Storms Make for Fun and Freakish Finds on Oregon Coast
(Oregon Coast) – With all the recent storms and gargantuan wave action of November, lots of interesting tidbits have been discovered along Oregon's coastline. Those storms created some major displays of wild foam that went rampant along the beaches. After each storm session, new goodies were popping everywhere along the coast.
Some of those finds included rarely seen live turtles on these shores that were found in Gearhart and Newport, and which are now being rehabilitated at Oregon Coast Aquarium.
In Seaside, the first big storm of November resulted in some engaging interaction between the Seaside Aquarium and a visiting family.
The aquarium’s Tiffany Boothe said the large surf along the coast has distributed a hefty amount of marine grasses and kelp along the beach. Entangled among the grass and the holdfasts (a root-like structure that attaches kelp to hard surfaces) are decorator crabs, cancer crabs, juvenile red rock crabs, porcelain crabs, and small hermit crabs.
Staff from the Seaside Aquarium took advantage of this unique opportunity to collect some of these crabs, especially as some calm, lovely weather kicked in after the storms.
“The decorator crabs excited us the most, they are often very difficult to find in the wild. As you can see from the photograph they blend in with there surroundings. In fact, they glue pieces of plants, shells, and even anemones to their shells in order to blend in more.”
When the crabs are removed from one tide pool and put into another one, they will take everything off of their shell and start decorating their shell with stuff from the new tide pool.
“We were able to collect quite a few crabs and there were still plenty for the gulls," Boothe said.
"They were so exited to help," Boothe said. "Most visitors to the Oregon coast would never see these types of crabs, especially on an open sandy beach. We gave them a family pass to the Seaside Aquarium so that they could come in the next day and see the crabs they helped collect on display."
The finds have continued around the coast. CoastWatch official Phillip Johnson reports having found a toy soldier in the sand at Beverly Beach in Newport.
CoastWatch agents are many along the Oregon coast, and they regularly post reports on the organization's website. Throughout the fall, they’ve been noting lots of dead birds because of the deadly foam that happened in September and October, but that seems to have dissipated now. While the reports of dead birds went down substantially as November wore on, they picked up again after all those storms.
They've made many reports about interesting stuff found in the sand.
In Arch Cape, a CoastWatch scout reported seeing perhaps as much as five feet of sand loss at that beach, as well as just south of there. They also said there was more erosion of bluffs near that north coast beach.
Near Cape Lookout State Park, a decomposing sea lion was found near the forest line. The CoastWatch scout said it looked like the creature had come to rest there on its own power but died where it stopped.
On November 30, CoastWatch reports seeing bundles of dead wildlife in the Pacific City area, on the Nestucca spit. “There was a layer of sand over the parking lot on the lee side of the foredune; we have never seen that before in our many years visiting this beach,” said the agent for CoastWatch.
The Nehalem Bay and its sandy areas has seen tons of new logs, as well as lots of kelp, beachgrass and other beach sundries lying around. One report says many small logs that have been in the water awhile have been found, some with barnacles. Unusual finds included several dead fish.
“We picked up small pieces of plastic and pieces of rope,” CoastWatch said. “Five water bottles, bottle caps, Bic lighter, balloon scraps, small pieces of Styrofoam and candy bar wrappers – perhaps from Halloween.”
Near Waldport, around Beachside State Park, lots of logs populated the beaches, although not many critters like shellfish, crabs or jellyfish. A large seal was found there, partially buried in the sand and decaying. CoastWatch reports a little bit of erosion.
Near Seal Rock, the organization reports the soft cliffs of those beaches have been eroded a little by wind and surf. Initials that were carved there last summer are mostly gone.
Around Lincoln City, Coastwatch scouts spotted two male sea lions recently. They were mobile, but the fact they weren’t really interacting suggested they might be ill.In the Road’s End neighborhood of Lincoln City, some CoastWatch scouts were residents that reported on the tornado that hit in early November. In other storm-related finds, there were some small landslides on the hills of that area in the middle of November.
More About Oregon Coast.....