Wednesday, July 2, 2014

June 23rd to June 29th 2014

Daily Low Tides

Monday, June 23rd
2.3' @ 4:16 PM

Tuesday, June 24th
-0.5' @ 5:31 AM
2.5' @ 5:09 PM; ended early due to no exposure

Wednesday, June 25th
-0.7' @ 6:18 AM
2.6' @ 5:58 PM

Thursday, June 26th
-0.8' @ 7:01 AM
2.7' @ 6:44 PM

Friday, June 27th
-0.8' @ 7:40 AM
2.7' @ 7:28 PM; cancelled due to weather

Saturday, June 28th
-0.6' @ 8:17 AM
2.7' @ 8:09 PM; cancelled

Sunday, June 29th
-0.4' @ 8:51 AM

Notes from the Week

Tufted Puffins (Fratercula cirrhata)

There were a lot of sightings of Tufted Puffins during the week. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Volunteer Interpreter Jay Bukalski even reported seeing two Puffins delivering fish to their burrows - which means there are chicks in there!

The largest of America's puffins, the Tufted Puffin is the only one that nests on the Oregon coast. It is a pelagic seabird spending most of the year at sea far from land and returning to land in April to nest and raise their chicks. When they arrive to the coast, pairs of puffins excavate burrows on soil-covered cliffs or islands. The deep soil, grass covered portion of Haystack Rock makes it an ideal nesting spot for the puffins. The female will lay a single egg in the burrow then for 45 days both parents will incubate the egg. After the egg hatches, the parents stay busy feeding the chick. Their foods of choice include squid, fish, marine worms and shrimp, but when feeding their chicks they tend to focus on fish as the food of choice. The parents dive beneath the waves, propelling themselves with their wings up to depths of 200 feet.  The chick will spend between 38 and 60 days in the nest; the duration is dependent on the success of the parent's fishing! When the chick fledges, it will leap from its burrow into the water and is then on its own. It will return to open ocean, typically at least 60 miles off shore, to return in April to start the cycle again.

Tufted Puffins tend to stay in their burrows, making them hard to spot. However, when out of their burrows, their black body, large orange bill, orange feet, white face, and yellowish feather tufts on their head make them very distinctive. In the air, they flap their wings frantically, distinguishing them from the majority of other seabirds at Haystack Rock.


Tufted Puffin ... on the Rock!
Photo by Lisa Sheffield


Tufted Puffin ... on the Water!
Photo courtesy of Pelican Productions


This coming weekend, July 4th - July 6th,  is the Great Cannon Beach Puffin Watch. This seabird watching weekend is sponsored by Friends of Haystack Rock as part of a fireworks-free weekend in Cannon Beach.



The highest visitor count for the week was on the 23rd with 169 in the mid-afternoon.

Creature Highlights

Birds

  • Black Oystercatchers (Haematopus bachmani) - Oystercatchers at the rock were again mating.
  • Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) - The bald eagles continue to visit the rock to hunt.
  • Pigeon Guillemot (Cepphus columba)
  • Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus
  • Tufted Puffins (Fratercula cirrhata) - There were a lot of sightings of Tufted Puffins during the week. Jay Bukalski even reported seeing two Puffins delivering fish to their burrows.
Invertebrates
  • Giant Green Sea Anemone (Anthopleura xanthogrammica) - The anemone had a feather in it's 'mouth'. Anemones will attempt to digest anything that gets within range. The feather was covered with Pelagic Gooseneck Barnacles, which only live on debris floating in the ocean. So, before washing up in the intertidal, the feather had been adrift on the ocean for awhile. 
  • Pelagic Gooseneck Barnacle (Lepas anatifera) - The barnacles covered a feather that was in the grasp of a giant green sea anemone.
  • Dungeness Crab (Cancer magister)
  • Opalescent Nudibranch (Hermissenda crassicornis) - Several seen on the south side
  • Shaggy Mouse Nudibranch (Aeolid papillosa) - Seen on the north side
Mammals

  • Orca  (Orcinus orca) - At least two Orcas were seen in the waters around Haystack Rock, very near the shore. The Orcas were identified by the large dorsal fin above the waves. 

Photos From Haystack Rock



Giant green sea anemone with a barnacle encrusted feather; Photo by Alix Lee


Orcas in the waters just off Cannon Beach; Photo by visitor Pat Brown


Orca spouting just off Cannon Beach; Photo by visitor Pat Brown

References

Swanson, Sarah and Smith, Max. Must-See Birds of the Pacific Northwest. Portland, OR: Timber Press, Inc, 2013.

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