Every morning I start the day with a 2-mile walk with our dog, Pablo. I love seeing the bay each morning, noticing the changes in the tides with the phases of the moon, and watching all the wildlife that are gathered here for the winter, and I'm interested in learning more about all of these.
Very high tide during a morning walk near the January 31 New Moon
Very low tide in the afternoon near the January 31 New Moon
Alas, Field Journal Fridays will be my attempt at weekly, focused observation and learning about the natural features of this area. We also have recently purchased a couple of Stand Up Paddleboards, so we're able to access the Back Bay estuary and Newport Bay Conservancy. There are some guided wildlife hikes through the conservancy as well that I will be participating in; and, if we are in the area long enough, there is a Naturalist Certification course I would love to do here in the fall.
Below are some pictures of the brown pelican. We paddled near it on our SUPs one afternoon. According to the Newport Bay Conservancy, these had once lost much of their population due to eggshell thinning from the effects of DDT, but their numbers are now recovering. I was lucky enough to see one flying over the water of the bay recently while out walking.
I do not have binoculars at the moment and am not getting close enough to make positive identifications always right away or to get very clear photos with my smartphone camera (why didn't I bring my SLR from home?!). As I do identify species, I will link the first mention of that particular species in each post to its National Audobon Society Online Guide listing. This site includes excellent pictures, species information, and audio.
With that said, here is what I observed today.
February 7, 2014
Location: Newport Dunes Back Bay beach area near shore, west of Moe B. Sports dock
Environment: Wet from steady rainfall of previous evening and night
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 59 degrees F, windless to light breeze
Morning Tides: H 4.7 ft at 3:23 a.m.; L 0.8 ft at 11:09 a.m.
Moon: First Quarter
Part of area observed
At one point one of the farther away groupings of American Coots flew rapidly to the water. Many (with the exception of about 8) that were near me also moved to the water for a brief time, returning to the shore as the other group did.