The Captain’s Log – May 2, 2020

Entry no. 6 – May 2, 2020
By Scotty Evens, Site Manager & Ferry Captain

It was good to have the sun back after a couple of misty days. It seems to energize everything. This week we saw the False lily of the valley push it blooms up as well as the Pacific rhododendron with its beautiful flowers. Some Coastal paint brush (Castilleja affinis) made me smile with its red fire poking from the cliff face. Perhaps my favorite “plant” came on the stage this week. The Ground cone (Boschniakia) started to appear. This plant, that has no chlorophyll gets its energy from being a parasite. In this case, on Salal roots. What appears on the surface is its flowering stem. This “plant” is common in all forests of Oregon. Each species keying in on a different tree or shrub’s root system. Finally the Woods’ rose with its soft petals and sweet smell welcomed me to the beach along the path.

Flower 1
Flower 2

Last week we had micro trash wash ashore. This week’s one-day storm produced a very intense rack line. This line left by the tide, storm surge, and wind was full of micro trash. Mostly small, think dime size or smaller pieces lay on the sand. In one of the pictures you’ll see a small gray tube. That piece of plastic has made its way here from Asia. This tube is a spacer placed on a string to separate oysters on a commercial farm. They escape and these wash up by the hundreds of thousands each year on the North American coastline. To give you a sense of the issue at hand,  look at the picture that looks like a jumble of sticks, crab parts, grass, etc.   How many pieces of plastic do you see?  Expand it and look close. In this 1‘ x 1‘ square there are 13 pieces of plastic. Next time you’re at Westwind  grab one of us and we can go clean the beach. This last year we obtained a mesh seine to capture this micro-plastic. In an afternoon we could remove close to 5 gallons if we tried.

beach trash
sand dollar tide line

I was met by a Killdeer on my rounds down by the estuary. Kneeling, I watched  this beautifully marked bird of the plover family go about its business looking for lunch. The storms as of late have been changing the beach. A large drop-off has formed down by the Eye of the Needle. I was surprised not to see the skeletons of two sea lions I had buried there years ago. I wonder what changes to the beach summer will bring? My hope is, it will have the foot prints of thousands of kids upon it. My hope is, the sounds of laughter and song will fill the air. But for now, Westwind waits its turn to give its magic to all of us.

View of Cascade Head from Beach


Enjoy reading the Captain’s Log? Please consider supporting Westwind during this time with a donation to the Camp Westwind Recovery Fund, and ensure we all can experience the beauty of the Westwind landscape again someday soon.

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