Fieldwork for COASST Bird Surveys Resumes

With a bit of creative problem solving we’ve gotten back out in the field to conduct our COASST fieldwork.

COVID-19's Impact on our COASST Fieldwork

In a way, it’s hard to believe that we’re still having to deal with COVID-19. I remember the day when our governor (Washington State) announced a list of business closures. It just so happens we got the news while driving home after one of our COASST bird surveys. Our monthly fieldwork we do for the COASST program is something we look forward to. 

At the time if felt as if this would be something we had to endure for a couple of weeks. Little did I realize that months would go by with our National Parks closed. And even though the park in which we conduct our survey is open the campground where we set up base camp is not.

However, with a bit of creative problem solving we’ve gotten back out in the field to conduct our surveys. I really wasn’t sure what to expect when we headed out on the trail which eventually deposits us on our beach. Nature is blissfully unaware of our human plight, but we have seen big changes in our section of the beach due to storms and such.

Things were pretty much as we had left them. The vista was as awe-inspiring as ever and we found our landmarks without issue. One of the things we monitor ever survey is the presence of people. How many we see, etc. There certainly was an uptick in the number we crossed during our survey, but while maintaining social distancing, it was actually nice to engage in a bit of conversation with others!

Support

Our mission is a labor of love, but it does come with overhead. If you’d like to support our efforts we’d certainly appreciate it. Currently, we’re actively participating in the following field research:

  • COASST Beached Bird Surveys
  • Wild and Scenic River Project

Thank you.

Maybe Not

As I sit here and think about that last sentence I realize it’s probably incorrect. I think Nature is very much aware of our plight. It seems seas are less noise and marine life is doing noticeably better in many areas. Air quality is much better in many urban areas. The list goes on.

For the naysayers who doubt the impact of humans on our planet perhaps they’ll rethink their position. But maybe not.

With a bit of creative problem solving we’ve gotten back out in the field to conduct our COASST fieldwork.

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And please, feel free to join in the conversation. We’d love to hear what you’re up to as well. 

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Fort Flagler is a historic fort that was built at the turn of the last century. Despite being built for military purposes, it never fired a shot in anger. By the time the fort was completed, it was already obsolete, and its guns were shipped to the East Coast to take part in World War I.⁠ Media Description: Fort Flagler ...

I woke up to a spectacular clouds show this morning. It was ever-changing and dramatic. I think it was due to a front moving in and then hitting the Olympics. ...

Boarding the MV Coho bright and early for a journey to Victoria, British Columbia. ...

Did you notice the breathtaking sunrise this morning? It was a refreshing change to see it without any rain. ...

Camping at Fort Worden this weekend. Nice to have the temperatures moderate and get outdoors. Even had a spot of sun as we passed the lighthouse on our walk. ...

It's sunny, but man, it's frigid out there! ...

We are enjoying the tranquility of a waterfall deep in the Olympic National Forest. ...

Taking a break on the trail to Goat Rock's summit for coffee. The trail leads from the park under the iconic Deception Pass Bridge. ...

Near the Tieton River bank, we found a blooming Brittle Prickly Pear (Opuntia fragilis). Visit our website for more details and photos from this trip. ⁠ Media Description: Brittle Prickly Pear ...

Hey, we're going camping this weekend at Fort Flagler State Park. Looks like there's a wild front coming through and the winds are really starting to howl. The good news is that we pretty much have the whole campground to ourselves. ...

Yellow Salsify reminded us of our childhood, and yes, we spent considerable time blowing the seeds into the breeze.⁠ Media Description: Yellow Salsify. You can find more photos and read about this adventure with the link in the bio. ...

This set of pillars made from columnar basalt at the terminus of Frenchman Coulee is popular among rock climbers.⁠ Read more about this in the link in bio. ...

We started our hike to the Frenchman Coulee Waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge early in the morning to beat the heat. However, when we reached the bottom of the waterfall, it was already scorching hot. Follow the link in the bio to read more. ...

Point Wilson Lighthouse at night. This is a hand held shot with the new iPhone. Hard to believe where tech has taken us. ...

Large waves from the evening storm crashed against the rocks at the base of Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. ...

Finding a new location for our fieldwork base

Perhaps the biggest impact on our conducting surveys, besides the park suspending our collection permits, was that closure of the Quileute Oceanside Resort where we made our basecamp. Not only was it a great place to camp but it was also very close to the trailhead leading out to Toleak Beach. As I write this they’re still closed. Point-in-fact, the entire reservation is closed to the public.

Hipcamp to the rescue. If you’re not familiar with Hipcamp, it’s very much like Airbnb; people with land allowing members to camp on that land. It like our Washington State Parks, some are full of amenities, while others are just bare bones. It pays to do your research.

The issue we had been facing was that in the past there weren’t really any options out in the Forks, La Push area. However, that’s no longer the case and I’ve found a couple not far from Forks. We booked a stay at a local site and found it to be very conducive to our needs. (note: as of this article, I’m no longer seeing that site listed. If she comes back online I’ll amend the article with a link.)

Now we just need to see what fall and it’s effect on the COVID-19 virus has in store for us.

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