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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Truly Meandering at Leadbetter Point

I had a Biosurvey at the Ohop Valley Land trust site on Saturday.  During a biosurvey we walk and record evidence of as many living things as we can see or identify.  Anything from seen and heard birds to prints , scat, marks and signs like fur or chewed trees.   I love the Ohop property and once again, the worst of the weather held off until we were done.

Since I was this far south, I would continue on to the beach for the long weekend.  This time I stayed at a little place called Shakti Cove.  One look at these little cabins and you are back in the motor court days.  The cabin was rustic but comfortable and it was SO quiet.

I had great hopes for getting my boat kite in the air.  My last few visits to the beach were without wind, but today with rough weather moving through I gave it a go.  This kite is more complicated that the others I have.  It went up easily enough  but I was really having a hard time keeping it stable.  Several crashes, but I only needed to manipulate the line just so and it would catch the wind and go skyward.  After about 15 minutes of mild frustration I felt the rain starting.

And then the wind picked up.

Holy Cats!!  Now, I spent many years working with horses.  The training activity of lungeing involves putting a horse through its gaits at the end of a 20 meter long line.  Round and round in a circle.  This kite pulled as fiercely as a bad acting horse.  I was glad for my high test line and my hand was soon crying for mercy.  I was able to slowly reel her in and hand land the kite.

Sunday morning I decided to get up early and visit Leadbetter Point at the north end of the peninsula.  A majority of the property is National Wildlife Refuge and it is home for a large population of nesting Snowy Plovers.  I passed through Oysterville before most were awake and vow to return for a good walk through the community.  Houses from 1880- 90 are lovingly preserved.

The refuge has only three trails.  One goes along the Willapa Bay shoreline then cuts into the pine woods, meeting up with a woodland loop.   Where the shoreline path meets the loop a trail heads out to the Pacific beach.  This was the trail I had planned on taking.

The bay shore was alive with shorebirds swooping in from their night perches in the ocean beach dunes.  They joined gulls and ducks.

In a few months these flocks will number in the many thousands as the migrating shorebirds from the south join our winter flocks.  Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor to the north are two places of international importance in shorebird migration. 

The beach was littered with clam and oyster shells.  Willapa Bay is famous for its oysters.  Gulls fly in with their catches and drop them from high up, aiming to crack the shells and get their prize.  I found this little still-life and could not resist. 


The intertidal area and grasses were silent.  No hunting raptors, no owls.  I was sorry to see Scots Broom present both here and in the woods.

The woods are dominated by small shore pines.  The forest floor is covered in moss, lichen and liverwort.  Kinnikinick joins in as a ground cover.  This plant was used as a smoking herb by native peoples. 

Kinnikinnick, Arctodtaphylos uva-ursi, is also known as Bearberry.  I did not see signs of bear but was surprised to see Elk sign.

I was happy to be in the woods and the footing was interesting.  All of these plants flourish on a foundation of sand, not the ltypical soil we are use to.  But wet sand soon turned into genuine , familiar mud.   Ankle-plus  deep water required a little detour.  It was easy enough to see a path through the trees.  I went along further and came to even more deeper water.  Rats, this time I tried a visible path on the north side of the trail.

It lead me to this

Well there would be not getting to the beach on this trail which probably no longer exists.  The dam logs appear quite fresh and new.

I returned to the junction with the lop trail and decided to take the trail to the beach that heads out from the state park.

At the junction I found this sign

Not a good sign.  Sure enough within 1/4 mile I encountered more deep, frustrating wading.  I had no desire to over top my boots so I called it a day for this adventure.

I headed for the beach via the conventional roadway routes.  I am glad I did.  I was able to watch some fishermen

This Raven amused me with some antics on the sand

and I found some bizarre Salps.  I had been alerted to their being on the beach a few days earlier.  They look like a clear plastic fried egg with a very hard yolk.


I love the beach.  I hope to get back in a few weeks fto try for a viewing of a comet that is nearing.