Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Pelican, and the Ballet of the Sea


The Pelican
What an odd bird!   When you see one standing alone, with that big long beak and pouch, those squat little legs with great big flapper feet on the end, and a pretty big body, you think this bird could never fly!   What were they thinking when they invented this guy?

Then one day while you are standing by the river you look up and here is this very odd creature hovering over the water, and then SPLAT he dives head first for a fish that only he can see.   Well the guy hits the water with such a disjointed splash that you are startled and think for sure the poor guy has done some kind of a really bad belly-flop.   Kind of like the belly-flops you managed when you were a kid.   All arms and legs and flap of belly-skin hitting the water - very embarrasing and quite painful!   Well this seems to be what the Pelican has done right in front of your eyes, this could not possibly have been done on purpose, could it?

Just when you were thinking of calling 9-1-1 or whatever the animal equivalent would be, the mighty Pelican pops up to the top of the water like a cork, and seems to be quite calm and not ruffled at all.   Finally you realize that he has just purposely made this awkward and ungraceful dive into the water to catch a fish.  This puts a new light on the spectacle and rather than be embarrased by his splash-head-first-crash-landing, in fact he is quite pleased with himself!

Such is the Pelican, a collection of parts put together in one big bird, who seems to be one of the most ungainly creatures of the sea.  He can have a wing span of 6 - 10 feet, has large webbed toes and some of the longest beaks known in the bird world.   They eat fish, swim well, migrate in the winter along the west coast, and they enjoy being in groups.  You will often see them flying together, sometimes just 2 or 3 birds but sometimes in large groups which form long bird-chains in the sky and over the water.

Clumsy might be the word that comes to mind when you watch a Pelican.  He strolls with a strut, kind of rolling his large body side to side.   He is so odd that he is handsome!   But who could believe this bird could fly, much less be the dancer of the sea?   Yet a ballet is performed by the mighty, awkward, ungainly, and oddly constructed Pelican. 

 See the dance of the Pelican, Part II.  Photos by Green Water Films, and the story of the best ballet you may ever see by Wild Coast Vacations.   Yes, this is the dance of the Pelican, suddenly the most graceful bird of the sea.

The Pelican, Ballet of the Sea

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Whale Watching Tips

People ask, "what do I look for?"

The best way to see a whale is to find a nice place to sit.  In other words you want to sit down, relax, and stay a while!   Let your eyes adjust to the look of the ocean profile, that way you will quickly notice when it changes.
In the month of May when the females are migrating north very close to the shore, focus out about 150 - 200 feet past the breakers.  Just scan the surface of the ocean with your eyes, back and forth.  When a whale is passing by you will usually notice the spout first!   You will see water spraying straight up, and when you see this, look for the whale.  Shortly you will be able to see the body of the whale just below the surface of the water, and you will see glimpses of her back as she swims in the rocking fashion.

If you are lucky, you may see the whale and her calf (sometimes several of both) stop and play, roll, dive, and even peek up out of the water to see what is above the surface of the ocean.   That is the special part of whale watching, and there are some known areas where this happens frequently.  Often they have a favorite place along the shoreline where the water is shallow and they can scrape along the bottom sand.  These are the spots that are the most fun for whale watchers because you can often see the whole body of the whale and even see some great maneuvers from time to time.

I usually see the whales in the late afternoon / early evening.  I think this is because the water is often very calm at that time, and the surface is like glass.  It is much easier to see the ripples and dimpled surface that sometimes happens when a whale is spending a little bit of time in that spot.  But your eye can catch the sight of a spout or a large black area just under the water when the sea is glass-like.

It is a waiting game to see a whale, so best to settle down in the early evening and just wait.  Hopefully your patience will be rewarded!   There is something rather mystical about seeing the huge creatures gliding effortlessly over and through the water, especially in May when they are often so close to shore.  You realize why so many books, songs, poems, and paintings speak of the whale and the awesome sight of one of these amazing creatures.

Good luck, and in this second week of May I have seen one whale off of Nesika Beach, very close to shore, and two in Yachats, just a little bit further out, but these two performed all kinds of movements for me from rolling, slapping the water with that huge tail and more.  Yes, after all these years it still takes my breath away, and makes me feel that something just a little bit special has happened to me that day.

Come to the coast in May, and stay at one of our wonderful homes, at Wild Coast Vacations by the sea.

