Tag Archives: sea lion caves

Who doesn’t enjoy blue sky?

I guess even sea lions get cabin fever now and then.  Give them blue sky and calm seas and you may see them outside of Sea Lion Caves; north of Florence, Oregon, on Highway 101.  Just north of the caves there is a pullout; the vantage point for the “most photographed lighthouse on the Oregon Coast”.  The lighthouse keeper’s house is a bed and breakfast:  Heceta Head Lighthouse

heceta head lighthouse
Heceta Head Lighthouse

Park your car, get out and listen.  If you can hear the sea lions barking, look over the rock wall to the cliffs below.  These are a mix of California and Stellar Sea Lions.

sea lion haul out
Sea Lions Hauling Out

They complain a lot but they like to snuggle.

sea lions
Mom! He’s touching me!

On the other side of the cliff, closer to the caves, another group of sea lions climb the steep cliff; hugging the side to get to the top.

sea lion rock climbers
Sea Lions are great rock climbers

Great weather coming for Memorial Weekend!

Today was beautiful.  The ocean was turquois!

Heceta Head Lighthouse
Heceta Head Lighthouse today

The Brandts Cormorants and Common Murre are starting to nest on the cliffs.

cormorants nesting
Cormorant male displays his colors

The male displays his pretty blue neck by tilting his head all the way back to touch his tail feathers and he raises his elbows like a human imitating a chicken.

cormorant with egg
Can you find the egg showing under the cormorant?

Hint:  Look in a nest in the lower left-hand corner for the egg.  This is part of a new marine reserve now.  A volunteer was observing and counting the cormorants here and at the site next to Heceta Head Lighthouse.

common murre and brandts cormorants
Common Murre are gathering too

We didn’t see any eggs with the murres.

Pelican Fly-by

We even got a nice fly-by from a flock of pelicans!

sea lion
The fat-guy says…well, nothing

All the other sea lions must be in the cave.  He must need some peace and quiet.

A road crew is doing maintenance on the bridge just north of the tunnel at Heceta Head Lighthouse.  One lane is open.  Expect delays.  They do a pretty good job letting traffic through.  I’m not sure if they’ll continue through the weekend or not.

We’re supposed to get a bit of a drizzle in the morning but it should clear up for us to see the meteor shower Friday night/Saturday morning.

Branded Sea Lions – Update

My contacts are catching up with their email after their Christmas and New Year vacations.  So here’s the info on the Stellar Sea Lions we saw 4 days before Christmas 2013.  We stopped at the turnout on Hwy 101, just north of Sea Lion Caves, overlooking Heceta Head Lighthouse.  Branding helps monitor the travel and health of these beautiful marine mammals.

Sea Lion branded: 412Y
Sea Lion branded: 412Y

You may have to click on the photo to enlarge it to see the brand on the sea lion in the top center of the photo.

This is a male, branded as a pup, on Rogue Reef on July 17, 2013.  This is the first resight.  Rogue Reef is off Gold Beach in southern Oregon between Port Orford and Brookings.  It is an important habitat for these Stellar Sea lions.

2 branded Sea Lions: 440R and 364Y
2 branded Sea Lions: 440R and 364Y

Sea Lion #364Y, a male, was also branded at Rogue Reef on July 17, 2013.  This is also the first resight of him.

The big one, 440R, is a female who was branded on July 18, 2005 at Rogue Reef.  She has only been sighted at Rogue Reef and Sea Lion Caves.  She has been sighted every year except 2012.  This was the first resight of 2013.

Thanks Bryan Wright/bryan.e.wright@state.or.us

Sea Lion mom focuses on her ONE pup

The weekly photo challenge is: ONE

Heceta Lighthouse Overlook near Sea Lion Caves
Heceta Lighthouse Overlook near Sea Lion Caves

Aside from the beautiful view of the lone lighthouse on the point, we stop here to listen and watch the sea lions (at the bottom of the photo).  By the way, this is on Highway ONE-oh-ONE on the Oregon Coast.

Sea Lion branded: 412Y
Sea Lion branded: 412Y

I love how they lay all over each other.  They look so comfortable in spite of the rough, hard, rocks they use for nap-matts.

