Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Moment of Sun on the Beach

Friday. At sunrise the view mountainwards said, "Go." A big wet storm forecast for the weekend, but not yet. Along Lake Crescent, the sky changed every minute.

Mount Angeles and Klahane Rige, Olympic Mountains, December 10, 2010 (Click for larger image.)
Lake Crescent as seen from US 101, Olympic National Park, December 10, 2010 (Click for larger image.)

Rain along the highway, a moment of sun on the beach, rain on the beach, clouds, mists. A constant donning and removal of raingear and layers.

This was a COASST beached bird survey; I had to hustle along to complete both segments before the waves chased me up into the drift, as the tide was not-all-that-low when I got there, and rising. (Had there been birds to identify, the plan would have fallen apart as that takes me HOURS extra.) Waves had swept and smoothed the strand, pushing all the small wood and the gravel and sand right up to or past the big logs at the back of the beach. Were there anything to record on the survey forms, it will have been buried within one tidal cycle.

The Ghost Tree Still Hasn't Gone Over (Click for larger image.)
Big Log (Click for larger image.)

No dead birds; at one spot on Rialto Jetty a small clump of feathers, from a gull that had been some eagle's lunch, probably, but no sign of the rest of the bird. A very small amount of marine debris: a piece of netting, small bits of rope, some plastic. I've gotten out of the habit of allowing time for picking up the trash and recording it on a Marine Debris form. Will have to go back to doing it, beginning with next month's survey.)

No wrack on the Ellen Creek beach segment, except here and there behind the logs. Now that I know to watch for it, bryozoans in the mix, but really not much of anything. On the Rialto Jetty segment, here and there a wrack of small wood, which we have not seen for a while.

When I left there was a vigorous rain shower. Eventually outran it on the highway, and there was a stupendous rainbow.

Small Wood (Click for larger image.)
A handsome gull, in thoughtful rather than noble pose... (Click for larger image.)

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