Report Details

Overall clean, windswept beach with lots of massive driftwood and notable dune erosion. Observed Buffleheads on river as well as two Caspian Terns at the mouth of the river. Saw two seals at mouth of river. Given the freshwater access and the shelter of dunes and driftwood, I find myself curious about all the wildlife I did not see in this rich habitat.  There were lots of animal tracks but they were indistinct and windblown. 


Temperature: 55 F. Cloud Cover: Partly Cloudy. Wind Velocity: Moderate. Wind Direction: N. Tide Level: 3.5 feet.

Human Activities

Number of people: 3. Number of dogs: 1. Sitting: 1. Windsurfing: 2. Other Activities: N/A. I did not observe whether there were vehicles in parking area for this section of beach. I parked at Mile 23, Pistol River N. 3 other cars in lot, aside from mine. WIndsurfers, noted above, appeared out on the mile 22 water after I got back to my car.

Notable Wildlife

1. Flock of what I believe were Buffleheads on Pistol River in the wide, deep bend between the beach and the highway. The group, maybe 10 -12, included birds with the striking black and white Bufflehead plumage & distinct, huge heads, as well as birds that were brownish and mottled. They congregated like birds of the same species. Possibly males and females or adults and juveniles. They paddled around, acted like ducks, then flew off. I viewed from a distance with binoculars. 2. At the mouth of the Pistol River there was a large flock of seagulls, many a speckled brown color. Among them were two startlingly different birds: bright white chests and lower face, stark black flat across top of head, and thick, straight dark orange bills. They took off in flight, had black pointy wings. Per Merlin bird app, Caspian Terns. 3. Two seals observed at mouth of Pistol River, on sand. One was smaller than the other. They were both brown. The smaller one was moving around on the sand. I was far away, approximately 700 feet, and using binoculars, but when I took two steps in their direction they plunged into the water and looked at me. I immediately turned and walked away.

Driftline Content

Small rocks, Seaweeds and seagrass, Shells, Animal casings (e.g., crab, shrimp molt). Driftline was clean. Between the dunes and the river-- where the river flows behind the dunes-- there was one chunk of styrofoam, a large tangle of rope and very damaged floats, and a large truck or tractor tire. I was not equipped to collect large items. I picked up a small plastic bottle and two plastic lids.

Natural Changes

Erosion of vegetated foredune. This whole section of beach is basically a sandbar between river and ocean. There is a section where the sand changes from soft beige and black and green to flat, hard, and pebbly-- like riverbottom. The north side of this section has a sandbar extending from land towards sea, perpendicular to the shoreline. This appears to be an older path of the river, which is now maybe a quarter mile further south. The dunes all along this mile are heavily eroded and there are massive patches of driftwood-- huge trunks, trees--just inside the dunes as well as all along the river and flat areas. Appears to be a combination of debris washed down the river as well as tossed up by the ocean during storms. The eroded sections of dunes have patches where the grass is matted and damaged and roots are exposed. Overall the dune grass looked very healthy.

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All Mile 22 Reports

Showing 5 of 5 reports

decorative elemnt for a coastwatch report.

Mile 22

April 12, 2021

Flock of Buffleheads on the river.


Mile 22

April 9, 2021

Overall clean, windswept beach with lots of massive driftwood and notable dune erosion.


Mile 22

April 15, 2016

The information and photo are from John Chapman at HMSC.

Volunteer Trainer

Mile 22

January 28, 2012

This "hotspot" for international windsurfing competition in the summertime,the Pistol River Wave Bash is nearly abandoned now and there was no one else to see the sunset from there tonight .


decorative elemnt for a coastwatch report.

Mile 22

August 12, 2008

The Pistol River remains closed from the ocean.