Friday, May 30, 2014

May 19th to May 25 2014

Daily Low Tides

Monday, May 19th
-0.5' @ 11:01 AM

Tuesday, May 20th
0.0' @ 11:56 AM

Wednesday, May 21st
0.4' @ 12:55P M

Thursday, May 22nd; shift extended due to exposure and visitors
0.9' @ 1:57 PM

Friday, May 23rd; shift ended early due to bad weather
1.2' @ 2:57 PM

Saturday, May 24th
1.5' @ 3:53 PM

Sunday, May 25th
1.7' @ 4:45 PM

Notes from the week

Black Oystercatchers took center stage this week; establishing a nest is the saddle and were observed sitting on their nest. Now that the nest is established one of the biggest tasks is to limit the disturbance to the nesting birds by the hundreds of people visiting the intertidal. A volunteer or two is being stationed in front of the saddle to limit interference with the oystercatchers. They are particularly vulnerable to human disturbance; even speaking too loudly can cause them to flush, leaving their nest and chicks vulnerable or causing them to abandon the nest site.

Check out this article on the American Bird Conservancy's website to learn more guidelines for protecting nesting birds.  It is important to be aware of birds in any place you visit, and watch for signs that you may be distressing or disturbing a nest. Education is the key to ensure healthy bird populations and to protect important habitat.

Black Oystercatchers on Nest; Photo from 2013 by Susan Glarum

Black Oystercatcher and Chick; Photo from 2013 by Susan Glarum 

Black Oystercatchers and Chick; Photo from 2013 by Susan Glarum 

Piddock clams (Family Pholadidae) were spotted spawning on the south side. The piddock clams are unique in that each side of their shells is divided into 2 or 3 separate sections; one of the piddock's shells has a set of ridges or "teeth" which they use to grind away at clay or soft rock and create tubular burrows. The shape of these burrows is due to the rotating motion of the piddock as it grinds the rock to make its home. The piddock stays in the burrow it digs for the entirety of its eight-year lifespan, with only its siphon exposed to take in water that it filters for food. When the piddock dies and leaves an empty tubular burrow, other marine life such as sea anemone, crabs and other molluscs may use the burrow. They are typically white in coloration though through consumption of red tide algae some may develop a pink coloration.

Clams are broadcast spawners; the pink piles  in the photos are the eggs and the water is cloudy with the sperm. The tidepools temperature were the spawning occurred was very warm; likely leading to the spawning.

Piddock Clams Spawning; Photo by Alix Lee

Piddock Clams Spawning; Photo by Alix Lee

There were visits from eight school groups this week bringing a total of 457 students to the intertidal. One group was high schoolers and the remaining groups were grade school students. Monday, with the highest school group number of 4, featured an Aquaria station.  School visits will be winding down in the next two weeks as the school year comes to a close.

The highest visitor count in the intertidal was 291 on Saturday, with three consecutive hourly counts over 200. Memorial Day on Monday also brought many visitors to the beach with a high count of 199 in the late morning.

Creature Highlights


  • Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) - Bald eagles again made multiple appearances this week. There were several successful hunts during the week taking murres and raiding pelagic cormorant nests for eggs.
  • Black Oystercatchers (Haematopus bachmani) - An Oystercatcher nest has been established in the saddle.
  • Common Murre (Uria aalge) - Spotted nesting on ledges by puffin burrows in the grass
  • Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis) - The pelicans were in close; seen at the needles and diving offshore. 
  • Pelagic Cormorant (Phalacrocovax pelagicus)
  • Piddock clams (Family Pholadidae)  - These boring clams were spawning on the south side. 
  • Sea Lemon (Anisodoris nobilis) - Usually growing to around 4 inches, the sea lemon is found in the low intertidal to depths of 750 feet. It is flat, bright yellow to orange. It has pointed rhinospores at the head region and a pair of frilly gills at the rear.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

