Showing posts from March, 2014

March 24th, 2014

Low Tide: 0.8' @ 1:48 PM

First official day of Oregon Spring Break - and it was a lovely one. The winds didn't pick up until the end of the shift so visitors were out on the beach in large numbers. Our highest count was 148 people in the intertidal.
Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus luecocephalis) continue to make regular appearances at the Rock, usually resulting in the Western Gulls (Larus occidentalis) taking off from the cliffs in a raucous cloud of white and grey.
There was an unconfirmed case of Sea Star Wasting Syndrome observed at Haystack Rock by staff and visitors over the weekend. Photos were sent to researchers at U.C. Santa Cruz, but it is important to note that nothing will be confirmed until monitoring can be set up. This may be an isolated case, if it is even the disease, and more research will need to be done.
Sea Star Wasting Syndrome is a description of symptoms found in many species of sea stars. It is characterized by the appearance of lesions on the ectoderm, or s…

March 23rd, 2014

Low Tide: 0.7' @ 12:32 PM

We had our first visitor count of over 200 people during Sunday's shift, with 202 people counted in the intertidal at one time. The weather was sunny and the winds light, which drew the early Spring Breakers to Haystack Rock.  Staff and volunteers had their hands full providing information, education, and tours of the ecosystems at the Rock.

In this post I want to especially thank our many dedicated and talented volunteers that make the Haystack Rock Awareness Program possible. Thanks to the enthusiastic help of volunteers during this shift, we were able to man a bird station helping to keep some pressure off the intertidal and give visitors a chance to see the start of nesting activity on the Rock. We had a couple volunteers who were unable to be on their feet during the shift, so instead they chatted with visitors from chairs and showed off some of the exciting creatures found at Haystack Rock by using laminated photos and fact sheets. It just goes …

March 22nd, 2014

Low Tide: 0.6' @ 11:26 AM
With beautiful, sunny weather and light winds HRAP staff and volunteers were busy educating and interpreting for the large number of visitors to Haystack Rock on Saturday. Our highest visitor count during the shift was 186 people in the intertidal.
Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus luecocepahlis) have been seen almost daily during our recent shifts, hunting the intertidal and soaring over the Rock. There are two nesting pairs in the area that visit Haystack Rock. Keep an eye out for them and for the occasional juvenile or sub-adult passing by.

March 21st, 2013

Low Tide: 0.4' @ 10:33

With the rain finally breaking and the sun coming out after so many windy days on the beach, Friday's shift was a welcome relief to HRAP staff and volunteers. Visitor's appreciated the weather as well with our highest count at 56 people in the intertidal.

Our creature highlights from the day included:

A pair of Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalis) huntingA six-armed Ochre Sea Star (Pisaster ochraceus)Matts of Dogwinkle Whelk Snail eggs (Nucella sp.)Opalescent Nudibranch (Hermissenda crassicornis)Janolus Nudibranch (Janolus fuscus) - Our first sighting so far this season! Six-armed Ochre Sea Star
Dogwinkle Whelk Snail Egg mass on the underside of a boulder.

Check back to this post as I try to get more photos from this shift!

March 16th, 2014

Low Tide: 1.3' @ 7:22 AM
Wrapping up the weekend with an early shift, HRAP staff spent another day exploring the edges of the intertidal and avoiding the high surges. At least the wind had died down from the night before. Our highest visitor count during the shift was 4 people in the intertidal. Not many were tempted out so early in the morning, but our staff was there to provide interpretation and educational opportunities to the few who were.
When there is little exposure in the intertidal, a lot of attention is shifted to the birds of Haystack Rock. Every shift we're seeing more Western Gulls (Larus Occidentalis) establishing nesting sites on the Rock. In addition, HRAP staff observed Pelagic Cormorants (Phalacrocorax pelagicus) exhibiting nesting behavior and establishing nest sites on the south cliffs. Keep an eye out over the next month as more species return to Haystack Rock!
Other highlights included: Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalis) - seen flying around the Rock seve…

March 15th, 2014

Low Tide: 0.8' @ 7:03 PM

Saturday was HRAP's first evening shift of the season! Once again high surge and strong winds left little of the tide pool area around Haystack Rock exposed for exploration. It didn't keep visitors off of the beach though, with our highest count at 39 people in the internal during the shift.

Our creature highlight for the night was a Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalis) spotted hunting by staff.

March 9th, 2014

Low Tide: 1.5' @ 2:31 PM
Sunday was another day of high surge and little exposure at Haystack Rock. HRAP staff and volunteers worked diligently to save signs from the surge, search the outskirts of the tide pools for interesting creatures, and help visitors stay safe during the unpredictable water. At least the wind had died down. The warm temperature and break from the dusts drew visitors on to the beach and encouraged exploration. Our highest count during the shift was 34 people in the intertidal.
It was another day of infrequent creature sightings, but we were able to catch a quick glimpse of a Pacific Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina) in the water just north of the Rock! Other sightings included:
Rafts of Surf Scoters (Melanitta perspicillata) south of Haystack Rock2 Black Oystercatchers (Haematopus bachmani)1 Pelagic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pelagicus)2 male Harlequin Ducks (Histrionicus histrionicus)

March 8th, 2014

Low Tide: 1.4' @ 12:22 PM
Saturday was a gusty day at Haystack Rock. Visitors, volunteers, and HRAP staff alike were hunkering down in rain coats and walking at angles into the wind. Even with high surges, low exposure, and high winds visitors still sought out the tide pools. Our highest count during the shift was 17 people in the intertidal.
There were few creature sightings during the day, however Junior Volunteer Alanna had an exciting encounter! After spotting a Western Gull (Larus occidentalis) scavenging something in front of the  HRAP truck, Alanna went to get a closer look. As she approached, a Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalis) swept in just in front of her and snatched whatever the gull had been feeding on. An exciting site to see!
We are looking forward to more fascinating encounters this season so keep checking back for more updates!

March 7th, 2014

Low Tide: 1.1' @ 11:18 AM

After a week of rain and blowing winds, Friday turned out to be a beautiful day on the beach at Haystack Rock. Due to surges on the south side of the Rock, less of the intertidal was exposed than is usual during low tides of this height, but visitors were still drawn to the tidepools as the sunny weather enticed people outside. Our highest count for Friday was 26 people in the intertidal.

We observed our first nesting behavior of the season during this shift! Western Gulls, Larus occidentalis, were seen establishing nesting sites on the Rock. This species nests in colonies on rocky islands, often amongst other gull species. Western Gull nests are a scrape in the ground filled with vegetation, feathers, rope, plastic, or other items.

An interesting fact about Western Gulls: they are an opportunistic feeder and have been known to steal milk from lactating female seals while they lie on their backs sleeping on the beach!

(Photo Credit: Lisa Habecker, Informat…

March 2nd, 2014

Low Tide: 0.6' @ 7:08 AM
We had a short and wet morning at Haystack Sunday, with an early low tide and some blustery winds. Our staff and volunteers were still able to interact with visitors though, with our highest count at 17 people in the intertidal.
We welcomed two new staff members to our HRAP team yesterday! Deborah Strock joined us on the beach for her first shift and Junior Interpreter Katie Corliss joined the rest of the staff for a training session at City Hall. Make sure to welcome them during your next visit to Haystack Rock!
The creature highlight of the day was waiting for us when we pulled up on the beach - a Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrines, was perched on top of the Rock! As the morning progressed, we were lucky enough to see the Peregrine defend it’s territory from a sub-adult Bald Eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, that came a little too close to Haystack. 
Peregrine Falcon (Falco Peregrines)
(photo provided by:…