Tuesday, July 18, 2017


Guess what? Guess what? THE BLACK OYSTERCATCHERS HAVE BABIES!!!! THREE OF THEM!!!!!! AND THEY SURVIVED THEIR FIRST WEEK OF LIFE!!!!     We are REALLY excited about the little fellas. It has been a week and a half of a lot of excitement and a little added stress. We are working hard to ensure that the parents are happy and that the babies are protected. Please help us do that by understanding why there might be more area closed off than normal. Black Oystercatchers are extremely special birds and we are lucky to have a pair that nests at the Rock.

Ready for the quick and dirty story of Black Oystercatchers: They are shore birds who are considered a species of concern because their population is so low. It is estimated that there is only 400 on the entire coastline of Oregon, approximately one for every mile. They are territorial and will loudly chase off any other Oystercatcher that comes to close. At the Rock, there has been a pair nesting for a while. Unfortunately, it has been three years since they were successful in their nesting, even though they have tried relentlessly.

This year that changed, there was a successful nest. We suspect that the reason for the somewhat sudden change was that there is a new pair of Black Oystercatchers nesting at the Rock and that one of them is the off-spring from a few years ago. And that the old pair has simply moved over to the Needles as happy “grandparents”.

Never the less, there is babies running around the Rock!!! 

© 2017 Diana Robinson.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Photos: A Happy Update from Us to You!

❤ Here is an update of our magical moments from Haystack Rock! ❤

One of our favorite visitors, Barbara Hauser, wearing the latest fashion in Puffin! Puffins line down alongside the center of her coat's zipper. Don't we all wish we had one of these? 🙋🙌

This is what our inter tidal area of Haystack Rock's Marine Preserve looks like once the tide starts coming up quick! Be aware and don't forget, the ocean comes up really quick (after hitting low tide)!💧💦

A beautiful, healthy sea star enjoying some underwater sun!😁

The sunset frames Haystack Rock in pink from sea to sky! 💗

All Photos by: Brianna Ortega

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Discover Haystack Rock - Puffin Puppets

Saturday was a busy day at the Rock. There were three events going on simultaneously—a guided tide pool tour, the Great Puffin Watch, and a Discover Haystack Rock event about puffins. All three went totally perfectly. Discover Haystack Rock is an event/activity that we put on once a month throughout the summer. This month we made paper puffin puppets out of brown paper bags, paper, glue, and super fun googley eyes. The children, parents, and even grandparents loved every second of it. The wind served to be a little bit of an issue, but luckily no puffin puppets went flying away. All the kiddos walked away with a fun new Tufted Puffin puppet and a ton of new knowledge about the wonderful puffins living at Haystack Rock. It was absolutely FABULOUS!

 Yay puffins! 
A grandpa really wanted to make one for his grandson.

One Visitor took the puppet to the next level by adding eyebrows and a beautiful rainbow. 

"Quick everyone hold up their stunning puffins!"

Even our HRAP staff Kari and Jesse got involved in the fun!

Thank you to all the visitors that came out to Discover Haystack Rock with us today and there will be another chance to Discover Haystack Rock in August! 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Happy Thursday - Some More Photos from Haystack Rock!

A beautiful evening from the center of our sand area... We are so lucky to exist here!

Last month, Lisa counted the Sea Stars during our Sea Star Survey

Lisa working hard like always... 

Haystack Rock illuminated in the morning light!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Spring, Sprang!

Spring has sprung at Haystack Rock and with it volunteer and staff Environmental Interpreters are finding loads of eggs and tiny juvenile recruits of different types. There have also been very interesting sightings of more precarious types that come with warmer weather; read our HRAP "nature notes" to learn more....

Tidepool Sculpin, Oligocottus maculosus, eggs

 Bright yellow Tidepool Sculpin, Oligocottus maculosus, eggs can be found among the barnacles and mussels, often above the tide pools during low tide. Sculpin can vary in color from red-brown to green  and can grow up to 9cm long.

Acorn Barnacle, Balanus glandula, recruits

 Tiny, juvenile Acorn Barnacle recruits dot the intertidal like adorable polka dots. These animals have small, white volcano-like shells and are very common in the tide pools at Haystack Rock and elsewhere along the Oregon coast.

Barnacle Nudibranchs, Onchidoris bilamellata, and eggs

Highly camouflaged Barnacle Nudibranchs can be seen amongst their eggs (the white, ribbon like blobs) as well as barnacles, anemones and snails. You can, again, see many barnacle recruits in this picture.

Ochre Sea Star, Pisaster ochraceus

Ochre Sea Star, Pisaster ochraceus

Juvenile sea stars can be seen around the intertidal as of late. While sea star populations continue to be low due to the shock of the devastating sea star wasting event which began in 2013 and resulted in over 90% species loss (at Haystack Rock), we are hopeful that some of these juveniles are building up immunities to the virus and are adapting to their ever changing environment. This particular species of sea star, which is most common at Haystack Rock can grow up to 25cm and is generally purple or orange.

