Tag Archives: brandts

Nothing is just Black and White

I’m not sure if this is a metaphor or not.  I usually don’t go looking for a metaphor for life.  But, often, as I think about what I’ve observed, I can apply it to life.

Brandt's Cormorant with Common Murre
Brandt’s Cormorant with Common Murre

We’d heard reports of orcas being seen from Sea Lion Caves all week.  So we stopped at the Hwy 101 overlook, just north of there, yesterday.  As is usually the case my attention span, and the tiny specs that I have to look for in the distance for most whale watching, are directly proportional.  There’s usually something closer to see on the rocks just below the overlook.  (Another metaphor I’ve learned from the ocean:  If I spend too much time looking for great things in the distance, I miss the beauty in the small things right under my nose.)

The smaller birds with more white on them is the Common Murre.  The larger ones with the long neck is the Brandt’s Cormorant.

Brandt's Cormorant
Brandt’s Cormorant

But LOOK!  With the naked eye I think I see something blue?

Sure enough!  It’s breeding season and the male cormorants are displaying their striking, blue, chins to attract the females.

Cormorants and murres share the same general nesting areas.  The male cormorant gathers materials and brings them back to the female for her to make the nest.

Pigeon Guillemot Flock
Pigeon Guillemot Flock

So I look over another edge and see a different black and white bird.

But LOOK!  With the naked eye I think I see orange feet?  It’s the Pigeon Guillemot.  The little bit of a black bar on the white wing distinguishes the Pigeon Guillemot from the Black Guillemot.

Pigeon Guillemot
Pigeon Guillemot – Where’d you got those shoes!

See, if you really pay attention, things are usually not ALL black and white.

Common Murre
Common Murre

…except maybe the Common Murre?  But, then, maybe I just need to look closer?

August on Tillicum Beach

I got out on the beach early this morning to catch the minus tide and MAYBE see the sunrise.  It almost looks like the moon because it is so dim.  It’s pretty though; even in grey-scale. 🙂

Foggy Tillicum Sunrise
Foggy Tillicum Sunrise

I got more color when I walked up to the creek.

Big Creek Foggy Sunrise
Big Creek Foggy Sunrise

So, get out of the dreary fog and take a drive down the coast.  Don pointed out this dramatic view of a fog bank.  It is overlooking the Ocean Beach Day Use area.  You can see the distinctive road cut where Hwy 101 passes through.

Fog Bank at Ocean Beach Day Use
Fog Bank at Ocean Beach Day Use

We pulled over at the Heceta Lighthouse overlook too.  Gotta check on the sea lions ya know.

Sealion Snuggles
Sealion Snuggles

I was so excited when I took this shot with my new camera because I could actually see the flippers out of the water!  35x is SO fun!!!

Cormorant Nest
Cormorant Nest

We noticed the cormorants flying in and out of the cove so we watched to see if we could tell where they were landing.  It looked like they were landing on the side of the rock.  So I zoomed in and I could see them feeding their young.  This one is zoomed in to about 63x.  That’s into the digital zoom area.  Not bad, huh?

I think these are the Brandt’s Cormorants.  The adults have a blue throat during breeding season.  I noticed the bright blue in June but couldn’t zoom in enough to get a good pic.  Maybe next year 🙂

Notes from my Workamping Journal:

As workampers in campgrounds we have noticed that August campers, in general, are not the happiest.  We seem to meet more grouchy campers in August.  Our theory is that they are grouchy about their summer coming to an end.  That said, we try to be as accommodating as possible.  We put the Full sign out when we are full.  We get statuses from all our campgrounds and others in the area so we can advise travelers on where to go.

On Wednesday, about 6pm, four 40′ rigs pulled into Tillicum Campground.  They “just needed a site for one night.”  Just then my host walked up.  She looked as panicked as I felt!  They were backed out to the Hwy!  We do have sites that can accommodate that size, but they were long gone by 6pm.  So I picked up the phone to call Cape Perpetua Campground to see if they had room.  Before I could dial, the phone rang and it was Cape P.  She was calling to tell me they had the group site open!  Perfect!  They were happy to all be camping together.  The color came back to our faces as they left the campground.  hahaha

I wish I could have talked to them longer though.  The MH was a Foretravel with Texas plates.  I worked at the Foretravel plant in Nacogdoches,TX, when I was going to college there. 🙂