Tag Archives: heceta

Best weather on the Oregon Coast!

Well, that’s a matter of opinion.  After living here for a while, I like the rain and fog as much as the sunshine.  You could say the Oregon Coast is a little moody.

If you’re here for the views though, July – October is when you’ll find the clearest skies.  Of course my favorite views are between Waldport and Florence because you can see everything from Highway 101.

heceta head lighthouse
Photo-op at Heceta Head Lighthouse Overlook on Hwy 101

Today would be an awesome day for a horseback ride on the beach.

Horseback riding on Baker Beach
Horseback riding on Baker Beach

Our friends say the fishing is good.

Common Murre eating fish
Common Murre eating fish

And the livin’ is easy…

Stellar Sea Lion and Guillemot
Stellar Sea Lion and Guillemot

The Guillemot have such pretty shoes!

Oregon Coast – Last Day of 2012

Just a quick jaunt between Tillicum Campground, near Yachats, and Sutton Campground, near Florence.

Yesterday was bright and sunny and today it’s cloudy again.  But we didn’t get rain showers until after noon.

A perfect day on the Oregon Coast and a perfect end to 2012.

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Thunderstorms and Sea Lions

We made a run to Florence today.  Yay!  To the BEACH!

Travelling down the Alsea Hwy from Tidewater wasn’t a problem after the recent rain/wind storm.  Hwy 20 was affected more.  Hwy 101 from Waldport to Florence was also clear.

Tillicum Stairway
Tillicum Stairway

We just had to stop in to Tillicum Campground to check out the beach.  The rain is washing some of the sand off the stairway.  Winter storms will probably continue to was sand off the beach.  Maybe we’ll see some agates this winter?

Heceta Lighthouse
Heceta Lighthouse

We haven’t seen the lighthouse since they took the cover back off so I had to get a photo of her new coat of paint.  They haven’t finished restoring the lens yet.  We had thunder showers most of the day.  As Don put it, “we travelled through all the seasons” today.

Sea Lions At Heceta Lighthouse Overlook
Sea Lions At Heceta Lighthouse Overlook

There was a car at the north end of the Heceta overlook pullout so we parked at the south end.  Three people were SO excited to call me over to look at all the sea lions!

Sea Lion Mosh Pit
Sea Lion Mosh Pit – Can you see one rock in there?

You can hardly see the rocks they are resting on!  Everytime one would move they’d bark at each other.  “GET YOUR BONEY FLIPPER OUT OF MY BACK!”  “QUIT SQUIRMING!”   “SHUT UP!  I’M TRYING TO SLEEP!”  It just went ON and ON and ON!  hahaha

Branded Sea Lions 8063 and 8329
Branded Sea Lions 8063 and 8329

Found a couple branded sea lions too!  I’ll ask my Forest Service friend about them and edit this post if he can find out anything about them.  Sometimes they’ve been able to tell me where, why and when they were branded.  Some are branded as pups as part of a study.  Others are because they were being a “nuisance” to the salmon.

Mysteries on the Oregon Coast

The Japanese dock that washed up on Agate Beach in Newport, Oregon, is being removed this weekend.  They sent a chunk of it to the Hatfield Marine Science Center to study the invasive species of sea life on it.  Another chunk will be used to make a memorial for those who lost their lives in the Japanese Tsunami.

Agate Beach Tsunami Debris Removal
Agate Beach Tsunami Debris Removal

When the Willamette Valley (the I-5 corridor) gets hot, the coast gets foggy.  The coast is cooler so LOTS of people head to the coast to cool off.

Our campgrounds were packed this weekend.  I had frantic calls from poor-planners all weekend.  After 10pm, I didn’t know what to tell them other than to keep driving south until they found something and they “may end up in California” 🙂

Neptune State Park
Neptune State Park

This weekend the fog wasn’t just a thick blanket.  It came and went and came and went; giving us glimpses of the sun and making pretty formations against the rugged coastline.

Heceta Lighthouse in the Fog
Heceta Lighthouse in the Fog

 Did you know there is a ghost story about the lightkeeper’s house at Heceta Head Lighthouse?

Foggy, Minus Tide, Sunset
Foggy, Minus Tide, Sunset

After a long day of workamping, I got to enjoy the foggy sunset from Tillicum Beach.

Fog Affects Shapes
Fog Affects Shapes

The fog seems to distort and enhance the beauty all at once!

 

Stellar Sea Lions and more

We’ve had a week of rain but today we’ve got clear skies!

Tillicum looking south to Yachats
Tillicum looking south to Yachats this morning

I took a bag with me to collect either agates or tsunami debris.  Guess what it is today. 🙂  See the white spots on the sand?  That’s styrofoam.  That and plastic bottles are mostly what we’re seeing from the tsunami.

