Browns Put on a Shine in the Drift Line

The crows and gulls weren’t complaining. They didn’t ask what subtidal force mobilized such a large quantity of fresh material. High tide left a drift line littered with macroalgal debris. Drizzle and a chilly south wind made gloomy conditions for foraging and beachcombing. I didn’t notice the shine until I looked through the photos of my…

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Beach Hoppers Rejoice Over Drift Macrophytes

A foggy morning with low visibility and muted colors and sounds. Under these conditions you’ll find more action down at your feet than off in the distance. On this morning the air was still and warm. Sunrise added little more than glare and from the foredune the atmosphere was as oppressive as the view was…

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Thinopinus pictus, a Predatory Intertidal Staphylinid

If you walk the drift line you’ll want to get to know Thinopinus pictus, the pictured rove beetle. Pictured roves roam the damp sand between the swash and dry sand ambushing beach hoppers. They’re most active at night, but the odds of running across one on your morning walk are high. You’ll have to watch…

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The Dynamic Wrack Line

Every winter high surf and rivers swelled by drenching storms combine with high tides to replenish the wrack line. It’s an annual cycle of renewal, muted only when winter storms are mild. Recent winters on my home beaches have seen few storms, low surf, and little replenishment of the wrack line. That changed this winter.…

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A View From the Wrack Line (2015)

Walking the beach, down in the swash or up in the wrack line, I’m wondering what the rivers, currents, winds, and surf will bring to my home beaches. This year the drift was full of treasures. Some had human origins, and there were lots of items from marine and terrestrial sources too. Lots of carcasses,…

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The Drift Line’s Getting Slippery on the Northern Oregon Coast: By-the-Wind Sailors Wash Ashore in Great Numbers

Free-floating hydroids, by-the-wind sailors, Velella velella, have been washing ashore in great numbers, for weeks. It’s a fairly common event on Oregon beaches, but this happens to be one of the biggest I’ve seen, so I’m sharing a few images that captured my imagination. Here’s the top of the drift line from a pre-dawn high…

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My 2015 King Tide Project – Swell Matters

I have a fascination with very high and very low tides. Who doesn’t – they’re rare events and when they occur, things happen. Low tides are great for the naturalist; everybody’s out digging clams and exploring rarely exposed beaches and tidepools. Very high tides catch just about everybody’s attention. Coastal flooding and beach erosion can…

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Common Marine Algae in the Northern Oregon Drift Line: A Gallery of Images

My post about bull kelp drift masses, back in early December, got me thinking about other algae people might find washed up in the drift line. On my home beaches, bull kelp is certainly the most noticeable. Small clumps of rockweed are abundant, and sea palms, when present, are hard to miss. Fresh giant kelp…

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