February at the Rock!

It's the start of another great year, Haystack Rock Awareness Program's 30th, at the Rock and what a start it has been!  Staff and volunteer interpreters began manning the beach on 'lucky' Friday the 13th and have just finished three great weekends of support with hardly a raindrop encountered - a real rarity for February on the north Oregon Coast!

February 15th at Haystack Rock
Photo by Sarkawt Amir Sabir, a visitor from Kurdistan

Visitors to Cannon Beach in February took the opportunity to visit the rock during our string of sunny days and mild temperatures. The number of visitors topped 100 per hour on several days and over 2000 visitors on our opening, four-day weekend.

 Visitors loving the Rock and it's Creatures on Valentine's Day 

The inhabitants of our Rock, birds, fish, and invertebrates alike, did not disappoint the visitors. There were birds circling, sculpins in the tidepools, and the invertebrates were out in force. We spotted six species of nudibranchs and three chiton species. There were crabs, clams, and sea snails in abundance as well as orange hydroids and green anemones. Check out the Creature Highlights section below to see a species list of the life already spotted at Haystack Rock this season.

An Opalescent Nudibranch and several Anemones
share space in an exposed tidepool

Of special note - nearly 150 ochre sea stars are 'hanging on' at the Needles, just south of Haystack Rock. The entire West Coast experienced a massive die-off of sea stars last year so we are excited to see so many making themselves at home on the Needles!

Purple and Orange Sea Stars clinging to the barnacles!

Interpreters will be on the beach for daytime low-tides the next two weekends after which you'll find them on the beach every day for a daily low tide and even occasionally for both low tides. You can easily identify the interpretors by their red jackets or T-shirts. They love to share their knowledge with visitors so don't hesitate to seek them out, say 'Hi', and ask away!

We look forward to seeing you on the beach!

Interpreters are Always Happy to Share Their Knowledge 
of the Intertidal and its Inhabitants!

Creature Highlights

  • Western Gull (Larus occidentalis)
  • Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus)
  • Peregrine Falcon (Falco Peregrinus)
  • Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
  • Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata)
  • Common Murre (Uria aalge)
  • Opalescent Nudibranch (Hermissenda crassicornis
  • Shaggy Mouse Nudibranch (Aeolidia papillosa
  • Red Nudibranch (Rostanga pulchra
  • Rufus Tipped Nudibranch (Acanthodoris nanaimoensis
  • Three-Lined Nudibranch (Flabellina Trilineata
  • Sea Lemon Nudibranch (Anisodoris nobilis
  • Mossy Chiton (Mopalia muscosa
  • Hairy Chiton (Mopalia ciliata
  • Leather (also called Black or Katy) Chiton (Katharina tunicata
  • Ochre Sea Star (Pisaster ochraceus
  • Orange Hydroid (Garveia annulata)  
  • Strawberry Anemone (Corynactis californica
  • Dungeness Crab (Cancer magister
  • Pacific Razor Clam (Siliqua patula
  • Purple Shore Crab (Hemigrapsus nudus
  • Olive Snail (Olivella biplicata
  • Frilled Dogwinkle Snail (Nucella lamellosa
  • Striped Dogwinkle Snail (Nucella emarginata
  • Black Turban Snail (Tegula funebralis
  • Stalked Tunicate (Styela montereyensis)
  • Tidepool Sculpin (Oligocottus maculosus)
  • Mosshead Sculpin (Clinocottus globiceps)


  1. Corrections:
    1. Shaggy Mouse Nudibranch (Aeolid papillosa) - Aeolidia, not Aeolid -- also we have 2 species of this genus in Oregon and either are actually A. papillosa (according to molecular work)
    2. Ochre Sea Star (Aeolid papillosa) - NO - Pisaster ochraceus
    3. Olive Snail (Olivella biplicata) - OUTDATED NAME - Callinax plicata
    4. Striped Dogwinkle Snail (Nucella emarginata) - NO - this species' northern range is central Calif.; our species is N. ostrina
    5. Black Turban Snail (Tegula funebralis) - OUTDATED NAME - Chlorostoma funebralis
    Please refer to Light and Smith (2007) for currently recognized names.


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