Heceta Head Lighthouse overlook
Heceta Head Lighthouse Overlook

Time to head south to visit all our campgrounds.  There are grey whales being spotted this week.  We didn’t see any today.  But I talked Don into stopping at the Heceta Head Overlook to see if I could get some better pix of the sea lions.  The lighthouse is still covered while it is being refurbished.

Sea Lions at Heceta Lighthouse Overlook
Sea Lions at Heceta Lighthouse Overlook

Most of the sea lions at Sea Lion Caves are Stellar Sea Lions.  But sometimes we get some California Sea Lions up here looking for cheaper real estate.

Stellars with one California (black)
Stellars with one California (black)

Now, just because a sea lion is black, doesn’t mean it is a CA sea lion.  The Stellars are black when they are wet just out of the water.  But the black one in the middle has been dry for a while and hasn’t gotten lighter.  They can be a medium brown but are, in general, darker than the Stellars.  These brown sea lions are definitely Stellars but we think the black one is a California Sea Lion.  And, do you see the small brown one on the right?  Looks like a baby to me!

Sea Lion males fighting for their harems
Sea Lion males fighting for their harems

The males (bulls) are starting to compete for their harems.  (Sorry about the focus, it was taken in low light a few nights ago.)

Sea Lion Siesta
hot – rocks – feel – so – goooooooooood…..aaaahhhhhhh

This one was taken today around noon.  I am SO jealous!

Sea Lion tangled with fishing tackle
Sea Lion tangled with fishing tackle

Don was watching this little one, off by himself, as he was moving around and saw something flash in the sunlight.  He, being my “content advisor”, told me to take some close-ups so we can see what it is.  We zoomed in to see it is fishing gear.  Poor little guy.  We reported it but they told us it’s fairly common.  They said they are almost impossible to catch.  The gear will eventually rust off.  I guess the other sea lions avoid them because the gear scares them.  He is obviously uncomfortable by the way he is moving around but he wasn’t crying out.

Sea Lions have skin that extends beyond their arm
Sea Lions have skin that extends beyond their arm

Differences between sea lions and seals:

Sea Lions have front flippers.  Seals don’t have front flippers; they have short arms and claws.

Sea Lions have ear flaps.  Seals have ear holes.

How to deal with rain

How do we deal with so much rain in the northwest?

Skunk Cabbage
Skunk Cabbage

We get out to see what it has given us!

The Western Skunk Cabbage is one of the first flowers that I notice because it is so bright and large enough to see it from a distance.

Trillium
Trillium

The trillium is a beautiful, and not overly abundant, flower in Oregon.  I’m always excited to see one.  Trillium normally take 2 years to germinate and 7 to 10 years to reach flowering size.  Please, NEVER pick a trillium.

Ferns Uncurling
Ferns Uncurling

I never noticed that ferns “uncurl” until I lived in Oregon.

Heceta Head Lighthouse Gets a Raincoat
Heceta Head Lighthouse Gets a Raincoat

Looks like they’re finishing putting the raincoat on Heceta Head Lighthouse today!

That should help with the restoration work.

Heceta Lighthouse and Sea Lion Caves

The rain held off all day on the central Oregon coast today.  I forget what these yellow wildflowers are called.  But they are blooming all along the cliffs of Hwy 101.

Spring flowers blooming on the coast
Spring flowers blooming on the coast

Heceta Head Lighthouse is undergoing renovations.  It is expected to take a little over a year.  You can still hike up to it.  The B&B and gift shop are still open.  It’s a beautiful place!

Heceta Head Lighthouse
Heceta Head Lighthouse

The sea lions were out sunning themselves today.  We could see them to the south of the Heceta Lighthouse overlook; towards the Sea Lion Caves.  We could hear them but not as well as when they are right below the overlook.  Click on the picture to enlarge it and look at the marking on one of them to the far left of the picture.  I wonder who marks them and why are they marked?  I also like the 2 (or 3) in the center of the picture who are nuzzling up to the dark one.  Is that called “necking”?  🙂

Sea Lions outside the caves
Sea Lions outside the caves

According to Bryan Wright, Biometrician, Marine Mammal Research Program, ODFW, here’s the LD on the branded sea lion:
It looks like 121R, which would be a female we branded at Rogue Reef in 2001 (almost 11 years old).  This is a good sighting because it appears she hasn’t been seen since 2009.  Before that she’d been seen most years, almost always at Sea Lion Caves.  She has also been seen at St. George Reef in California, and a couple sites in Oregon (Orford Reef, Cape Arago).  Sea Lions are branded as pups and they are put to “sleep” to do it.  They brand them to keep track of survivability and location.