2 branded Sea Lions: 440R and 364Y
2 branded Sea Lions: 440R and 364Y

Although the large number of sea lions in the group amazes me, I like to look at each ONE.  I’ll find the history on the 3 brands I found.  I saw 3 or 4 more but couldn’t get the whole brand.  I like the expression on the one at the top of the above photo.  It makes me think of the sound that Scooby-Doo makes when someone says something silly.

Sea Lion pup kissing mommy
Sea Lion pup kissing mommy

Of course the sea lion mom has to focus on the ONE; after all, she IS a mom!  But for the pup, she is the only ONE that matters.

First day of winter – Oregon Coast

It was 50F today!  Not bad for the first day of winter!

bob creek wayside
Walk on the beach at high tide

We grabbed a sandwich from Subway and ate it at Bob Creek Wayside, between Cape Perpetua Scenic Area and Heceta Lighthouse.  A couple seals were feeding in the cove and kept an eye on the beach-walkers.

Bob Creek Wayside
Looking south from Bob Creek Wayside

Lots of seafoam and clouds remain from the storm that blew through last night.

Waves at Bob Creek
Waves at Bob Creek

Some pretty good wave-action too.

Hwy 101 north of Florence, OR
Hwy 101 north of Florence, OR

Beautiful view of Baker Beach from the top of the hill coming down from Sea Lion Caves on Hwy 101.

What’s to see when it’s foggy on the Central Oregon Coast?

It is always cooler on the coast than it is in the Willamette Valley (I-5 corridor from Portland to Eugene).  Many times, when it’s hot in the “valley”, it will be foggy on the coast.

Although it’s not the best time for whale watching there’s plenty to see on the Central Oregon Coast when it’s foggy; as long as you don’t focus on the fog.

Bray's Point on Hwy 101 - Overlooking Bob Creek Wayside
Bray’s Point on Hwy 101 – Overlooking Bob Creek Wayside

If I am standing in the fog, I like to get my “head out of the clouds” and go for a drive on Hwy 101.

Bray's Point - Hwy 101 - looking south
Bray’s Point – Hwy 101 – looking south

Most of the time, the fog is patchy along the Oregon coast.  As the highway rises, we climb out of the fog to enjoy azure blue skies and the warmth of the sun.  Hiking in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area is a great option – but today we’re going to Florence for groceries and fuel (the cheapest fuel in Oregon).

Cormorants and Common Murre Nests
Cormorants and Common Murre Nests

We stopped at the overlook of the Heceta Head Lighthouse, just north of Sea Lion Caves, on this foggy morning.  We could not see the lighthouse until we drove back by later in the afternoon.  But I enjoy seeing how the cormorant chicks are growing.  The chicks aren’t as dark and shiny-black as their parents.  The common murres are still there but I can’t tell if any of these are chicks.

Beaver in the Alsea River
Beaver in the Alsea River

Of course, there’s always the option of driving inland, up a river, for other un-foggy options.  This photo was taken near Blackberry Campground, 18 miles east of Waldport.

Elk herd with this year's calves
Elk herd with this year’s calves

The elk calves still have their spots and feed in open fields with the rest of the herd.

Sassy Elk Calf
Sassy Elk Calf

I’m not sure if the cow on the left is the mom but she’s not happy with the calf (ears down).  And the calf is talking to her (mouth open).

Lookin’ for Love

We saw a few sea lions outside the caves when we stopped just south of Heceta Head Lighthouse last weekend.

sea lions swimming - sea lion caves
Synchronized Swimming

It was a beautiful day for sunning.

Sunning Sea Lions - sea lion caves
Sunning Sea Lions

Looks like this big Sea Lion has travelled from California to British Columbia, and back over the last 9 years, lookin’ for his own territory.

Branded Sea Lion - 151Y - Sea Lion Caves
Branded Sea Lion – 151Y

According to Bryan Wright with the state of Oregon:   This is a male from the cohort we branded on 7/12/2004 at St. George Reef, CA.  He’s been seen at least a couple times most years – early on at Sea Lion Caves but more recently in Washington (Carroll Island, Bodelteh Island) and British Columbia (Wouwer Island).  Interesting that he’s back down here – maybe he’s on his way to a rookery to try holding a territory.

Google map: http://goo.gl/maps/uXGpB

Thanks Bryan (and Shawn)!