Friday, August 25, 2017

August 21st-ECLIPSE DAY!!!

So it officially has come and gone. The eclipse that was to pass through Oregon on the morning of August 21st passed through and people are now making travel plans for the next one in eight years. It was a very special morning at The Rock. I woke up early and was excited to see clear blue skies and the sun shining bright. As the staff got onto the beach it was a normal morning, with the same routine, same signs, and the animals were all acting completely normal; except this morning was special. Cindy-one of our wonderful environmental interpreters- was on the beach giving a huge demonstration about the eclipse and how it affects the tides and the birds. She was awesome! Visitors and other staff all enjoyed her presentation. There was two visitors that listened to her little presentation probably five times. They couldn't get enough, it was awesome!
As we reached the peak of the eclipse, it was magical! The small amount of people on the beach were all standing with their backs to the ocean looking up into the sky, no one's focus was on the Rock. Everyone was focused on the same thing, and was astonished by what they were seeing! Then very quickly the fog rolled in, it got really really cold, and then it got just a little bit darker. Dark enough where on of our interpreters thought she was going to be able to see a Rhinoceros Auklet-a type of nocturnal bird that nests at the Rock. Finally, as quickly as it began, it ended! The sun came back out in full force, it warmed back up, and the fog rolled back out to sea! Even though, we only had around 98% totality in Cannon Beach, the eclipse was still a completely magically event!!! Thanks to all who came out to watch it with us!!!!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Where are the eagles?

Lately, a lot of visitors have been asking about the eagles. More specifically why we haven't been seeing them around the Rock causing chaos lately. The answer to that question is...PEREGRINE FALCONS!!! The last three weeks almost everyday there has been a falcon sighting. It is typically relatively calm, maybe just some extra noise from the nesting birds. Peregrine falcons are significantly smaller than eagles, but are still considered a prey bird. They look really similar to juvenile gulls when in flight, so to identify it is important to look for the more prey-like wing beat.To me the coolest part of a falcon is that when they power dive, they can reach speeds up to 200 miles per hour. Isn't that completely crazy?!?!?!? Keep your eyes out for one next time you are at the Rock! 

*I will post picture of falcons later, but this morning I couldn't find one I loved*

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Sunshine, Warmth, and Lots of Visitors!

When most people think about the Oregon Coast, they think about the Pacific Ocean, overcast, and rain. Typically, that is normal but last week was different. Every morning we woke up to sun shining in through the windows and our staff could not wait to get to the beach each day. There is a trend that occurs in Oregon when there is a heat wave-people who live inland, where last week the temperature was in the triple digits, take a day trip to the coast to escape the heat. For the Portlanders, Cannon Beach is any easy jog over Highway 26. This means that it was a busy week at the Rock and our staff got to talk to and educate tons of visitors! Good thing that is our favorite thing to do!!!

On August 2, 2017, the temperature recorded at Haystack Rock was 93 degrees fahrenheit. THAT IS ASTONISHING! I almost do not even believe it. This spurred my curiosity and I looked into the highest recorded temperature ever at Haystack Rock. It was July of 1961 recorded at 105 degrees fahrenheit. That is mind blowing because its so far from normal.

Here is a few pictures from last week:

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Sand Bars are AMAZING!

OMG! OMG! OMG! All my dreams have come true! The stars have all aligned! We got to go to the BACK SIDE of the Rock three mornings in a row!!! It is was absolutely amazing! There was a -1.7 and -1.9 tide, a sand bar connecting the first needle and the Rock, plus the surf was small! There was creatures to discover everywhere you turned!
Lets just make a list off the things:

  • SOO many Sea Stars, including Ocre, Six-rayed, and Red Brittle
  • SOOO many Chitons (Leatherback, Mossy, and Lined)
  • Skeleton Shrimp
  • Lemon, Opalescent, Janolus, Rustanga, Frosted  Nudibranchs
  • Olive Snails and their maze of paths
  • Sea Urchins
  • Decorator, Red Rock Crabs
  • Sea Anenomes
  • Muscles
  • Barnacles
I definitely missed some of the things people found, it was impossible to see everything, but something so special. There was two moments that stood out to me. The first one was all of sudden I turned around and realized I was not surrounded by tourists. All of the people who got up early to come out were locals, who love the ocean and understood how special it was to be on the backside of the Rock. The second was a different day when one of our interpreters-Kari- was standing at the base of the first needle looking at the Common Murre colony looking for chicks, when an adult Common Murre dive bombed her. It was really close to colliding straight into her. It was terrifying and hilarious at the same time. All of us had so much fun exploring and nerding out back there!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Manzanita Music Festival