May 12th - May 18th 2014

Daily Low Tides

Monday, May 12th
2.1' @ 5:39 PM

Tuesday, May 13th
-0.2' @ 6:33 AM

Wednesday, May 14th
-0.6' @ 7:15 AM

Thursday, May 15th
-0.9' @ 7:56 AM

Friday, May 16th
-1.1' @ 8:39 AM

Saturday, May 17th
-1.1' @ 9.24 AM

Sunday, May 18th
-0.9' @ 10:10 AM

Notes from the week

Monday was an evening low tide; the rest of the week featured great negative tides in the morning, with the lowest of -1.1' on both Friday and Saturday. The weather was great for most of the week, with lots of sun during the week and some overcast skies during the weekend.

It was an active week for bird watching, with lots of mating and nest building! The bald eagles were busy hunting ... successfully, with multiple appearances on multiple days. Guillemots and Gulls were mating and nest building!

A Bald Eagle snags it's prey! (Photo by Susan Glarum)

Pigeon Guillemots make an appearance (Photo by Susan Glarum)

Brown Pelicans - On the Rocks! (Photo by Lisa Habecker)

There were school group visits aplenty this week - both planned and unscheduled. There were 5 scheduled groups and 2 unscheduled groups, with 4 of the groups on the beach on Friday. The school groups on Thursday were treated to an Aquaria station for an up-close look at creatures from the intertidal! The groups ranged from 5th grade to college with a total group visitor count of 291 between Wednesday and Friday.

Aquaria Station (Photo by Susan Glarum)

The highest visitor count for the week was on Thursday with 168 visitors, followed closely by Friday with 154 visitors!

Creature Highlights


  • Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) - Bald eagles made multiple appearances this week. On Monday, a bald eagle sat on a cormorant nest of the north face and appeared to be eating an egg. Later in the week, A juvenile was spotted terrorizing a pelagic cormorant near the cave; the cormorant left and the eagle sat on the nest and adults were seen hunting for murre. On Saturday, bald eagles made 5 visits! On Sunday, the bald eagles were hunting again  with at least 6 incursions and may have taken a Tufted Puffin.
  • Turkey Vultures (Carthartes aura)
  • Black Oystercatchers (Haematopus bachmani) - Oystercatchers were spotted mating on Monday. An Oystercatcher appears to be making a nest in the saddle.
  • Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis)
  • Western Gull (Larus occidentalis) - Eight gulls fought over herring that was most likely fishing bait; in the end they dropped it on the beach! 
  • Pigeon Guillemots (Cepphus columba)
  • Red Rock Crab (Cancer productus) - An adult crab was spotted again this week. 
  • Shaggy Mouse Nudibranch (Aeolidia papillosa) - This nudibranch gets its common name due to its shape and its numerous flattened cerata that makes it look like a bedraggled mouse. It is sometimes called a shag rug nudibranch.
  • Opalescent Nudibranch (Hermissenda crassicornis) - This nudibranch can be found from Alaska to Mexico; It can be found in various habitats, including the intertidal zone of rocky shores, but also in bays and estuaries. 
  • Janolus Nudibranch (Janolus fuscus) - They are semi-translucent and the body is covered in short cerata. The color or the cerata varies according to species; in Janolus fuscus the cerata are orange and white tipped, whereas in Janolus barbarensis they are orange and blue tipped. 
  • Rufus Tipped Nudibranch (Acanthodoris nanaimoensis) - Growing only to a little over one inch, this species can be found in rocky areas from the low intertidal to water 33 feet deep. It feeds on bryozoans and colonial ascidians.
  • Genus Dendronotus Nudibranch - Resides in the North Pacific as far south as California.
  • Red Nudibranch (Rostanga pulchra) - The Rostanga can grow up to 30 mm in length and are found intertidally under boulders and in shallow water, commonly feeding on intertidal sponges. 
  • Trilineata Nudibranch (Flabellina trilineata) - This nudibranch has three longitudinal white lines on its body, as the name suggests. The cerata are red with white tips.

