Monday, March 10, 2014

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, Information Above provided by: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Western_Gull/lifehistory)

Other creature highlights included:
  • Surf Scoters (Melanitta perspicillata)
  • Harlequin Ducks (Histrionicus histrionicus)

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