elk prints on West bank of New River. ATV tracks on west bank of New River. More types of denser and taller vegetation on both banks. As usual, no people.
Other Mile 94 Reports (26)

2016

May 1, 2016 - John Hull
Accessed mile by rowing down Fourmile Creek and beaching on west side of New River. Saw no gorse on this side. Human activities included five fishermen and a person flying a kite. Sandy beach gently...

2014

March 13, 2014 - Volunteer Trainer
Dead lamb and salmon on the beach.Photos by Rod Cink
  • Thursday, 3-13, ~10:00am43.07.04.49 N124.25.57.53 W - (both of them)

2013

November 23, 2013 - John Hull
More people than we have ever seen on a beach walk before, two fishermen in small powered boat on new River, one fisherman walking, and what appeared to be a family of three walking South along the...
June 19, 2013 - John Hull
Warm day, beach wide and fairly flat, pretty clean with occasional kelp, few jellies, dozens of crab carapaces, a few broken Sand Dollars, feathers, and some other crab parts. A Bald Eagle resting...

2012

November 4, 2012 - John Hull
Saw pelican with injured wing walking on beach and a dead baby sealion and three dead birds (just partial carcasses). Only we and our dog were on the beach with no signs of anyone else and no foot...
  • What looked to me like a dead little seal, possibly entangled.
April 5, 2012 - John Hull
Once again no people nor signs of people. Wet sand and sand below driftline quite clean and relatively narrow (fifty to one hundred yards wide). One large dead sea mammal, too decomposed to see if...

2011

September 19, 2011 - H Witschi
Beach was very clean. Shells and animal casings in the driftline. One dead Steller's Sea Lion. One Great White Egret, flocks of Sanderlings and sea gulls. Five people on the beach - two walking and...
July 7, 2011 - H Witschi
Shells, animal casings and small rocks in the driftline. Practically no trash. No human impact. ATV tracks going north and south on the beach. The mouth of New River is quite narrow (10-20 feet) and...
May 22, 2011 - John Hull
Animals were three Sanderlings, seven cormorants, less than ten pelicans, and one bald eagle over the New River. Four people on beach with one dog (our party). Beach and driftline very clean, no...
April 3, 2011 - John Hull
There were only three of us, my wife and I and our dog on the beach. Very clean driftline. We saw three flocks of small shore birds foraging in the wet send, chasing the receding waves- Sanderlings...

2010

September 25, 2010 - John Hull
One set of human footprints (besides mine) and one set of dog tracks. Lots of small feathers at water's edge for first time. Unusual number of jellies on wet sand, very few shells or crab parts....
June 8, 2010 - John Hull
No signs of recent human activity. Lots of plastic shards on the dry sand. Two jellies, nearly a dozen whole sand dollars and many pieces of crab shell in driftline. Ten or more floats per mile....

2009

October 9, 2009 - John Hull
Except for one old set of boot prints no signs of people or their debris. One dead male California Sea Lion,and a few birds. Little jetsam except for shells, small rocks, a few sand dollars and two...
  • It appears that this carcass was male as the head has a sagittal crest that is prominent in male California Sea Lions.
September 15, 2009 - [email protected]
Accessed Mile 95 From the North end of Mile 94. I had a beautiful day on my mile. Animal casings and kelp/algae in the driftline. One dead California Sea Lion (reported to Marine Mammal Stranding...
  • Found dead on the North quarter mile of Mile 94.
September 8, 2009 - H Witschi
Very quiet, very clean beach; Snowy Plover crew quickly passing through. Shells and animal casings in driftline on a remarkably clean beach. One dead California Sea Lion reported to Diane and Dave...
September 3, 2009 - [email protected]
Parked at the Lower Four Mile BLM parking area and took the trail to New River. There were about a dozen geese and a couple of swans feeding in the river. Waded the river, there must be a breech down...
June 2, 2009 - H Witschi
Practically no human impact; vehicles tracks/footprints most likely from Snowy Plover observers/predator control.Along miles 94 and 95 dry sand (dunes) marked and declared Snowy Plover nesting...
January 12, 2009 - H Witschi
No human activities, except for a few old footprints along New River, no noteable wildlife, no noticeable physical changes to shoreline - looks as it always did for the last few years. Kelp/algae and...

2008

November 14, 2008 - John Hull
Lots of kelp but very little else. Several types of shore birds on sand, flying, or in water. Only other visible animals were sand fleas. Very little in terms of shells or crab parts.Limited...
September 9, 2008 - H Witschi
Untouched beach - only a few (old) human footprints. Remarkably clean beach, practically no litter. Dead birds were 2 Common Murre, 1 large immature gull and 2 unidentified birds. Low human impact (...
August 22, 2008 - John Hull
Large clumps of Bull Kelp at beginning of mile. More kelp than June, also birds this time (gulls and Sanderlings?), one dead bird (small gull?), very little litter. Jellies found along mile but also...
June 27, 2008 - H Witschi
Easy crossing of New River at access point; river not even knee deep. No human impact. Beach remarkably clean, but massive sand build-up. A few snowy plovers seen, one blue heron flying along east...
June 2, 2008 - John Hull
Looked good to me, clean and unoccupied. Thought it odd that there were no small shore birds. Shells, mole crab casings, 2 black fishing floats, one crab float with line but no seaweed in driftline...

2007

July 7, 2007 - [email protected]
I crossed New River from the BLM trail at the end of Lower Four Mile Lane. New River seems to still be flowing south at Four Mile Creek. There was a little mud, but not bad, not even knee deep. I saw...
May 21, 2007 - [email protected]
I waded the New River mud at the BLM Trail north of Lower Four Mile Road. Shells, animal casings and small rocks in driftline. Low human impact (0).
March 11, 2007 - [email protected]
As long as I was in the area, I walked Mile 94. Shells, animal casings, small rocks, wood pieces, ocean-based debris in driftline. shore birds foraging in surfline. I took a picture of some tracks...