Oregon Coast Right Now: Green Flash, Crazed Elk, Freaky Fish
(Oregon Coast) – Autumn is yielding plenty of amazing aspects and oddities on the Oregon coast, from storms to sunny skies, to an unusual fish that was found and plenty of elk to gawk at, among other delights.
Fall colors are exploding everywhere along the routes to the coast, if you’re looking for yet another reason to saunter off to the beaches. Highways like Highway 6 (between Portland and Tillamook), Highway 18 (between Salem and Lincoln City) and Highway 26 from Portland are abundant in fall foliage now.
It’s also hunting and fishing season, so you’ll have to share these awe inspiring sights with more than a few outdoorsmen and their guns or fishing poles.
Earlier this week, two volunteers for the CoastWatch program found more than one Ocean Sun Fish – a real rarity to see on Oregon beaches. One was found near Lost Creek (between Newport and Waldport), and two more were found near the mouth of the Yaquina Bay.
The technical name for an Ocean Sun Fish is Mola mola, and it’s mostly found in tropical and warmer waters than those off Oregon shores.
Tiffany Boothe, with the Seaside Aquarium, said you may get a chance to see them this time of year, however, even though they are definitely not common to this area.
“We don't see them on the beach that often,” Boothe said. “These are unique fish that feed on jellyfish and seem to spend most of their time basking in the sun, lazily floating along the ocean's surface.”
Elk cavorting near Cannon Beach
Elk have made some rather startling appearances lately on the north coast, although Keith Chandler, manager of the Seaside Aquarium, will tell you it’s not that unusual.
Last week, they were seen calmly grazing next to a path at Ecola State Park near Cannon Beach, completely undisturbed by the presence of humans. They didn’t seem to mind major traffic along Highway 101 either, and this was not a good thing. Some were so tame around traffic several vehicles nearly had collisions with elk just calmly wandering across the road, in places like Oswald State Park, near Manzanita.
“They’re around in these numbers throughout the year,” Chandler said. “It’s not unusual. After a run of heavy storms, where they hunker down, they’ll come out more in nicer weather. So it just seems like there’s a lot more than usual.”
In the more esoteric realms, Angi Wildt, of Depoe Bay Winery, said there was a “green flash” during that stunning sunset in Depoe Bay on Friday. BeachConnection.net cameras were trained on the same sunset in Lincoln City, but didn’t see the exalted phenomenon.
Wildt said the last remnants of the day’s orb simply turned a bit green briefly – nothing really spectacular. But it was indeed the green flash.
Wildt was watching from the seawall of Depoe Bay, which is a higher spot than the Nelscott district of Lincoln City, where BeachConnection.net staff were. Higher spots increase the chance you’ll see the green flash at sunset.
Near Depoe Bay, the Devil's Punchbowl at night: it becomes especially surreal after dark.
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