Category Archives: nature

#snowonthealsea

We’re enjoying a snowday from home today.  Snow on the beach is such a rarity on the Oregon Coast and I got to kinda see it once…at midnight…from a distance…lit by my camera flash…see here: Snow on Tillicum Beach

Today I’m enjoying it from up the Alsea River.

alsea river snow
Alsea River at head of tidewater

We had plans for going to Newport to volunteer at the Family History Center and then do our weekly grocery shopping.  But caution prevails today.

driftboat in snow
timeout for snow

Some don’t mind travelling on snow days but the duck route isn’t any different than any other day on the river.

ring-necked ducks, alsea river
Ring-necked ducks

Most of the snow fell before the tide started going out this morning.

snow level meets tide level
Snow level meets tide level on the Alsea

Salmonberries first gathered weeds from the high river last month and now snow.

salmonberries gathering snow
Salmonberries gathering snow on the Alsea

 

Chicken-chasing bear

We had a report of a bear that chased some feral chickens in a nearby yard.  He was not deterred by the home-owners attempts to scare him away.  A bear that is not afraid of humans can be dangerous.  Fortunately, no human or property was hurt and the feral chicken issue is diminishing.

I enjoy wildlife from a distance – from the safety of my home.  We do not leave out garbage cans but they do like the natural food source along the Alsea River on the Oregon Coast.

Nursing Elk

From a distance, in a herd of elk, it is sometimes hard to distinguish the yearlings from the newest calves after they’ve lost their spots.  But there is one time when it is obvious.

Click/tap to watch the video here:  Roosevelt Elk nursing her calf

Roosevelt Elk nursing her calf
Roosevelt Elk nursing her calf

Elk Fog Horn

The fog was so thick this morning that I could hardly see across the Alsea River near the Oregon Coast.  Then I heard an elk call from a calf.  They sound like a weaker version of the adult cow.  So I looked and saw one or two elk making their way across the field making calls to each other like a sonar tracking system.  Then the rest of the herd appeared as the fog lightened a little.

Elk in Fog Video

elk on foggy morning
Elk on foggy morning

Merganser Chicks in Formation

The Merganser chicks’ wings are developing.  They aren’t big enough to fly yet but they can dive and they look like they are flying under water.

Short wings of juvenile Common Mergansers
Short wings of juvenile Common Mergansers

Mama Merganser is on the left in the next photo.  Compare her wings, which include a white patch, to her chicks.  They’ve had their nap and are now ready to get back to business.

common merganser female with chicks
Mom getting her chicks prepared for take-off

Before this family landed on the rocks of the Alsea River, Mama Merganser was chasing something in the river.  I couldn’t see what it was but 2 Mallards also came from across the river quacking at the same thing.  Whatever it was never came back.  The Mallards didn’t even have chicks with them.  I thought it was cool that they joined forces with Mama Merganser.

Common Merganser with 11 chicks
Common Merganser with 11 chicks!

With as many predators who love the tender merganser veal I’m always impressed by the number of chicks a mom is able to raise.  This mom has eleven chicks and it is probably due to their strict obedience to her.

Tidepools – Central Oregon Coast

Even when I can’t find any starfish I LOVE tidepooling.

tidepool colors
The colors of the plants are so rich!

My sweet hubby took me tidepooling this morning and he’s not even that into it.  I feel so loved!

Seagulls bathing at Seal Rock, Oregon
Seagulls bathing at Seal Rock, Oregon

We went to Seal Rock where, oddly enough, I’ve only seen 2 seals in the 8 years we’ve been here.  It was a gorgeous day!

Giant Green Anemone among various seaweeds (sea lettuce, black pine, etc)
Giant Green Anemone among various seaweeds (sea lettuce, black pine, etc)

Anemones disguise themselves by holding onto shell pieces when they close.

Aggregating Anemones
Aggregating Anemones

It can get pretty windy on the beach but it usually comes up later in the morning or afternoon.  We decided to get an early start and it had to be timed with low tide; of course.

Picnic tables in Seal Rock State Park
Picnic tables in Seal Rock State Park

We parked at Seal Rock State Park which has a clean restroom, picnic tables and paved ramp that goes almost to the beach.  The last 20 feet or so are loose rocks.

Seal Rock State Park beach access
Seal Rock State Park beach access

Can you barely see the seagulls on top of the cliff on the left side of the photo above?

Oregon Coast Elk

The elk keep their newborns hidden for a month or so but we finally saw this herd’s 2 calves today.  To see the video, click or tap on the photo or this link:  https://youtu.be/AvWTXqUX4dA

elk calf
Fences are not as easy for calves to cross as their parents

This herd has a wide variety of ages.

elk herd
Only 2 new calves so far this summer (far left)

Here is a yearling bull just starting to grow his antlers.  They are just nubs this summer.  Next summer he’ll have a set of spikes.

yearling bull with antler nubs
Yearling bull (left) with antler nubs showing

This one looks pretty sickly.  You can see her ribs and she doesn’t have much hair.

Sickly-looking cow elk
Sickly-looking cow elk

The rancher’s cows want to chat with the elk but she’s having none of it.

elk and cows have conversation
They are so stupid…they think I sat in white paint and dipped my head in black paint

This bull has some interesting antlers.

bull elk with crooked antler
Crooked antler

This is a nice looking bull.  Looks like 9 points to me; unless I don’t know which ones count.

9 point bull elk
9 points?

Little one asks mom for dinner.

Elk calf with mama
Elk calf with mama