Mile 95 Report

November 4, 2012
by John Hull

Location:
Coos
South end of Bandon State Park
Conditions:
Sunday
Sunny
60° F
Wind:
Calm/Light
Humans / Pets:
People:
2
Dogs:
1
Activities:
Walking / Running:
3
Concerns:
Disturbances:
Shorebirds moving in response to humans/dogs
Vehicles:
Cars/Trucks parking:
0
ATVs/OHVs parking:
0
RVs/Buses parking:
RVs/Buses parking: 0
Cars/Trucks on beach, allowed:
0
ATVs/OHVs on beach, allowed:
0
Cars/Trucks on beach, prohibited:
0
ATVs/OHVs on beach, prohibited:
0
Activity Comments:
Beach Walk Miles 94 and 95Sunday November 4th, 2012The weather was beautiful – sunny and still. I was prepared to spend several more hours digging post holes, but Blaine bought my suggestion of a beach walk and sent me down to check on our eight foot Walker Bay dinghy. We had not visited it since we had returned to Bandon in mid-September. Lucie and I walked around the old mown path, which is becoming greatly overgrown so the grass was up to chest deep toward the end and found the Second Sea Sprite was in good order, still tied to the myrtle tree. We walked back and informed Blaine and I gathered my backpack, knife, camera, water-proof binoculars, some treats for LucieAnne, and we walked back to the boat. It was easy to launch as the Lower Fourmile Creek was high so the bank, which had been eroded by the big storm this past Spring and was then about a four foot drop off, was now only a foot or two. The three of us got into the little skiff and I rowed us down the creek and across the New River. We walked across the dunes, which seemed noticeably wider than they were this past Spring.The wind was gentle, from the South and was estimated to be between five and ten miles an hour. But when we finished our walk at two, it was calm. The sky overhead was blue, there were a few white fluffy clouds to our East over the land. The tide was coming in and waves were from two to five feet trough to crest. Some of them were breaking quite far out, over a hundred yards from the shore. There was white foam on the sand. Sometimes in the past, it has been yellow but this day it was white. The water temperature felt like it was in the low fifties.We turned north and walked all the way to where the New River enters the sea. That point seemed further away than it was last Spring as well. I estimate that the distance from where we start out across from the mouth of the Lower Fourmile Creek to the mouth of the New River is now about two and a half miles. At one time I thought it was about two miles. The beach was mostly clean. There were occasional bull kelp but not big mounds. We saw very few birds as we walked along the beach. We found and photographed one small (about three feet long) dead pinniped which I took to be an immature sea lion but its head was pretty much gone so I could not identify it. Once again we found that large concrete dock stranded on the dry sand. As we made our way north, we did find some stretches of beach with flotsam and jetsam. We were surprised to find a very large white pelican walking with a limp across the sand somewhere in mile 95. It stood about three feet tall and had a grossly deformed right wing. It moved slowly and with great dignity. We were heartbroken and wished we could do something to assist it. Our Lucie charged it briefly, but we bid her stop, and she did. The poor bird continued to make its way Southwest toward the water. I took a couple of photos. We looked back occasionally but eventually could no longer see it. As we approached the mouth of the New River, there was a large collection of big driftwood on the sand. But not as much as we recall from earlier visits although the individual pieces seemed bigger, parts of substantial trees. As we walked along the beach, we found crab carapaces and claws, only three partial sand dollars and the remains of three birds. The bird carcasses where scanty, just feathers and a few bones, no flesh, so I could not identify them with any certainty but figure they were all gulls. There were no leg bands. There were no legs either. As we approached the mouth of the New River the opposite bank looked different, covered with much more tree parts than in the past. When we reached the mouth of the New River, we were rewarded with the sight of at least three, but probably more pinnipeds swimming in the river and staring at us curiously. Three had their heads up at one time but likely the number of individual sightings indicated more than just three were there. They emerged from and reentered the water with scarcely a ripple. So, several times when we saw a big disturbance on the surface of the river, apparently made by a creature about three feet long, we guessed it was some large fish, perhaps a salmon. But we never found out for sure. As we walked back south along the west bank of the New River, we watched low waves sweeping up river. They were about six inches tall and appeared to be caused by the tide coming in. We also found footprints in the sand which is not a common sight on that lonely and desolate stretch of the Oregon shore. It looked like one man and one woman with a dog. They were headed south and went nearly all the way to the mouth of the Lower Fourmile Creek and appeared to turn back. The prints appeared fresh and were very near the water,and so they probably were, or they would have been washed away.Although we had seen few birds while walking on the shore, we found hundreds of sea gulls either floating or standing in the shallow water of the river. They did not appear to be eating anything,and so, we could not figure out what attracted so many of them to that place. We encountered two such large flocks as we made our way back south along the river. The first group mostly took flight as we approached, but the second group just observed us placidly.
Notable Wildlife:
Pelican with injured wing. Three or more pinnipeds in the New River near the mouth.
Dead Birds:
Total:
3
Species/names:
No bands (no legs)
Stranded:
Total:
1
Sea lion, small, possibly entangled.
Fish & Invertebrates:
Driftline:
Kelp or Algae·Animal casings (e.g. crab, shrimp molt)·Shells·Wood pieces
Drift, large
New Development:
Modifications:
Natural Changes:
Comments:
Took photos of dead sea lion and injured pelican.
Summary:
Saw a large pelican with an injured wing and at least three (but probably more) pinnipeds in the New River near where it joins the sea. Beach was pertty clean. There was less driftwood than in the past, but the pieces were larger (major poritons of trees). The mouth of the New River appears to have moved further North. One dead sea lion. Shells, crab carapaces,krlp/algae and wood pieces in the driftline. No other people on the beach.
Other Mile 95 Reports (16)

