Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Such a Day

Monday, walking Hobuck Beach with MS, J & S, surveying for COASST. Hobuck is an accumulation beach, and so frequently has birds to work that MS uses it for training newbies, and for refreshers for old volunteers. So it was on Monday. We worked six beached birds. (On my beaches I haven't had one since mid-November, when the wreck ended.)

August 23, 2010. At Hobuck Creek, starting the beach survey. (Click for larger image.)

The weather was astonishing, so warm and sunny we left all jackets and raingear in the car. People were all over the beach, sunning themselves or surfing or swimming ('without wetsuits !!!!' said MS). There were shorebirds (which I almost never have at Rialto), plovers and sanderlings and maybe least sandpipers; and lots of interesting stuff, shells and sponges and seaweeds, bryozoans and hydroids and mystery balls that don't seem to be anything but are everywhere once you start noticing

Unknown (Click for larger image.)

J. found an eagle feather for S. (in the end she had two; her family is Makah so she could collect them), and MS gathered a pocket full of olive shells for her (the Makah use them in dance regalia).

Looking back south from Wa'Atch River (Click for larger image.)

J has the official ID photos and the data sheets. Click for a less formal look at some of our six birds, who were: Cassin's auklet; pigeon guillemot; common murre; sooty shearwater; Western gull (little more than the head and a couple of feet, identification uncertain), and an out-of-place perching bird (some sort of pigeonish bird but the field guide doesn't give much help for non-beach birds). The beach is wide, we spread out to cover it, and when a beached bird is found you sing out, Bird!, very loud, to call the others to come identify and record it.

The last part of the protocol is to collect and record marine debris for a stretch of beach. There wasn't much, but it included an Asian cardboard beverage container. MS said one of the ways this year was anomalous was that the currents continued to bring in Asian debris from the North Pacific garbage patch long past the usual spring appearance. (J. reminded me she found a glass float this spring; I didn't want to hear it; drenched in envy every time I think of it.)

Back at Hobuck Creek, recording marine debris (Click for larger image.)
The beach segment runs from the point south of Hobuck Creek to the Wa'Atch River. Map from topoquest (Click for larger image.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful day! We used to camp there when I was a little kid! Still a favorite place to visit - I need to get my hubby out there!