Tag Archives: tidewater

Rollin’ on the River

Some tubers were floating down the river this afternoon.  They, obviously, only get to visit for a few days at a time and don’t get to watch the river as much as we do.  We overheard him saying “there were more rapids the last time I was here.”  lol – If you don’t live on this part of the Alsea River you might not notice the tide’s effect on the level.  After all, who’d think the tide had any effect 12 miles up the river?  This photo is about mid-tide.


A big willow branch broke off, drifted downriver and snagged on this rock (below).  Now it is growing!  If you enlarge the above photo you can find the same willow branch to compare the tide level to the low tide below.

Willow branch growing
Willow branch growing

Green Heron are usually pretty shy but 2 of them have been working the river pretty steady for a week or so.

Green Heron on river rocks
Green Heron on river rocks

Here’s a closeup of the Green Heron.

green heron on alsea river
Green Heron is annoyed by photographer

C’mon!  I’m not close enough to annoy you!  That’s the look my family gives me when I want to take their photo AGAIN!  LOL

The last thing to roll up the river today was Sneaky Pete (I named him for his behavior):

Harbor Seal
Harbor Seal

At high tide, in the summer, the Alsea River can look so still it looks like a lake.  The seals don’t spend a lot of time up here and most of it is spent under the surface.  We could tell by the water movement that something big was wandering around under there; although it seemed to move very slowly.

harbor seal in alsea river at tideater
Sneaky Pete in Alsea River

Like a lot of wildlife, although large, they can be very stealthy when they want to be!  And when they are fishing, they are in stealth mode.

I wonder if I could talk Sneaky Pete into goosing a tuber?  🙂

All photos were taken a few miles downriver of Blackberry Campground.

The Ebb and Flow of Alsea Wildlife

As the wildlife young are growing up, we are seeing more of them along our part of the Alsea River (about 12 miles east of Waldport).

Osprey - adult
Osprey – adult

We must not have an Osprey nest close by because we haven’t seen one here since the chicks hatched in the Waldport High School nest.  I’ve heard there is also a nest at Eckman Lake?  If you’ve spent time near an osprey nest their call is forever imprinted on your mind; as was mine after the summer we spent workamping in Sam Owen Campground near Sandpoint, Idaho.  I thought I’d never miss their calls again.  The young are relentless in their loud, high-pitched, begging for food.  They are either begging or sleeping and seemed to be no in between.  But I was excited to hear this one last week.  Oddly enough, the otter alarm call sounds so much like an osprey to me; only it is a single chirp instead of three.

Mom with Otter Kits on Alsea River
Mom with Otter Kits

I’m convinced that we are seeing several families of otters now and I can only tell them apart by how many are in the group (if they get out of the river long enough for me to count).

Great White Egret on Lint Slough
Great White Egret on Lint Slough

The Great White Egrets are showing up on Lint Sough, on the east end of Waldport.  Their stark white body really stands out against the forest greenery.

Kayaking Lint Sough
Kayaking Lint Sough

Did you know there used to be a fish hatchery up Lint Slough?  Word has it (from a local old-timer) that their return rate was over 90%!  The slough winds way back into the forested canyon.  If you don’t have your own kayak, you can rent one or get a guided tour in the summer through Labor Day at the Kayak Shack on the Port of Alsea.

5 Elk Calves
5 Elk Calves

Back up the river, most of the elk calves have lost their spots.  Maybe that’s what they are looking for?  No, I don’t have them.  Ask your mother.

With their ears leaning forward and that furry neck, they almost look like a lama to me.  The elk, like all of the wildlife, come and go from day to day.  We don’t see them for a few days or weeks, then we see them everyday for a week at certain times of the day.  I’m sure they have a route they travel but I don’t think they are on a schedule.  Tides and hungry cougars will alter their route I’m sure.

Wildlife tracks on the Alsea River
What kind of tracks are these?

Speaking of hungry cougars…what kind of tracks do you think these are?  I really don’t know.  If I’d been smart, I would have checked our side of the river when I saw these.  I’ll do that the next time I see something I can’t identify from a distance; in case they crossed the river.

Green Heron at Low Tide on Alsea River
Green Heron at Low Tide on Alsea River

We saw 2 Green Heron land under the willows at the same time last evening.

It’s funny how, once you see and identify a bird or other wildlife, you seem to see them all the time.  Or, maybe, it’s that ebb and flow thing again?  Like the tides, the wildlife comes in and it goes out.

A Furry Flurry

River Otters came out at dusk last week.

River Otter Takes a Dirt Bath
Otter takes a dirt bath

Don was out on the “observation deck” starting the barbeque when he heard animals screeching.  He called to me and said it sounded like raccoons fighting.

Snuggling River Otters
Snuggling River Otters

The camera revealed that it was river otters…but they aren’t fighting…it’s spring you know!

Cavorting Otters
Splish Splash

Again, the low light and auto-focus techniques of my excellent photo-journalism skills show just exactly how fast these critters move!

What a blur these river otters can cause!

Photos were taken in the Alsea River, below Blackberry Campground, in Tidewater, Oregon.

