Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April 1st - April 6th 2014

Daily Low Tides:

Tuesday, April 1st
-0.5' @ 8:36 AM

Wednesday, April 2nd
-0.4' @ 9:20 AM

Thursday, April 3rd
-0.1' @ 10:04 AM

Friday, April 4th
0.3' @ 10:48 AM

Saturday, April 5th
0.7' @ 11:37 AM

Sunday, April 6th
1.2' @ 12:33 PM


Notes from the week:

The first week of April beach shifts was one of overcast skies, variable winds, a few good rain showers, and a just a glimpse of sun every once in while. The weather didn't keep visitors at bay though, as spring breaks around the Pacific Northwest brought tourists to the beach. Our highest visitor count during the week was 170 people in the intertidal during the shift on April 2nd.

It was an exciting week down at Haystack Rock with our first Tufted Puffin sighting on April 2nd! We saw three birds flying around the Rock during that Wednesday's shift. Throughout the week we regularly spotted a few Tufted Puffins passing over at a time. In other bird news, Staff and Volunteers continued to see Pigeon Guillemots and Common Murres in the area. Pelagic Cormorants were spotted sitting on their nests as well. The birds have officially returned to Haystack Rock and we are looking forward to many more exciting sightings this season!

On Saturday, April 5th, HRAP hosted our Spring Volunteer Interpreter Training! We had a total of 21 volunteers in attendance, 9 new and 12 returning. During the training, attendees were treated to an introduction to the HRAP program, an overview of volunteer duties, a presentation by Geologist Tom Horning on the geology of Haystack Rock, and a school group training with HRAP Staff. Join us for our next Volunteer Training event June 7th!


Creature Highlights

Birds
  • Tufted Puffin (Fratercula cirrhata) - First Tufted Puffin sightings this season!
  • Pigeon Guillemot (Cepphus columba) - observed on the south side of Haystack Rock
  • Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus)
  • Pelagic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pelagicus) - seen on their nests
  • Brandt's Cormorant (Phalacrocorax penicillatus)
  • Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) - regular eagle activity observed throughout the week, usually flushing the birds off the Rock and preying upon the Western Gulls
  • Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata)
  • Greater Scaup (Aythya marila)
  • Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani)
  • Common Murre (Uria aalge) - large flocks observed just off the coast
  • Western Gull (Larus occidentalis)
Invertebrates
  • Opalescent Nudibranch (Hermissenda crassicornis)
  • Trilineata Nudibranch (Flabellina trilineata)
  • Janolus Nudibrach (Janolus fuscus)
  • Red Nudibranch (Rostanga pulchra)
  • Rufus Tipped Nudibranch (Acanthodoris nanaimoensis)
  • *Barnacle-eating Nudibranch (Onchidoris bilamellata) - First spotting this season!
  • Mossy Chiton (Mopalia muscosa)
  • Hydroids
  • *Purple Sea Urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus) - Sea urchins are uncommon at Haystack Rock. This one likely washed in with the tide and was spotted by a young visitor. Keep an eye out throughout the season for more!
Fish
  • Kelp Greenling (Hexagrammos decagrammus) - Not commonly seen at Haystack Rock. This female hid amongst the algae in one of the larger tidepools. Look closely during your next visit to see what other interesting animals you can spot!

Photos from Haystack Rock:

Purple Sea Urchin spotted in the tidepools at Haystack Rock on April 1st - and it wasn't even an April Fools joke! (Photo by Lisa Habecker)


Can you spot the Kelp Greenling hiding amongst the algae in this photo from April 2nd? It took Alix Lee, HRAP Volunteer Coordinator, a good amount of staring before she decided there was more than just kelp there!

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