Despite Record Snowfall A Successful Beach Survey

Tides and weather are the keys to whether we have can conduct a successful bird survey. Tides are predictable; the weather has been anything but this year.

beach survey

Any trip to the Washington coast is worth the time it takes to get out there. For Theresa and I that’s about a 3.5-hour drive one way. There’s a beauty here despite the weather, rain or shine. Completing a beach survey is the cherry on top.

But when the goal is to conduct a beach cast bird survey for COASST and that same weather prevents you from completing the mission then a bit of frustration does creep in. Especially when it’s back to back mission scrubs. 

First, we had to deal with the wind producing storm surges that were driving the waves into the log completely covering our beach. This last time we were threatened with failure with the record snowfall we were experiencing. 

Lucky for us we had enough of a thaw window that cleared the roads allowing us to get out to our staging ground in La Push.  Once on the trail, the amount of snow in the woods was surprising, but it wasn’t enough to stop us from reaching our beach.

And finally, we were able to complete and document a survey for this winter. 

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blowdown
Just some of the trees damage from this winters high winds and heavy snow falls.
giants graveyard
Looking for beach cast birds with the impressive Gaints Graveyard in the backgound.

trail cameras

Unrelated to the bird survey and more of a pet project of my own is I set out some trail camera’s to capture whatever predator is leaving scat on the trail. I suspect it’s a cougar (Puma concolor), possibly a bobcat (Lynx rufus) or maybe even a coyote (Canis latrans). I’m not an expert but it’s certainly a meat eater as I’m finding fur in the scat. 

We had placed two trail-cameras on the path and were able to recover them. Earlier deployments fo the trail camera had resulted in Roosevelt Elk and deer photographed. 

I’ll try repositioning them to a better location next month and with any luck will capture our predator. I sure he’s still out there as I found scat fresh enough this time that I could actually smell it.

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More to explore

Science

First Beach Cast Bird Found

I really don’t want to think about the number of miles or the total elevation lost and gained that were traveled to find our first bird but it finally paid off with the discovery of our first bird (and second) to document for the volunteer COASST program.

Read More »

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