Notes from the photo-journalist (loosely named):

I’ve been fighting with a my computer for a week.  Apparently, accidentally clicking on one of those facebook ads on the right side of the facebook screen, installed some adware on my computer.  The way I knew that is because ads started showing up in different places in facebook (like on the left side and the middle of the facebook screen).  I did some research and found out that facebook doesn’t put ads anywhere but on the right side so I must have been infected by adware.  Don got rid of the adware with some software that cleaned the computer and reset the browser settings.  While it did get rid of the extra ads, I started having problems with another blog I’m working on.  They suggested that I should install IE10.  How naïve I am!  I did as was suggested and that blog works well again.  However, I get a new problem that not even the Microsoft Tech Support team has seen.  Well, I guess that shouldn’t surprise me.  After all, we are all beta-testers of Microsoft…except for the few fortunate who can afford a quality product like a Mac.  🙂

The Beavers Have Landed!

I saw one of the beavers dragging a big limb through the water this morning.  I grabbed my camera but he’d disappeared by the time I made it back to the window.  So I watched and either he or another appeared near our bank.  I’ve seen 3 at one time on other days.

To my surprise he started coming up into the yard!  I opened the window so I wouldn’t have the glass to interfere with my auto-focusing “skills” – hahaha – Although the low light interfered plenty.

Beaver Coming Up the Alsea River Bank
Coming Up the Alsea River Bank

When he got near the house, I think he must have smelled me. I understand they can’t see very well but they have a very keen sense of smell.

Beaver Climbing Alsea River Bank
Coming For Another Snack – Alsea River

He raised up on his hind legs, sniffing the air, then turned and ran (waddled) back down the bank. He went into the water and smacked the surface with his tail as he dove under!  Yup, he sniffed danger and he warned his buddies.

Beaver Running Away
Bye-Bye Beaver

But there’s no radio transmitter on his tail so he’s not one of the nuisance beavers that were relocated to the Alsea River by OSU.  That was a couple years ago, so maybe this is a descendant?

Oh yeah, we saw the head of the elk herd today too.

Bull Elk - Alsea River
Bull Elk – Nice Rack Buddy!

Later, when we drove by again, the two bulls were sparring.

I got a photo but it was too fuzzy to post.  Man, you gotta be quick with wildlife!

I’m Enamored

I’m sure I will feel differently when/if the beavers start munching on my living trees.

Beaver or Water Pig?
Looks like a furry pig

But, for now, they captivate me.

Beaver - Alsea River
I can hear the munching from up here

 These photos were taken near Blackberry Campground on the Alsea River in Tidewater, OR.

The beavers seem to like the apple tree limbs out of our burn pile.  So we re-wrapped the base of the apple trees with chicken wire.

We don’t see a typical den, where there is a pile of sticks, or a dam.   But I’ve heard that they’ll burrow into the river bank?

I found this study that was done by an OSU student last year: http://oregonstate.edu/terra/2012/02/leave-it-to-the-beavers/

Now I can look for a beavers with a radio transmitter on their tail!

I also learned that they don’t eat fish and that their dams create important habitat for small species and young coho salmon.

Reference: http://www.oregonwild.org/fish_wildlife/wildlife-pages/beaver

Today’s Gifts

We woke up to snow this morning.  It was a pretty blanket of white and about 30F.  I was really hoping it would warm up before I had to go into Waldport this afternoon though.

Rainbow Over the Alsea River
Rainbow Over the Alsea River

Sure enough, the snow melted!  But I didn’t dream of seeing a rainbow today.  I didn’t even think it was possible to see one in our little valley!  The Alsea River is on the north side of our house.  If the sun is higher than 42 degrees, you won’t see a rainbow because the angle isn’t right.  There’s also a pretty tall hill on the south side of us.  (I come from Utah so I know better than to call this a mountain.)

Male Common Merganser
Male Common Merganser

So we watched birds while we puttered around the house.

Common Merganser
Common Merganser – Female or 1st year Male

I couldn’t zoom in close enough to tell if this is a female Common Merganser or a 1st year male.

Common Goldeneye
Common Goldeneye

The Common Goldeneye always stumps me.  The bright eye should give it away but I seem to look in the wrong part of my bird book and end up asking an expert.  This is a female.  I haven’t seen a male lately but I’m sure he’s around.

The weather held out until it was time to come home from Waldport tonight.  A hail storm hit just as I was going through town.  It was pounding!  But as soon as I got past Eckman Lake, the road was barely wet.

Hooded Merganser Eating a Mudcat

My content advisor recommended I take a photo of whatever is white on the other side of the Alsea River.

After getting the photos on the computer we saw that it is a Hooded Merganser eating a little mudcat.

Hooded Merganser Eats Mudcat
Hooded Merganser Eats Mudcat

We could barely see the merganser, let alone what he was doing.  But I could tell he wasn’t just drifting along.  His white chest kept flashing against the dark shoreline.

Hooded Merganser with Lunch
Lunch on the Alsea River

The Hooded Merganser usually has his tail up.  But he’s got it spread out on the water’s surface.  I assume that’s for balance since he’s got a fish in his mouth.

I called the fish “little” but compared to the size of the duck he’s a pretty good size.  I don’t know how he’s going to swallow it!?