Lead Environmental Interpreter, Kari, rescuing a Common Murre, Uria aalge

The picture above is a common site once nesting season begins at the rock (March - September) -- staff and volunteers often rescue injured or malnourished sea birds that are found on the beach. If you ever happen across a sea bird on the beach, it is most likely injured or needing some type of assistance; notify your local Police Department (non-emergency number) or Wildlife Center and they will generally respond promptly.

Other random fun notes from our "nature notes" (scribed from our daily beach log) this past week that are just too good to leave out:

March 21st: "2 sea stars in garden, large pyrosome's, nudibranch ribbon eggs, eagle came and failed, very windy, osprey flyby at start of shift"

March 24th: "Kite boarder south of needles catching air off waves. Super windy and sideways rain. Left beach early due to nasty conditions and lack of visitors. No common Murres"

March 25th: "Peregrine at top of rock, Western Gull caught crab, baby stars in high intertidal, tried rope along north and it seemed to help, heard Black Oystercatchers down at needles, huge north swells, Canadians and Portlandians visitors"

March 26th: "No murres.  One female homo sapiens, skinny dipping north of ''Rock". Murres showed up at 4:00, about 200. Opalescent Nudibranchs in South pools and opalescent swimming upside down, shaggy mouse, ribbon eggs, babies on back wall. Went over to needles to pull guy off rock and there are SEASTARS EVERYWHERE!!"

Have a murre-velous day!
--Tuff the Tufted Puffin

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Nudis, Hail, and Decoy Ducks

What's new at the Rock these past few weeks? Glad you asked! Not only has the weather been completely and utterly unpredictable, but unique animals and marine debris have been making appearances.

On March 1st, Environmental Interpreters, Gina and Kari, spotted opalescent and barnacle nudibranchs which can be seen in the pictures below.

A Barnacle Nudibranch, Onchidoris Bilamellata, hiding in the center/left of the picture above, is among barnacles and anemones and has most likely just laid the egg mass seen in the upper left portion of the image.

The beautiful Opalescent Nudibranch, Hermissenda Crassicornis, pictured above, was seen on March 8th as it relaxed in a tide pool, soaking in the calm morning low tide.

Interpreters, throughout the past two weeks, saw HIGHLY variable weather patterns, causing high wind, surf, and surge warnings. In the image below, check out the hail covering the beach at Haystack Rock (and awesome staff and visitors still out tide pooling in the crazy weather!).

The blustery and rough weather brought in more pyrosomes, Pyrosoma Atlanticum, as well as a decoy duck covered in barnacles, found by interpreters Kari, Alan and Gina on March 4th. Fun note: don't bring in marine debris and leave them in the staff office unless you like being unpopular amongst your coworkers. ;)

Many of our beach shifts have been cancelled the past two weeks because of stormy weather, but it seems as if Spring may soon be gracing us with some calmer weather. We'll keep our webbed feet crossed!

-- Puff, the Tufted Puffin

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Watch Out Prey - They Sting!

Alan Quimby was the lead interpreter on the beach on May 16, 2016 and spied an Aggregating Anemone (Anthopleura elegantissima) and a Shore Crab in close proximity in the tidepools.

The aggregating anemone is an invertebrates that looks likes a flower, with a tube shaped body capped by tentacles. Colored anemones have algae living in their tissue in a symbiotic relationship. The anemone bends away or toward the light to facilitate the light level needed for photosynthesis in the algae; it return, the algae provides food to the anemone.

Aggregating Anemone

Anemones eat a wide variety of food, using stinging cells on their tentacles (called nematocysts) to paralyze their prey. They can even ingest small crabs and discard the shells. Perhaps that is what happened to the shore crab on this day as the crab must have gotten a little too close and appeared to have been paralyzed  by a small aggregating anemone.

Paralyzed Shore Crab

The anemone is abundant on the rocky shore and can almost always be seen in the tidepools at Haystack Rock. If you have visited Haystack Rock multiple times, you have probably noticed that the sand can drift from week to week and even from day to day. The anemone can easily be buried by the drifting sand but can survive up to 3 months under the sand.

Anemones retract their tentacles when they are exposed to the air. Sand and bits of shell cling to sticky bumps on their body which provide both camouflage and protection from drying out. The anemone is less apparent in this state, frequently blending into the rocks to which they are adhered.

Aggregating Anemone

Next time you are at the rock, take an opportunity to admire the 'flowers' of the tidepool. The beach season at Haystack Rock has now started and we look forward to seeing you on the beach!