This weekend was the second annual Manzanita Music Festival in downtown Manzanita! Two HRAP staff members-Alanna and Jesse- went down and represented the program with a booth. Alanna is not on staff this year but she has been for the last five years and is now off studying the ocean at Oregon State University but she came home to volunteer her time at the festival for the program. It was an AWESOME weekend with great music and fun people. Alanna and Jesse made more fun puffin puppets and colored lots of pictures with kiddos and even some adults who took the puffin to the next level with extra details and teeth(do puffins even have big white square teeth?). They both had so much fun representing the program off the beach! Thank you Manzanita Music Festival for allowing us to be part of your awesome event. We can not wait for next year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


Guess what? Guess what? THE BLACK OYSTERCATCHERS HAVE BABIES!!!! THREE OF THEM!!!!!! AND THEY SURVIVED THEIR FIRST WEEK OF LIFE!!!!     We are REALLY excited about the little fellas. It has been a week and a half of a lot of excitement and a little added stress. We are working hard to ensure that the parents are happy and that the babies are protected. Please help us do that by understanding why there might be more area closed off than normal. Black Oystercatchers are extremely special birds and we are lucky to have a pair that nests at the Rock.

Ready for the quick and dirty story of Black Oystercatchers: They are shore birds who are considered a species of concern because their population is so low. It is estimated that there is only 400 on the entire coastline of Oregon, approximately one for every mile. They are territorial and will loudly chase off any other Oystercatcher that comes to close. At the Rock, there has been a pair nesting for a while. Unfortunately, it has been three years since they were successful in their nesting, even though they have tried relentlessly.

This year that changed, there was a successful nest. We suspect that the reason for the somewhat sudden change was that there is a new pair of Black Oystercatchers nesting at the Rock and that one of them is the off-spring from a few years ago. And that the old pair has simply moved over to the Needles as happy “grandparents”.

Never the less, there is babies running around the Rock!!! 

© 2017 Diana Robinson.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Photos: A Happy Update from Us to You!

❤ Here is an update of our magical moments from Haystack Rock! ❤

One of our favorite visitors, Barbara Hauser, wearing the latest fashion in Puffin! Puffins line down alongside the center of her coat's zipper. Don't we all wish we had one of these? 🙋🙌

This is what our inter tidal area of Haystack Rock's Marine Preserve looks like once the tide starts coming up quick! Be aware and don't forget, the ocean comes up really quick (after hitting low tide)!💧💦

A beautiful, healthy sea star enjoying some underwater sun!😁

The sunset frames Haystack Rock in pink from sea to sky! 💗

All Photos by: Brianna Ortega

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Discover Haystack Rock - Puffin Puppets

Saturday was a busy day at the Rock. There were three events going on simultaneously—a guided tide pool tour, the Great Puffin Watch, and a Discover Haystack Rock event about puffins. All three went totally perfectly. Discover Haystack Rock is an event/activity that we put on once a month throughout the summer. This month we made paper puffin puppets out of brown paper bags, paper, glue, and super fun googley eyes. The children, parents, and even grandparents loved every second of it. The wind served to be a little bit of an issue, but luckily no puffin puppets went flying away. All the kiddos walked away with a fun new Tufted Puffin puppet and a ton of new knowledge about the wonderful puffins living at Haystack Rock. It was absolutely FABULOUS!

 Yay puffins! 
A grandpa really wanted to make one for his grandson.

One Visitor took the puppet to the next level by adding eyebrows and a beautiful rainbow. 

"Quick everyone hold up their stunning puffins!"

Even our HRAP staff Kari and Jesse got involved in the fun!

Thank you to all the visitors that came out to Discover Haystack Rock with us today and there will be another chance to Discover Haystack Rock in August! 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Happy Thursday - Some More Photos from Haystack Rock!

A beautiful evening from the center of our sand area... We are so lucky to exist here!

Last month, Lisa counted the Sea Stars during our Sea Star Survey

Lisa working hard like always... 

Haystack Rock illuminated in the morning light!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Spring, Sprang!

Spring has sprung at Haystack Rock and with it volunteer and staff Environmental Interpreters are finding loads of eggs and tiny juvenile recruits of different types. There have also been very interesting sightings of more precarious types that come with warmer weather; read our HRAP "nature notes" to learn more....

