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Mile 94 Report
October 9, 2009
Except for one old set of boot prints no signs of people or their debris.
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 jellies. A flock of surfbirds were foraging on the beach. Driftwood on sand west of dunes. More European beachgrass on the dunes. Dunes increasing in height.
Temperature: 50 F. Cloud Cover: Sunny. Wind Velocity: Calm/Light. Wind Direction: N. Tide Level: 0.0 feet.
Number of people: 1. Number of dogs: 1. Walking or running: 1. One set of eroded boot prints, that's it.
Apparent violations: None.
Disturbances: Shorebirds moving in response to humans/dogs
Flock of small white birds running on wet sand, two large birds beyond surf flying just over waves.
Stranded Marine Mammals
Total stranded mammals: 1. California Sea Lion dead, six feet long, one hundred feet above surf and fifty feet west of edge of dunes.
Dead Fish or Invertebrates
Shells, Small rocks.
More European beach grass
More European beach grass
Actions & Comments
No.Coast Walk Mile 94 Friday, October 9th, 2009 I set out at ten minutes after nine, carrying the oars for the dingy and followed by my mostly-bassett-hound, LucieAnne. The Fourmile Creek was a couple of feet lower than when I last was on it in July. The sky was clear and blue altho’ there was a fog bank visible out at sea and a few clouds behind the coastal hills. There was a breeze of five to ten miles an hour out of the north. We reached the west bank of the New River in ten minutes, and it too was a foot or two lower than in July. Several geese and a bevy of ducks took off from the river – the ducks - and its west bank – the geese, honking their displeasure - as we approached.There was noticeably more beach grass on the dunes, both thicker than before and covering more area than on our last visit. Indeed, looking at the dunes from my house you now no longer see sand, just grass. Nor do you see the surf as the dunes are now too tall. As we walked across the dunes I could feel the rhizomes crunching under my bare feet. We set out from a point across from where the Fourmile Creek empties into the New River and headed north along what I think is mile 94. We crossed a set of eroded boot prints in the dry sand and noted that there was a lot of driftwood on the sand just west of the dunes,more than in the past but happily no human debris. We jogged down to the water’s edge; the waves were small, only two feet crest to trough at most. We quickly came to a stretch of sand, perhaps fifty or a hundred yards long where little round rocks, the size of golf balls, covered the wet sand. The sand there was courser than that elsewhere, and on my return I noticed that there were also small pebbles, the size of peas or kidney beans. The sand near the surf had some mussel and small oyster shells and over the mile perhaps a dozen pieces of sand dollar shells and one whole one. Aside from the rocks and shells and two clear jellies, one about an inch and a half across and another perhaps three inches across, the sand at the water’s edge was clean without even sea weed. I did see perhaps twenty or thirty small white birds that ran along the sand rather than fly at our approach. They were bigger than chickadees, perhaps the size of swallows. I wonder if they were plover but I think plover are smaller and have gone to Baja by now. I saw two birds gliding low over the waves beyond the surf line, too distant to identify, but no other animals were visible at sea. Nor were there any boats altho’ I had seen a light far out the night before. The air was as clear as I have seen it so the haystacks in front of Bandon were visible in some detail, as was the big rock off Cape Blanco to the south. Apparently there was little or no spindrift that morning. The sand was cool under foot, and I guess the air temperature was about fifty degrees. Unlike during the Summer there were no ATV tracks anywhere. As we returned south I followed my dog’s tracks and was led to a dead sea mammal that I took to be a seal. It was six feet long and had been there a while as its skull was visible and it appeared that its brain was completely gone. I took two photos.It was laying on the dry sand about a hundred feet from the surf and fifty feet from the edge of the dune grass. The cause of death was not apparent. There was very little odor. On our way back south along the beach I did see two rocks, one the size of my fist and the other bigger on the wet sand. I suppose one day they too will become sand. I mention these as I don’t recall seeing rocks that large on the wet sand on previous visits. On our way rowing up Fourmile Creek I heard the sound of a bugle coming from the northwest and wondered if it was Nicholas, the child of some neighbors about a half a mile away. Odd to hear human-caused sounds along this part of the coast, besides the occasional car or plane and the twice-daily Coast Guard helicopter. And then I saw a head in the water, near the bank, apparently following us. I watched what I think were two river otters. Their heads were about the size of a cat’s head but flatter and wider. I also saw hints of tail as they swam and dove and appeared to be watching us. It was the first time I had seen mammals in the creek (beside LucieAnne and my wife) although I had seen some signs of slides on the bank in past years. It is possible they were beaver but I have seen no signs of that species in this creek although have seen some signs in a tributary further east. We got back to our home just before ten-thirty.
All Mile 94 Reports
Accessed mile by rowing down Fourmile Creek and beaching on west side of New River.
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 West Bank of the New River.
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.
Saw pelican with injured wing walking on beach and a dead baby sealion and three dead birds (just partial carcasses).