2013

November 23, 2013 - John Hull
Unusual number of people, saw what we took to be a family of three walking south along the west bank of the New River and a fisherman, first seen walking north, then in the water at the mouth of the...
June 19, 2013 - John Hull
Beach fairly clean, occasional pieces of bull kelp and a frilly kelp on the wet sand. The European Beachgrass on the dunes was dead, apparently the result of being sprayed with teal-colored...

2011

September 18, 2011 - John Hull
Saw one pinniped in the surf and found a dead Steller's Sea Lion about eight feet long on the dry sand. Shells, animal casings, jellies and pieces of jellies, piles of Bull Kelp, small rocks and...
May 22, 2011 - John Hull
Saw what appeared to be perhaps a dozen Harbor Seals in the surf at the mouth of the New River and several solitary ones and one pair we took to be a mother and pup further south. A minimum driftline...
April 3, 2011 - John Hull
Driftline very clean, no jellies, less than a dozen pieces of mussel and crab shells, some small wood pieces, virtually no seaweed. At least five pinnipeds swimming in New River near its mouth. New...

2010

October 29, 2010 - John Hull
Two guys with two fishing rods on ATV. I thought that beach was off limits to ATVs. Some jellies, mussel shells and crab parts. Large clumps of Bull Kelp. Two types of gulls as well as two flocks...
April 25, 2010 - John Hull
No people save ourselves. Unusually large amount of driftwood on the dry sand. Lots of little pieces of wood at edge of the water (first time I've seen that). Kelp/algae, small rocks, Styrofoam...

2009

September 15, 2009 - [email protected]
Animal casings, kelp/algae and ocean-based debris in the driftline. About 30 Snowy Plover feeding with Sanderlings near surfline. Low human impact (1)-BLM ATV carrying Snowy Plover exclosures to...
September 3, 2009 - [email protected]
Animal casings, kelp/algae and ocean-based debris in driftline. About 40 Sanderlings foraging by water's edge. One dead sea lion reported to Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network. Low human...

2008

September 22, 2008 - [email protected]
The European Beachgrass is moving north and building sand dunes with the progression. BLM had bulldozed the dunes in 2002 and pushed the beach grass into the ocean. It's back and doing quite well. My...
  • Birds at Two Mile Creek and New River ocean mouth
July 2, 2008 - [email protected]
I crossed New River at the Lower Four Mile trail end. The water was about 18 inches deep; the river must be breached south of Lower Four Mile Creek. The mud was soft, but the water was fairly clear....

2007

November 2, 2007 - [email protected]
I accessed the beach from the north end of Roaring Surf Lane trail. New River was about 8 inches deep, walked south along New River to the end of Bandon State Park and crossed the dunes to the ocean...
  • New River and Two Mile Creek convergance looking north from Mile 95
  • Beached Northern Elephant Seal, south end of Mile 95 at the high tide line
  • Northern Elephant Seal
October 2, 2007 - [email protected]
I crossed New River at Four Mile Creek Trail, the water was 29" deep. The river bottom was hard sand. I walked North along mile 94 to access mile 95. There were a lot of shore birds (gulls and...
May 19, 2007 - [email protected]
The trail to New River was dry. The New River water level was lower than I have seen it in 5 years, my socks didn't even get wet on the crossing. Last weeks winds had pushed waves topping the dune on...
March 11, 2007 - [email protected]
I accessed mile 95 from the Lower Four Mile trail Sunday 3/11/07. One-third of the trail to New River was under water from runoff. The depth was as deep as 18" in a couple places. The water level in...
  • 12 foot 4x4
  • Tracks identified as Red Fox
March 4, 2007 - [email protected]
I attempted access from the Lower Four Mile access Saturday 3/3/07. One-third of the trail to New River was under flowing water from runoff. The depth was as deep as 18" in a couple places. The water...