Mile 95 Report

September 18, 2011
by John Hull

Location:
Coos
South end of Bandon State Park
Conditions:
Sunday 10:00 AM
Tide Level:
3.0 ft
Humans / Pets:
People:
2
Dogs:
1
Activities:
Walking / Running:
3
Concerns:
Disturbances:
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 Mile 95 Sunday morning, September 18th, 2011Ron Steele and I left our home, the Lonely Plover, at about nine-thirty under overcast skies. We were accompanied by my wife, Blaine, and dog, LucieAnne. We walked to the lower end of Lower Fourmile Lane and onto the Sandy Path that extends into the former parkland at the end of our Lane. We followed that until we reached the East shore of the New River. By then I estimate we were about a mile North of our home and at the South end of Mile 95. There we parted company. Blaine attempted to hold Lucie back, but I eventually relented and the little dog accompanied Ron and me as we forded the river at a narrow spot. The water barely got above my knees, but Lucie had to swim for it as she is a Bassett and, consequently, has very short legs. The sun had come out and with it the heat. So, we left our jackets on the East shore and I, my sandals. Once again I spied the beautiful tall and elegant white egret that appears to live on the river just South of where we crossed. When we were on the other side we walked across a place where the waves had previously overtopped the dunes leaving just sand without European beach grass. We happened to cross the sand where a fiberglass or plastic post warning people not to enter a snowy plover zone. The end date of the prohibition was September 15th. Once we reached the beach itself we turned North. The beach was very wide, perhaps the tide was low, and sloping very gently into the surf which was calm; the waves were, at most, just two feet trough to crest. Rather quickly Ron spotted a sea mammal that I took to be a Harbor Seal swimming in the surf. It studied us, and we it. So cool that my friend, who has never been at our Ocean before, found a seal. I had been hoping that we would find some at the North end of our walk where the river greets to sea. As we continued, we saw something lying on the sand that I took to be a piece of driftwood. But as we approached more closely, Ron pointed out it was a sea lion, and we found it was dead. I took a number of photos but did not attempt an amateur necropsy as I did not have gloves. There were no obvious signs of trauma or the cause of death although there were a couple of old parallel creases on the right side behind the flipper and what I took to be blood stains around the mouth. The creature was so fresh that the eyes were still intact and the only predation was being performed by sand fleas. The creature had external ears and yellow to light brown fur. It was nearly eight feet long. We continued North, I pointed out jellies or parts of jellies on the sand, mostly clear but some tinged yellow. The sand was fine and without pebbles and the waves quite small, just two feet trough to crest. The air was still very warm and there was no wind. I was surprised and disappointed to find not only human tracks, perhaps three or four sets, as well as one pair of ATV tracks on the beach. We had found a single set of ATV tracks over on the sand of the West bank of the river. Normally we see no such thing.We found occasional shells, mussels, and crab carapaces in the drift line and piles of Bull Kelp, the clumps no more than a yard in diameter. It wasn’t until we got about half way North on mile 95 that we found small, rounded pieces of very dark wood in the driftline. They were around an inch across. Even further North, as we approached the place where the New River enters the sea, the wet sand began to sport little smooth pebbles, rounded by years in the surf presumably, about the size of golf balls. I picked up three white ones. There were these rocks and the sand, but the sand was not course. Among other marvels we found a large purple sea star (we used to call them starfish when I was young) and a crab in mid-molt on the wet sand. I took pictures of both. I saw one dark bird out over the water as we walked North. But then we spotted a flock of little birds, around twenty we estimated, flying in tight formation over the wet sand and the near surf. We wondered if they could be the fabled Snowy Plover. I thought they were too big but when they landed on the wet sand and started running back and forth in front of the incoming water I figured they might be Plovers after all. I took their pictures as best I could, hoping for an identification. Later we spotted a single white sea gull flying over the water. Along the way we found mussel shells in and near the driftline but no clam or oyster shells. There were also crab carapaces and parts. I found what I thought was a small piece of natural sponge. We reached the place where the New River meets the sea, and it was narrow, and estimated to be less than twenty feet across and less than a foot and a half deep. The water was flowing quickly and looked clean. On the North shore there was a high sandbank, perhaps fifteen feet in height. As we turned and headed back along the West bank of the New River, we saw minnows swimming in the water. There was the usual large collect of drift wood on the sand, including some huge pieces which were once big trees. We found tracks of raccoons, geese, a dog (not mine), and a bare foot human, as well as at least one deer. Along the way the sand took on an unusual consistency and I found myself sinking up to midcalf. It was something like quick sand, and I recalled a story I had been told about a horse getting stuck in such sand while crossing the New River. We made our way back across the river and up the Sandy Path across what used to be a county park but is now owned by Bandon Biota. As we come back up Lower Four Mile Lane, the mist started rolling back in, and we same a small snake on the gravel road.
Notable Wildlife:
Harbor Seal or other pinniped playing in surf, one sea gull (white), one smaller dark bird, both over surf. Flock of about twenty little birds that may have been Snowy Plovers.
Dead Birds:
Stranded:
Total:
1
Steller's Sea Lion with external ears dead on sand. Completely intact with eyes.
Fish & Invertebrates:
Crab carapaces and parts.
Driftline:
Kelp or Algae·Animal casings (e.g. crab, shrimp molt)·Shells·Small rocks·Wood pieces
New Development:
Modifications:
Natural Changes:
Evidence of wave overtopping·Visible retreat of solid bluff
Comments:
No action taken.
Summary:
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 wood pieces in the driftline. Found tracks of humans and three sets of ATV tracks which is unusual on mile 95. Very few birds except for a flock of about 20 shorebirds. One crab in mid-molt and one purple starfish. Evidnce of wave overtopping and sand erosion.
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...

2012

November 4, 2012 - John Hull
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...

2011

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...