Date: April 9, 2012
Tonight’s Location: Bullard’s Beach State Park, Bandon, Oregon
Temperature: start 50º
Wildlife count: Double-crested Cormorants, Turkey Vulture, Canada Geese, Spotted Towhee, Robins, Crows, Pileated Woodpecker
Today was a rainy day, but a day of lots of learning. It began with our first volunteer breakfast at the Minute Café, where we met our fellow Plover hosts, Gary and Mary Kay; and Bill and Pat, campground hosts.
There were just a few moments of sunlight, enough for me to get a beach photo at China Creek Beach, where we are Plover Hosts. In looking at today’s pictures, there are 3 photos taken from the same place, two on July 31, 2011, and then other today. The beach is vastly different, showing what happens here on the Oregon Coast. During the winter, the winds blow from the south. These winds scour the beach of sand, particularly during storms, uncovering huge logs, and depositing many more trees that have made their way down the many rivers or have fallen down undercut bluffs along the coast. Winter is the rainy season along the Oregon Coast, and torrents fell in March – some 18+ inches. So the rivers and creeks are swollen. With that background, check out the April 9, 2012 photo – there is very little beach and a deep and wide creek, which is continually cutting and carrying sand out to sea.
The other two photos were taken on July 31, 2011. In the summer, the winds blow from the north – much more steady winds, which bring back LOTS of sand. There is almost no rain all summer, just fog and some mist. There is a very wide beach and almost no creek. In the later shot, the slanting rays of an evening sun show the large dunes that have formed perpendicular to the ocean because of the constant wind.
We knew there would be changes when we arrived this week, but we were surprised at how drastic the change, which show the forces at work. Sand is such an easily moved substance by wind and rain, but by the width of the beach, it is easy to see that in just this small area, literally hundreds of tons of sand have been shifted.
We had to run home for a moment at noon to check on an appointment, and when we returned, we looked out at the sea and saw what appeared to be a whale, rising and falling with the waves. (Wave troughs today are about 6’.) Upon closer examination, we found it to be a huge raft of birds – Canada Geese. Instead of flying north, they were resting on the ocean, allowing the current to move them. We watched for quite a long time.
We got home in time for the Dish Satellite tech to be able to set up our dish between the trees, which we had been unable to do. We then walked all 3 loops of the park, came home and prepared a left-over pork/noodle skillet supper. While preparing dinner, some great folks from our Coos Bay church, who are camping in the park, came to visit. It was great to see them. We relaxed the rest of the evening.