Friday, November 27, 2009

Oregon Oddities

Hope all my US readers had a great Thanksgiving! We're now in the November blahs here in the Northern Rockies; it's dark, it's cold, and so Oregon in the summer is not far from my thoughts.

While Paul and I, and our friends Denise & Jim were traipsing about the lovely coast of Oregon, we did spot the occasional odd thing here and there. I've already shared the Head at Hug Point with you. A few days earlier we had traveled south to Newport, OR and Yaquina Bay Lighthouse State Park. We tried to get there when tide was at its lowest because the park has some great tidepooling and we got an hour or so in, and then we explored some of the other parts of the park once the water got too high to safely tidepool. There's a sheltered cove that seal lions and harbor seals often hang out in so we walked down to that area and noticed that the railing and posts of the fence along the sidewalk had become a caterpillar highway! They seemed to be traveling with great intent, but in all different directions.

This is just a small group of the hundreds of caterpillars we saw

Denise identified them as being in the Tussock moth family, but we've yet to figure out exactly what kind they were.

We then continued on down to the cove and watched two seals on a rock watching a great blue heron on another rock watching the fish. Unfortunately we discovered that although we had left the main batch of caterpillars behind, there were still some roaming the railings in this area and we accidentally squished a few as well as picked up a few hitchhikers on our clothes. It was tricky trying to remove them from us without touching those hairs that looked like they'd be
very itchy.

For a minute, the seal found us an interesting diversion. Then he/she went back to watching the heron.

On another day we headed into the temperate rainforests that make up the Northwest Pacific Coast in search of the ubiquitous banana slug. There was plenty of fog, plenty of vegetation, but no slugs. We eventually found one on the Washington coast, but it wasn't like the olive green giants that I remember seeing in Olympic National Park. However, it was the first slug we'd seen the whole week, so it became much celebrated and photographed.

Later, Denise told me that after we headed home, they saw some real field guide quality banana slugs on a hike they took near where we had been staying. They also finally heard a varied thrush on that hike; a bird we'd been trying to get all week.

And when you are hungry after all the hiking and beachcombing and gingerly picking caterpillars off of you, where do you go to eat? Why at the Inflatable Crab, of course!

1 comment:

Kelly said...

...that slug is crazy...and the caterpillars are pretty cool. Sounds like a wonderful trip. I've never seen a Varied Thrush--would love to!