Nudibranch Photos from the Intertidal

Janolus Nudibranch (Photo by Jenee Pearce)

Janolus Nudibranch (Photo by Lisa Habecker)                                         

Red Nudibranch (Photo by Lisa Habecker)

Trilineata Nudibranch (Photo by Jenee Pearce)

Genus Dendronotus Nudibranch (Photo by Lisa Habecker)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

May 5th - May 11th 2014

Daily Low Tides

Monday, May 5th
0.9' @ 11:46 AM

Tuesday, May 6th
1.3' @ 12:38 PM

Wednesday, May 7th
1.6' @ 1:34 PM

Thursday, May 8th, cancelled due to bad weather
1.7' @ 2:31 PM

Friday, May 9th, heavy rain; Shift ended after 45 minutes
1.8' @ 3:24 PM

Saturday, May 10th
1.9' @ 4:12 PM

Sunday, May 11th
2.0' @ 4:57 PM

Notes From The Week

HRAP was on the beach on Saturday and Sunday for International Migratory Bird Day and Mother's Day. The sun was shining on the weekend, drawing lots of visitors to the beach to view the nesting seabirds at Haystack Rock on Mother's Day weekend. Visitors were treated to lots of hermit crabs feeding on barnacles in the intertidal! A visitor provided sand art for all the visiting (and nesting) mothers; Staff Interpreter Nadine Nordquist snapped the pic!

On Tuesday, an uncommon creature in the tidepools, a Red Rock crab, was spotted hiding amongst the sea lettuce by a visitor. As the tide came in the crab darted into more open water pools for a second photo opportunity. Red rock crabs are abundant along the Oregon coast and are an important recreational fishery, although adults are not often seen at Haystack Rock. Juveniles utilize the intertidal as an important nursery ground. Red Rock crabs are carnivores and use their strong, heavy claws to pry open the shells of barnacles and snails, but will also feed opportunistically on smaller crabs and dead fish. Although called Red Rock crabs, they can also be nearly white in coloration or even black and white stripped!

We had our highest visitor count on Saturday, with 126 people in the intertidal at one time during the shift. Sunday was a busy day too, with 122 people in the intertidal at one time during the shift.

Creature Highlights

  • Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) - Adults and juveniles were spotted hunting several days during the week, both an adult and juvenile were successful in their hunt taking murres as their prey.
  • Tufted Puffin (Fratercula cirrhata) - seen nesting in the grass on top of Haystack Rock. Wednesday featured a count of puffins - a total of 24 puffins were counted!
  • Western Gull (Larus occidentalis) - Lots of gulls at the Rock, one pair seen mating.
  • Red Rock Crab (Cancer productus) - An adult crab, unusual for Haystack Rock was spotted by a sharp-eyed visitor!

Monday, May 12, 2014

April 28th - May 4th 2014

Daily Low Tides

Monday, April 28th
-0.6 @ 6:49 AM

Tuesday, April 29th - Shift canceled due to truck being in the shop
-0.8 @ 7:34 AM

Wednesday, April 30th
-0.8 @ 8:17 AM

Thursday, May 1st
-0.7 @ 8:58 AM

Friday, May 2nd
-0.4 @ 9:38 AM

Saturday, May 3rd
0.0' @ 10:18 AM

Sunday, May 4th
0.4' @ 11:00 AM

Notes from the week

Good negative low tides in the early morning usually means lots of school groups scheduled to visit Haystack Rock, and this week was no exception. Staff and volunteers provided educational programs on tide pool ecology, biodiversity, adaptations, bird life, and much more for six groups throughout the week. Thankfully the weather on those days was sunny with little wind, but as the end of the week approached the clouds, rain and wind returned. We and our highest visitor count on Friday, with 56 people in the intertidal at one time during the shift

The Twelve Days of Earth Day celebration wrapped-up Monday evening with a closing ceremony featuring the documentary Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time. We're already looking forward to next years festivities!