Tidepool Sculpin, Oligocottus maculosus, eggs

 Bright yellow Tidepool Sculpin, Oligocottus maculosus, eggs can be found among the barnacles and mussels, often above the tide pools during low tide. Sculpin can vary in color from red-brown to green  and can grow up to 9cm long.

Acorn Barnacle, Balanus glandula, recruits

 Tiny, juvenile Acorn Barnacle recruits dot the intertidal like adorable polka dots. These animals have small, white volcano-like shells and are very common in the tide pools at Haystack Rock and elsewhere along the Oregon coast.

Barnacle Nudibranchs, Onchidoris bilamellata, and eggs

Highly camouflaged Barnacle Nudibranchs can be seen amongst their eggs (the white, ribbon like blobs) as well as barnacles, anemones and snails. You can, again, see many barnacle recruits in this picture.

Ochre Sea Star, Pisaster ochraceus

Ochre Sea Star, Pisaster ochraceus

Juvenile sea stars can be seen around the intertidal as of late. While sea star populations continue to be low due to the shock of the devastating sea star wasting event which began in 2013 and resulted in over 90% species loss (at Haystack Rock), we are hopeful that some of these juveniles are building up immunities to the virus and are adapting to their ever changing environment. This particular species of sea star, which is most common at Haystack Rock can grow up to 25cm and is generally purple or orange.

Lead Environmental Interpreter, Kari, rescuing a Common Murre, Uria aalge

The picture above is a common site once nesting season begins at the rock (March - September) -- staff and volunteers often rescue injured or malnourished sea birds that are found on the beach. If you ever happen across a sea bird on the beach, it is most likely injured or needing some type of assistance; notify your local Police Department (non-emergency number) or Wildlife Center and they will generally respond promptly.

Other random fun notes from our "nature notes" (scribed from our daily beach log) this past week that are just too good to leave out:

March 21st: "2 sea stars in garden, large pyrosome's, nudibranch ribbon eggs, eagle came and failed, very windy, osprey flyby at start of shift"

March 24th: "Kite boarder south of needles catching air off waves. Super windy and sideways rain. Left beach early due to nasty conditions and lack of visitors. No common Murres"

March 25th: "Peregrine at top of rock, Western Gull caught crab, baby stars in high intertidal, tried rope along north and it seemed to help, heard Black Oystercatchers down at needles, huge north swells, Canadians and Portlandians visitors"

March 26th: "No murres.  One female homo sapiens, skinny dipping north of ''Rock". Murres showed up at 4:00, about 200. Opalescent Nudibranchs in South pools and opalescent swimming upside down, shaggy mouse, ribbon eggs, babies on back wall. Went over to needles to pull guy off rock and there are SEASTARS EVERYWHERE!!"

Have a murre-velous day!
--Tuff the Tufted Puffin

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Nudis, Hail, and Decoy Ducks

What's new at the Rock these past few weeks? Glad you asked! Not only has the weather been completely and utterly unpredictable, but unique animals and marine debris have been making appearances.

On March 1st, Environmental Interpreters, Gina and Kari, spotted opalescent and barnacle nudibranchs which can be seen in the pictures below.

A Barnacle Nudibranch, Onchidoris Bilamellata, hiding in the center/left of the picture above, is among barnacles and anemones and has most likely just laid the egg mass seen in the upper left portion of the image.

The beautiful Opalescent Nudibranch, Hermissenda Crassicornis, pictured above, was seen on March 8th as it relaxed in a tide pool, soaking in the calm morning low tide.

Interpreters, throughout the past two weeks, saw HIGHLY variable weather patterns, causing high wind, surf, and surge warnings. In the image below, check out the hail covering the beach at Haystack Rock (and awesome staff and visitors still out tide pooling in the crazy weather!).

The blustery and rough weather brought in more pyrosomes, Pyrosoma Atlanticum, as well as a decoy duck covered in barnacles, found by interpreters Kari, Alan and Gina on March 4th. Fun note: don't bring in marine debris and leave them in the staff office unless you like being unpopular amongst your coworkers. ;)

Many of our beach shifts have been cancelled the past two weeks because of stormy weather, but it seems as if Spring may soon be gracing us with some calmer weather. We'll keep our webbed feet crossed!

-- Puff, the Tufted Puffin