Beached bird survey in Clallam Bay, COASST beach segments Slip Point and Middle Point. Friday, April 26. E. and I tagged along to keep JL company. There are just about never any dead birds on any of the Strait beaches: you drive out there, you walk the beach, you find nothing, you come back. Though in fact JL found a cormorant on the Slip Point beach earlier this year.
Westbound we took WA112 the whole way. There were elk by the highway.
We traipsed across the footbridge over the Clallam River, out on to the beach; and headed east towards Slip Point. You could see snow up on the hills on the Vancouver Island side of the Strait. (At Clallam Bay on the Washington side you are perhaps straight across from Jordan River along the West Coast Road on the Canadian side.)
JL mentioned we had just missed a 2-foot minus tide. There is supposed to be great tidepooling at Slip Point. Since it was a weekday and one of the best tides of the year, I was a bit surprised that the tidepool end of the beach was not aswarm with middle school students, waving checklists of invertebrates. But it was quiet. We had the beach to ourselves. At Slip Point just the old lightkeeper's house remains; the lighthouse itself and the boardwalk out to it are gone. This beach is really the community beach for the town of Clallam Bay. You are definitely not in the wilderness. The houses on Salt Air Street sit right behind the berm. :-)
JL had trouble getting me to turn around once we reached the outlying rocks of the tidepools. Just on the first bits of rock there were carpets of aggregating anemones, and limpets and chitons and barnacles, oh my. Sea urchins were calling to me further out on the point. I was sure they were there, we had seen broken sea urchin tests in the wrack. But this was JL's expedition. We had another beach to walk, and a lunch plan, and she needed to be home for dinner guests. No time for making my way out to the sea urchins' pools.
Then we quickly moved to the tiny beach segment called Middle Point—no dead birds there either, though more trash to pick up—and then adjourned as is JL's practice to the Breakwater Diner, before the drive home. We took WA113 and US 101 on the way home. No elk, no eagles either. We were home by 3PM.