When You Find More Mammals Then Birds

Sitting around the campfire afterward, uploading our data, I’m always grateful to have the opportunity to be part of such a worthy project.

More Mammals

We’re quickly coming up on our three-year anniversary with COASST. Has it really been three years? After I completed my training and was pondering the map of Washingtons’ coastline, I wanted to use the survey as a means to get out to the most remote and infrequently visited survey beach. In that, I’ve been wildly successful. But we’ve found far more mammals in our survey than beach-casted birds. In fact, we’ve documented nearly a dozen marine mammals on our assigned beach.

A Glaucous-Winged Gull (Larus glaucescens) is our bird #302. Photo Credit: Steve Weileman

How Many Birds

Oh geez…when I think of the hundreds of miles and thousands of elevation climbed, versus the number of birds found I have to chuckle or perhaps cry. For all the effort put in our surveys, we’ve found a whopping two birds.

Yea. I’m told that even empty surveys are just as important as one where birds are found; it helps establish the baseline and pattern of mortality near our section of beach. I get it, but I’d still rather do a bit more science.

Still, the Outer Coast of Washington is like a drug, once your start it’s hard to start. I don’t find birds on every survey…and every survey isn’t always fun, some are downright miserable, especially when it’s baring above freezing with wind and rain making sure we’re soaked.

But I can say that it’s always an adventure, there’s always something new and awe-inspiring when we’re out there. Sitting around the campfire afterward, uploading our data, I’m always grateful to have the opportunity to be part of such a worthy project.

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.

advertisement

twitter feed

Follow the team’s latest news and social feeds here. You’ll also find links to articles on the latest developments regarding citizen-science and the conservation of our oceans. 

We also use this feed for updates from the field as we pursue our own science and the occasional short video clip.

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

[custom-twitter-feeds]

Sitting around the campfire afterward, uploading our data, I’m always grateful to have the opportunity to be part of such a worthy project.

Member of the following

We are the learned society for geography and geographers.
as-seal-gr
Working to provide opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to make a difference as they play in the outdoors.
coasst-logo
Working to translate long-term monitoring into effective marine conservation solutions.
Sea Grant Washington
Provide integrated research, communication, and education to coastal communities that lead to the responsible use of the nation’s oceans.

Latest Instagram

You never know what a simple hike through the woods will yield. Found this small dam in the hills behind our camp on Hood Canal. I'm guessing that at one time it was used by a hometead to hold water during the summer months.⁠ ...

Some of the lush green and waterfalls to be found on the Olympic Peninsula. ...

South shore of Dusty Lake just north of Vantage, Washington. We recently spent a night hoping for a shot of the Milky Way. That didn't happen as hoped, but we had quite the adventure nonetheless. ...

Just published our latest adventure - "A Visit to North Cove" - You can find the link in my bio up top. https://buff.ly/3KFAQB8 ...

Tongue Point on the Strait of Juan de Fuco. This was a negative tide and I’ve never seen so much of the reef exposed. ...

Never seen the tide so low here at Crescent Bay. Getting ready for this weekends #COASST bird survey. ...

⁠ Theresa doing her best to imidate the North head Lighthouse.⁠ ...

Here's an elevated view of the massive geologic formation on the south side of our Dusty Lakes camp. ...

Took us a bit to get into Dusty Lake and a one point we were being chase by a thunderstorm, but the views and scenery made up for the hardships. ...

A rare clear evening out on Washington's coast. The Olympic National Park has miles of coastline to enjoy. ...

Sunset over the Ginkgo Petrified Forest Interpretive Center. Watch this site as we'll be heading back next week for an extended stay to explore the Ancient Lakes area. ⁠ #northcentralwashington #ncw #centralwa #columbiagorgeinspiration ...

Squalls approaching Portage Head. Jason and I found ourselves hunkered down in a tent waiting for a bit of clearing in the morning before heading down the coast in our kayaks. ...

The old BNSF railroad maintenance shed. It's been torn down to make room for a golf course, but when it was standing, you could still find parts for the trains in labeled bins.⁠ ...

Sunset over the hills of the Columbia River Gorge near Vantage. We'll be heading back there next week...stay tuned. ...

Sunset over the old gravel dock near Steilacoom. This area abounds with a rich tapestry of history. ...

COASST

Since its beginnings in 2000, COASST has steadily expanded from a nucleus of 5 beaches along the southern outer coast of Washington State to nearly 450 beaches spread across northern California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. From 12 stalwart participants who worked tirelessly to invent and refine the COASST system of carcass identification, COASST has grown to more than 1,000 participants, making them the largest beached bird network in the world.

And the COASST volunteers are good! COASST Beached Birds boasts a stunning 85% of birds identified correctly to species over the 183 species found to date – each carcass identification is independently verified.

In COASST, we “prove it and use it!” All COASST data are verified by experts. And that means that if you turn in the measurements, foot type, and photo evidence for what you think is a Red-footed Booby, we can prove that you were right about this vanishingly rare tropical bird in North Pacific.

Our ability to prove the high quality of our data makes COASST data immediately useful to scientists and natural resource managers, and we’re in the business of sharing our data. In fact, COASST data are used for an amazing array of science and resource management projects, including:

These are some examples of what our data is used for:

  • baseline monitoring for the introgression of avian influenza
  • documenting the impacts of harmful algal blooms
  • assessing the impacts of “The Blob” – the largest and most intense marine heatwave in the world
  • modeling the likelihood that native Americans used naturally occurring mass mortality events as regular sources of food
  • assessing bycatch events in the Salish Sea

If you’re interested in becoming part of the team you can find information on training events here.

Please share this:

More to explore

Whidbey Island
Journal

Cruising Whidbey Island

Stepping on to Whidbey Island is to follow in the steps of Capt. Vancouver and Lt. Puget. The island itself is named after the Sailing Master Joseph Whidbey.

Read More »

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.