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.