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Mile 203 Report
May 23, 2021
Beach is very flat in most areas and not suitable for Snowy Plover nesting.
Beach is very flat in most areas and not suitable for Snowy Plover nesting. Snowy Plover signs have been placed at beach access points. Dogs are not being leashed. Poles being placed vertical is not good for nesting birds. Serve as perches for birds of prey or corvids to hunt from. Very little bird activity. Did see 15 migrating whimbrels, the one Black-bellied Plover in winter plumage, a few Western Gulls and Common Crow. Found tide pool areas interesting and the natural sand formations incredible.
Temperature: 49 F. Cloud Cover: Foggy. Wind Velocity: Calm/Light. Wind Direction: NW. Tide Level: 3.0 feet.
Number of people: 8. Number of dogs: 4. Walking or running: 8. Only tracks are from Ranger's parol of the beach
FireApparent violations: There was sign of quite a few campfires near dunes south of Sandpiper Shores before access marker 67A.
Disturbances: Shorebirds moving in response to humans/dogs
Black-bellied Plover still in winter plumage, Western Gulls
Small rocks, Seaweeds and seagrass, Shells, Animal casings (e.g., crab, shrimp molt), Wood pieces. Very little vegetation or wood on beach. An abundance of small rocks in the wrack. The Surf has been pushing up to the Sand Dunes
Bluff development. Sand rebuilding against vegetation in some areas. Surf art and formations in the sand were seen.
New riprap or shoreline protection structures. People put dead snags up to identify entrance areas or build tee-pees for amusement. UGH
All Mile 203 Reports
The beach has had substantial washing away of old dunes and washing up of beach grass into the dunes. There were 45 bird carcasses of we believe are Cassin's auklets.
Today I and my two CoastWatch partners conducted a NOAA Marine Debris survey on our 100 meter survey site at Sandpiper Beach, Mile 203. On reaching our marine debris survey site, we saw a lot of Cassin's Auklet carcasses, which COASST calls CAAU, all high up on the beach among the beach vegetation and washed-in sea grass, many carcasses partially covered by sand or vegetation. After we completed our debris survey, I returned to our survey site and began collecting CAAU carcasses in groups of 9, as COASST recommends, ultimately collecting 40 carcasses in 4 full and 1 partial grouping. Below is a link to our Sandpiper Beach NOAA debris survey site where most CAAUs were found, reached by a boardwalk that enters the beach midway in the debris survey site. COASST defines a "wreck" as more than 20 beached individuals of one species per kilometer, and a "MME" (Massive Mortality Event) as a spike of up to hundreds of carcasses per kilometer. We also found a beached Northern Fulmar and what is I believe was either a female Gadwall or White-winged Scoter, which I took note of but didn't measure or report on to COASST. I submitted documentation with photos of the CAAU beaching event to COASST, and COASST responded that they had received reports of CAAU beachings from Southern Oregon sites like Coquille Point and Cape Blanco but also as far north as Manzanita. All this sounds very dry, but it was really sad to see and handle all these beautiful little dead birds and wonder if this is completely natural or if climate change, and perhaps a decline of prey species making these birds more vulnerable, factors into these mortality events. https://mdmap.
The storms and rain caused some beach washout from the ocean and from the land.
Last year at this time, Jesse Jones helped us set up a 100 meter NOAA marine debris survey site on Mile 204, which we later moved to Sandpiper Beach on Mile 203.
After observing 8 snowy plovers on Mile 200 yesterday, I wanted to check up on the plovers on Mile 203.