Monday, May 9, 2011


May on the coast of Oregon:

Gold Beach annual WINE, ART, AND MUSIC FESTIVAL is Saturday May 14 from 11-7, and Sunday May 15 from noon - 5.    Come on over for this fun event, and take advantage of the WHALE OF A SPECIAL, read about it at the bottom of this post.

Mid May watch for the whales!   Mid May is the time we often see the female whales with their offspring, heading north for the summer.   This is one of my favorite whale watching times because during this trip the female whales hug the coastline, making up-close and special viewings.

From my own backyard I have seen whales so close that I could almost (it seems) reach out and touch them.  I live along the beach in Nesika Beach, where the whales swim so close to shore and in such shallow water.  You can see the detail of their body, you can see the mother and the calf, you can see as they roll over and play, when they swat their tail on the water, when they dive to feed.   It is hard to get a photo of this experience  because it is fleeting, and you never know when they will appear.  But above is one shot I managed to get of the female peering above the water.

Come to the coast to witness this very special whale migration, I will give you a location where I often see whales very close to shore.  Ask for the Whale of a Special, with weekday discounts of up to 20% (depends on the house) and weekend discount of up to 15% between good whale watching dates of May 5 through May 21.   Bring a canned food for our local foodbank to take advantage of this Special!   (See website for details).

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hummingbird Migration over the coast


Coming this week
The hummingbird migration up the coast.  Read about our last year migration, where thousands of tiny hummingbirds flew along the coastline heading north, just at tree level, and made quite a mad dash up the southern Oregon coast.  Here in Gold Beach Oregon we are waiting for their arrival in the next days.

The 2010 Hummingbird migration lasted for two full days. 
From early morning until almost dark on April 8 and April 9, hundreds of Hummingbirds migrated north along the coast.  From my yard, I watched these tiny bullet birds whiz past my deck.   A few stopped for a drink of the flowers I put out (not much was blooming just yet) but most zoomed by at unbelievable speeds, barely lifting over the shore pine, and then dropping to probably about 8 feet above the grass as they flew north.  The flight started around 8 am and continued all day long until near dark. 

This Hummingbird stopped to investigate the flowers I put on the deck, most of the birds few right on by, but I did get quite a few to stop and take a sip before they went back to their journey.  They seem to fly at unbelievable speeds, as the eye cannot even focus on the bird as he flies past the yard.  It was only when a few were able to stop for a very short visit that I could be sure they were actually hummingbirds!

Flying just over the Hummingbirds, were hundreds of Swallows heading north, as well as a small yellow bird I am not sure about, and something that looked like Starlings.  I also saw one V of geese later in the day as well.

Wild Coast Vacations
NEXT MIGRATION to watch for:

2011 migration should be this week!

Hummingbird Migration

Thursday, March 31, 2011


Enjoy our new videos, these are coming to us from Green Water Films, and we have several already posted on the website, l
The Home page offers a wonderful video of our local coastline.  You will be amazed at the serenity of the beaches on the southern Oregon coast.  Sprinkled in with the many tiny beach towns of Brookings, Gold Beach, Port Orford and Bandon, are miles of wild shore.  The landscape varies from the level wide sand beaches where you can park and walk right out to miles of wide sand beach. 

Drive a little bit further on Hwy 101 and you will find yourself 75 or 80 feet above the ocean on a bluff overlooking the sea.  From these special locations you can see the coastline as it stretches from south to north, and in many places watch the spectacular sight of the waves hitting the huge rocks below,sending the water 30 feet into the air!

Along the way you can explore several famous rivers, one of the most famous being the Rogue River at Gold Beach Oregon.  This river plays a part in many novels, and is substantially unchanged today from what it was many years past.  Wildlife still roams the shores of our rivers, and with some sight to conservation, fish still swim the rivers to the sea.

All along this coast you will see the many diverse trees, wildflowers, and wildlife.  It is an adventure worth taking simply to observe nature as it once was, and still is in parts of the southern Oregon coast. 

Come, stay with us in tiny Gold Beach, just on the shores of the Pacific ocean.  We have some wonderful homes for you to choose from to make sure you have a vacation worth remembering forever.  Come and visit, and leave only your footprints for us to remember you by.

Wild Coast Vacations

Monday, February 14, 2011

Wild Coast Vacations Video Opportunities

Enjoy the following videos.   They will give you a great overview of Gold Beach and the houses.
Meet Wild Coast Vacations!

This is the narrated house tour (base rate $225)

This is the non-narrated house tour (base rate $150)

This is The Sandpiper.  Another beautiful vacation home available for rent