Thursday, December 29, 2016

Christmas on the Oregon Coast...

Since this was a non-traveling Christmas for us (Southern California or Spokane, WA, is where we usually mark the holidays) we decided to spend the weekend at the beach. A winter trip to the Oregon coast is something we've been talking about doing since we moved here 12 years ago. It was about time!

I told everyone we were going to Rockaway beach, but I was wrong. Our cottage was actually a little south of there, at Twin Rocks. It was marvelous!

We arrived near dusk on Christmas Eve (after traveling through fog, rain, snow, sleet and sun...all in just 91 miles) and took a beach-walk before it got dark. I was mesmerized by the hundreds of these all around us on the beach...

Neither one of us had ever seen anything like them. The ones further up were dried out and flat, but as you got closer to the water they started to fill out...

Right at the water's edge they looked like this. We have no idea what they were...anyone know? **Update, turns out they're "colonial tunicate, species name Pyrosoma atlanticum" - see the comments section for more info from the Oregon Coast Aquarium folks **

Christmas morning the sky was blue and we couldn't wait to get out and explore...

It wouldn't be the beach without Pampas grass, at least in my experience.

These little ferns were unexpected however.

The traditional Christmas volcano!

Someone was feeling creative.

I thought the holly sprigs were a nice touch.

The ocean is always worth staring at, but having something off in the distance to focus on is a nice touch...

There were many more of the creatures we'd spotted the day before, although calling them "creatures" makes them sound like animal, we weren't so sure. They may be plant? (*update* Animal! = colonial tunicate, species name Pyrosoma atlanticum)

We saw thousands on that walk.

And just one of these "jelly" things.

Interesting no?

A more traditional beach sighting...

Those little white shells were like tiny, very tiny, geoducks.

Close-up.

If you're squeamish about dead things this is my warning to skip over the next couple of photos. Although I guess we've already been looking at them haven't we?

I'm not one of those people who has a fascination with dead animals, but this bird demanded to be photographed.

The dark feathers and that amazing beak.

This one was no longer recognizable as a bird, if not for the feathers.

But there were plants too! Equally photogenic.

And another human creation.

I've never seen an episode of 'Survivor' but for some reason this had me thinking of it.

We only spotted one of this more traditional human sand-castle construction.

Lila seemed to enjoy her time on the sunny (yet cool) beach. Andrew fashioned her appropriate headgear for the occasion...

All material © 2009-2016 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

32 comments:

  1. Could the mystery objects be sea cucumbers?

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    1. That definitely sounded plausible, but upon looking them up they seemed a little large (I should have included something for scale). I emailed the Oregon Coast Aquarium though and have an answer...."colonial tunicate, species name Pyrosoma atlanticum"!

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  2. Those twin rocks are quite a view. Looks like a wonderful trip. If you are going to walk out in nature there is always something fascinating and something gruesome you are likely to come across. Hope someone can Id those creatures?? for sure as they are amazing. Was taken aback for a moment when you said Rockaway Beach since, as a former East coast person, I only know the famed Jersey shore beach by the same name.

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    1. We Oregonians can't seem to come up with original names for any of our places!

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  3. Oh Gosh, Lila with the crab headgear, too funny. Great shots of the dead birds, I have to admit to a perhaps morbid fascination with stuff like that. I once took a chipmunk one of my cats had killed and boiled it to get the skull (I know, TMI).

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    1. Wow...that's creepy cool Alison!

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  4. Lila is always on the cutting edge of fashion and her hat is adorable. Perhaps those mystery objects are alien eggs and you've discovered them in time for us to avoid a global takeover. Love that you spent Christmas at the ocean!

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    1. It was a wonderful place to get away and relax. We'll definitely do it again.

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  5. The landscape is beautiful - I love that opening shot. It all looks so very peaceful, even including the dead bird.

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    1. It was very peaceful, and beautiful. We could have walked forever but poor Lila was worn out.

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  6. Very cool visit. I had a hunch that they could be some sort of egg case; perhaps a snail, but here are some references I found with google image search that incline me to think they are squid egg cases:
    http://byui-mbfe.blogspot.com/2015/04/mbfe-day-7-sun-and-sand.html
    http://www.beachconnection.net/news/workcrit100512_713.php

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    1. I knew you'd give me some excellent leads! Neither one of those links seemed quite right though (I should have included something for scale), but they did get me thinking to email the Oregon Coast Aquarium and they've replied below. Mystery solved!

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    2. Well, it was worth looking into. So you got a couple of right answers. Tunicates. Cool (and dead). :)

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  7. A lovely (if unconventional) way to spend Christmas. We used to spend New Year's Eve and Day at Seal Rock but seldom lucked out with the weather as you did.

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    1. I just spoke with a fellow at Trader Joes who was heading out there for New Years. That would be fun too.

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  8. Excellent way to spend Christmas!

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    1. IF you can't be in California then at least be at the ocean!

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  9. When Laurel lived in Portland, Jim and I took a road trip to the coast. It's spectacular!I think you, Andrew and Lila are there at a perfect time... quiet and private. Happy New Year, Loree and Andrew. Enjoy wandering the coast.

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    1. Happy New Year to you guys too! And yes, the Oregon coast is a pretty amazing place.

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  10. You are seeing colonial tunicate(s), species name Pyrosoma atlanticum. The genus name literally translates as ‘fire body’ because the animals are bioluminescent.
    There have been large numbers on the beaches, along with many other things due to winter storm activity. People are reporting them frequently.
    -Oregon Coast Aquarium

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    1. Thank you! You guys are wonderful!

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  11. The animal in question is a colonial tunicate, species name Pyrosoma atlanticum. The genus name literally translates as ‘fire body’ because the animals are bioluminescent.
    There have been large numbers on the beaches, along with many other things due to winter storm activity. People are reporting them frequently.
    -Oregon Coast Aquarium

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  12. So beautiful, a perfect quiet place to enjoy Christmas! I fantasize about living on the coast of Oregon. I have a great cousin that lives in Coos Bay and my sister has a beach house in Manzanita. Happy New Year!

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    1. Happy New Year to you too! (and Shawn)

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  13. I've often been tempted to take bones from dead sheep and deer while out walking, so as to add them to the dry part of the garden, but i'm too squeamish to do so, so far. I see from the comments above that i'm not the only one! That said, when tilling the old garden I dug up the bones of some animal and saw fit to decorate the raised bed with the skull. So, it's probably not squeamishness that has stopped me, more not wanting so share my rucksack with bits of corpse for days on end, which seems reasonable.

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    1. Reasonable indeed! Do you have any idea what the animal whose bones you dug up was?

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    2. I fear it might've been a small dog. That isn't the part that makes me most regretful though, it's the thought that the previous owners of the house were perhaps too feeble to be able to give it a proper burial, unlike my cats Basil and Arthur, who are literally six feet under.

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  14. It looks like you were right next to the place we stayed at this summer! The coast at Christmas is so very special, I'm glad you had a chance to experience it. Aren't those plankton things crazy? Apparently they are normally in Australian waters.

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  15. Hi there, I’m Peter, the Public Relations Coordinator at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Could we use one of your pyrosome photos in a blog post of ours?

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    1. Yes of course! Feel free to do so, and thank you for asking.

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    2. Oh...and photo attribution please! It's only right.

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