The ocean seemed pretty calm, and although it was chilly this morning, I decided I would head out on the kayak again. My plans were to head toward Eastern Channel, to see if the whales were still out there and also to see about getting photos of some of the seabirds I haven’t typically had the chance to watch. When I got out there, I saw the whales were quite a bit further out away from the mouth of Silver Bay than they had been on Friday and I decided not to venture that far. I turned back toward Silver Bay and paddled along looking for birds. On my way back in, I made a detour to the mouth of Indian River before meeting Melissa and the kids at Sage Beach.
Weather: It got down into the upper 20s last night and things seem to have frozen a bit harder, though there was less frost. High thin clouds moved over town, though there were occasional breaks in them through the afternoon. Although the sun could still be seen through the clouds, it definitely felt much warmer when the sun was not obscured. Winds were light and variable, blowing mostly out of the south when I was out in Eastern Channel.
Birds: There was a pair of Marbled Murrelets right out in Crescent Bay as I headed out this morning.
There was a loon just off the park, but I was not able to get close enough for a good identification.
As I was paddling through Crescent Bay, I saw a Long-tailed Duck flying toward the bridge.
There were quite a few alcids out north and east of the green can at the rocky patch. I could hear them, but was unable to get very close to most of them. I did manage to get photos of three murres that look to be Thick-billed Murres, possibly first year birds.
On the way in, I think I saw a Red-necked Grebe, but it took off before I could get a picture.
There were several Black-legged Kittiwakes in with the gulls near the mouth of Indian River and out further on the beach. They seemed more skittish than the rest of the gulls, as they were the first to fly off when I approached the shore (and most of the gulls did not fly off at all).
There was a flock of 20 or so Surf Scoters near the park. I also saw several Harlequins and Buffleheads.
There was one Goldeneye, a first year bird or a female, at the mouth of Indian River. It was probably a Barrow’s Goldeneye, but it was hard to say for sure. I think it’s the first one of those I have seen this fall.
Most of the Mallards seemed to be out on the southwest tidal flats today. There were only a couple over by the river mouth that I saw.
Off of Lincoln Street beach, a male and two female American Wigeons took flight. They had been a little ways off-shore.
Marine Mammals: The whales had moved farther out, but they were still in Eastern Channel.
Shortly after I left the mouth of Indian River, I saw a Sea Otter. It’s the first time I have seen one of these in so close to town. It’s nose was noticably raw. I have heard that they bite noses when mating, so perhaps that is what had happened to this one. It seemed a little curious about me, and stopped to look at me for a little bit before swimming off.
There were two harbor seals quite near shore. Both of them approached/let me approach fairly close. One of them was in water that was no more than 4-5 feet deep. When it swam off, I could see it under the water.
Other Notes: There must be quite a bit of small feed fish schooled up in Eastern Channel right now. The gulls were active again in the area, the whales are still around, and there were several trollers fishing. I did not see any of them bring in fish, but I am guessing they were going for King Salmon that were going after the same thing as the birds and whales.
The freeze last night was the hardest this fall, so far. I think it was probably only the second widespread freezing tempeatures, actually (with the first being the night before). Needle ice formed in the garden beds, even with plastic over them. I think Melissa’s lettuce might be done for now. I was actually a little surprised that it seemed to have survived the frost without a cover the night before. Temperatures are supposed to stay above freezing for the next few days, so we’ll see if any of the lettuce survived.