Pacific County and Cannon Beach

Over the weekend Jacob and I left our 5MR to do some birding and exploring along the coast.

Sunrise over Mount St. Helens

A herd of Roosevelt elk was grazing close to Highway 30 so we stopped for a peek.

We were heading to Cape Disappointment State Park but took the long way around Chinook Valley where we were hoping for some birds.  No disappointment here!

Western Bluebirds

 Violet-green Swallow

This area is great for birding!  We had our first Rufous Hummingbird for the year, a calling Hutton's Vireo, singing Marsh Wrens, and our first Pacific County Purple Finches.

Last winter Jacob and I had a Northern Shrike here, and Jacob had a Tropical Kingbird and Black Phoebe another time.  Definitely worth taking the detour!

At Cape Disappointment we learned that the jetty is completely closed off for construction.  This was, obviously, disappointing, but we decided to explore the North Head area instead.

 Salmonberry blooming!

The birds were very vocal here including some Red Crossbills, a nice year bird that stayed way out of decent-photo-range.  So instead, here is what I think is Coltsfoot:

The Douglas squirrels were going to town on pine cones which was pretty fun to watch.

Jacob noticed this one has a tick on its ear.

One minute and 15 seconds later

After Cape Disappointment we drove south to Fort George Brewery to have some lunch, washed down with the tasty Fields of Green IPA.

Next we headed south to Cannon Beach for the real goal of the day: tidepooling at Haystack Rock.  Low tide was going to be late afternoon and we were hoping to find some cool stuff.  Unfortunately it was over 70 degrees on a weekend afternoon which means a billion people were around.

We tried to enjoy it anyway, but after a couple hours I was definitely dehydrated.  Here are some things:

Harlequin Duck

Western Gull vs. crab

 Black Oystercatcher

 The only sea star I remember seeing

Jacob was trying hard to find nudibranchs and finally found opalescent ones in a small pool.  We had brought my underwater camera so he waded in and took a bunch of shots.  

We went back to the car for snacks and beverages and had a little picnic in the shade.  Revived, we returned to the rock for sunset.  Pelagic and Brandt's Cormorants were flying in to roost on the rock.

Just as the sun was setting a cormorant landed on one of the many rocks in the water and opened its wings.  The most majestic corm.

Overall it was a very full and fun day at the coast!   Good times!!!


  1. Love that pic of the cormorant at sunset!!!

    1. Thanks! The corm made the sunset so much better!

  2. That nudibranch, wow. The amazing stuff that is right in front of us. I had no idea that creature existed. Thanks for that. Nice pic of Longview papermills. I like bridge and tunnel in astoria for a pint, but they don't have food, except for carts across street. Iconic sunset cormorant, you could sell that to cannon beach for their tourist material.

    1. I'll have to check that place out. My friend works at Fort George so that's why we chose that spot. Definitely google nudibranchs- there are tons of crazy looking ones!

  3. Is a Nudibranch florescent? Sure is amazing...I agree good times!

  4. What a wonderful day out you had. Whenever I see shots from a beach I always have a tinge of envy that we don't live close to the ocean. Tide pools are such amazing places to explore, and the bird life, of course, is spectacular. We live near to the Great Lakes (Ontario, Erie and Huron all close) but they are not tidal so the shorelines are less interesting. I have a book on my shelf called "Tide Pools and Rocky Shores," with splendid coverage of these unique ecosystems.

    1. Ah, I hope you do make it to the coast sometime to make good use of such a book!

  5. Some great finds, and I agree, the cormorant on the rock at sunset is very nice!


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