Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pelicans and Other Beach Creatures


This weekend, Pacific City was taken over by pelicans.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of the large birds were roosting on the beaches, on Haystack Rock, and in the Nestucca River.

While surveying dead birds, we found this unfortunate juvenile. It was probably killed and eaten by a predator.

Its belly was full of small anchovies, so it probably did not starve to death like many of the birds we find.

On another part of the beach, we found a dead shark. It was about one meter in length and very chubby. Its stomach was pulled out by scavengers who probably ate the contents. Any shark experts recognize the species?

After finishing our surveys, we explored the Salmon River Estuary south of Neskowin. I quickly learned why this is a revered part of the coast. As we watched three river otters frolic near the mouth, we heard a commotion upstream.

A bald eagle stirred up a huge flock of gulls that had been fishing alongside a pack of harbor seals while another bald eagle dined on a fish.

As we prepared to leave, a western gull, one of my favorite bird species, chattered on a nearby rock.

3 comments:

Monika said...

Glad to hear about the abundance of brown pelicans! Who do you do the dead bird surveys for? I'm curious about trends in seabird deaths....I know a few years ago we had dozens and dozens of murres wash up here in Washington, supposedly due to climate change and a "dead zone". I'd love to hear about what other data might be out there on that sort of thing, since a lot of our local seabirds aren't really doing that well.

Max said...

We conduct volunteer dead bird surveys for the University of Washington COASST program. You can find information on seabird deposition patterns at their website coasst.org.

Mimi said...

found your site through nature blog network. Your photos and posts are fantastic. I will definitely keep stopping in!