Creature Highlights

  • Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) - Adults and a juvenile were spotted hunting the cliffs and area surrounding Haystack Rock this week, though we didn't see any birds taken as prey. *Exciting News* Two adults were seen mating on top of Haystack Rock!
  • Black Turnstone (Arenaria melanocephala) - seen throughout the week on the North side of the rock amongst the boulders.
  • Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata)
  • Western Gull (Larus occidentalis) - observed a pair mating.
  • Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani)
  • Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina) - seen in the water
     Marine mammals are seen occasionally in the water around Haystack Rock. They are not a common sight like at other off shore islands around the state because the Rock is not a good haul out area. This time of year you may observe seal pups on the beach, though. It is important to remember that this is normal behavior. The mother leaves the pup on the beach while she is foraging for food at sea. Seals are shy animals and may not return to their pups if there is a lot of human activity around the young animal. Please make sure to give pups lots of space and do not disturb them. If you're not sure if an animal is stranded or believe an animal is in danger, contact the Marine Mammal Stranding Network at (503) 728 - 6211 or the Oregon State Police.

April 21st - April 27th 2014

Daily Low Tides

Monday, April 21st
0.3' @ 12:15 PM

Tuesday, April 22nd
0.5' @ 1:23 PM

Wednesday, April 23rd - Shift canceled due to weather
0.7' @ 2:31 PM

Thursday, April 24th - Shift canceled due to truck battery dying
0.7' @ 3:33 PM

Friday, April 25th
0.8' @ 4:28 PM

Saturday, April 26th
0.9' @ 5:18 PM

Sunday, April 27th
-0.1 @ 6:02 AM

Notes from the week

It was another week of spring weather, with sun one day, clouds and wind the next, heavy rain throughout the week, and even a little hail storm to wrap things up. A school group visit kicked the week off for us, and we had out highest visitor count of 59 people in the intertidal at one time during Friday's shifts, luckily that was a sunny and nice day!

The 12 Days of Earth Day celebration in Cannon Beach continued throughout the week with lectures and events in town. HRAP was on the beach providing educational opportunities and interpretation for visitors and festival goers, except for the days when weather and equipment issues forced us to cancel shifts. On Saturday, HRAP staff participated in the festival walking parade and street fair in downtown Cannon Beach. We walked the streets of Cannon Beach dressed as birds and intertidal creatures, then interacted with visitors at the street fair playing a “Spin and Win” trivia game and providing information on sustainable seafood, HRAP, and Haystack Rock. 

Program Coordinator Samantha Ferber (Tufted Puffin), Volunteer Coordinator Alix Lee (Black Oystercatcher), and Staff Interpreter Nadine Nordquist (Red Rock Crab - holding a sea star sign) danced, flapped, and crab walked down the main drag of Cannon Beach in Saturday’s walking parade.

Volunteer Coordinator Alix Lee (left - that’s me if we haven’t met yet!) and Friends of Haystack Rock Chairwoman Stacey Benefield (right), man the HRAP booth at Saturday’s street fair.

Creature Highlights

  • Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) - still lots of eagle activity, especially with the large numbers of sea birds establishing nests on Haystack Rock. The Eagles are enjoying more opportunities to catch unaware prey
  • Common Murre (Uria aalge) - large numbers were observed flocking around the Rock and starting to settle!
  • Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata)
  • Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus)
  • Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani)
  • Pigeon Guillemot (Cepphus columba)
  • Tufted Puffin (Fratercula cirrhata)
  • Black Turnstone (Arenaria melanocephala) - First seen at the beginning of the week without a positive ID, but by the end of the week we spotted them again and were able to identify them.
Photo of an adult Black Turnstone in breeding plumage. Copyright Bryan Hix, 2013, photo from