02 November 2009

The Haphazard Holiday Part One

Ilwaca & Long Beach

JD took me to the coast for my birthday a couple of weeks ago. We usually head west to either Astoria or Seaside and wander south towards Cannon Beach and Tillamook. We decided to go somewhere neither of us had seen so we went north from Seaside to Astoria and then Ilwaca and Long Beach, Washington. We ended up driving all the way up the Peninsula to Oysterville and Leadbetter Point State Park.

After lunch at my favorite restaurant in Astoria, Fulio's Pastaria, our first stop was Ilwaco, a smallish fishing town, just north of Cape Disappointment State Park. We wandered around the docks and waterfront for a while taking a few pictures of the commercial and charter fishing boats.

It was a lovely day, about 60 and sunny and almost no wind. And, since it was the end of the season, there were a few shops still open but hardly any people.

From Ilwaca, we wandered north along WA-103 which runs up the west side of the Long Beach Peninsula. We stopped at Long Beach which proclaims itself to be the “Longest Beach In The World”. After exploring a bit, I'm not sure that was true but I certainly think they could qualify for “Most Hazardous Beach In The World For Seabirds”. There were dead birds everywhere. Uck. I'm pretty bird-phobic around live birds as it is. Dead ones are way worse.

Since this was a beach that allows vehicle traffic, we speculated that a car had hit a flock earlier that day (or it could be that there's just a lot of lousy hunters this duck season.) There was one wretched little merganser that was injured and unable to walk or fly but shoved himself along using his back legs splayed out behind him.

JD checked on him but unfortunately there wasn't anything we could do for the poor little guy. I worried about him all the rest of the day and all night, too.

There was a sad little smudged trail all the way up from the waterline. He was actually making pretty good time, considering. Oddly enough, he didn't appear to be particularly distressed and didn't even get agitated when JD walked up close. (Only when JD started walking away did he turn into a tough guy and quacked several times.) He just seemed to have a destination in mind and was determined to get there. Last we saw he was heading south at speed.

Next time on The Haphazard Holiday: Part Two - Oysterville and The Mudflats

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