Oregon Coast Thanksgiving Wonders: Whales, Big Tides, Cheap Gas, Critters
Published 11/26/2015 at 10:45 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff
(Oregon Coast) – There will be many sights to be thankful for on the Oregon coast this Thanksgiving weekend. Your chances of seeing whales are good, plenty of sun is to be had (although it will be chilly), elk and other birds are out in full force and yet – paradoxically – there will be some enormous tides.
King tides are happening on Turkey Day and Friday along the Oregon coast. You may want to head out and take some pictures of that in those shining sun conditions, and you can help the King Tides Project collect info about how these beaches are changing.
Times differ from area to area, but on the central coast, Thursday will see a massive ten-foot tide about noon, and Friday sees almost ten feet around noon as well.
Conversely, a little after dark are some exceptionally low tides, at -1.5 feet or more around 6 p.m. and then 7 p.m. on Friday.
If you're looking to head out to the Oregon coast, AAA is noting some of the least expensive gas prices in years.
“Travelers will pay the cheapest gas prices for Thanksgiving since 2008, and the national average remains on track to drop below $2 a gallon by Christmas for the first time since 2009,” said AAA's Marie Dodds.
For the week, the national average for regular falls eight cents to $2.06 per gallon while Oregon’s average slips six cents to $2.35.
Some stations in the Portland area are seeing prices as low as $2.20 a gallon.
Plenty of wildlife will be out in this copious amount of sun. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) said November is a good month for viewing migrating shorebirds on north coast beaches, elk abound in this area and you're chances of seeing whales are quite good.
Great egrets have recently been seen in Tillamook area pastures along the Tillamook, Trask and Wilson Rivers, the agency said. Elk are not just in large numbers in the coast range, such as at Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area, but they are plentiful around Cannon Beach.
Shorebirds are heading south for winter, making this a good time to view large flocks along the coast. The National Wildlife Refuges near Pacific City, at Lincoln City and near Bandon will provide good viewing. Look for scoters and buffleheads, which winter along the Oregon coast.
All these calm conditions may also provide plenty of whale sightings.
ODFW said El Niño may be responsible for that unusual Blue whale incident near Gold Beach recently, which are rarely seen. They added lots of Humpbacks were seen back in September up the Columbia River as well.
Humpbacks and blue whales typically swim far off the coast of Oregon, but the warm water of El Niño may be depleting the whales’ offshore food supply. As a result, whales may come closer to shore looking for food, or they may grow weak and succumb to illness or predation.
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