Sometimes when I'm hiking, I come across a strange pattern in the sand...when no others are present. And I wonder why it is there?
Such events really make you think about how wind and moisture shape our landscape. It is just one more wonderful thing about the Oregon Dunes. Photo by
Dina Pavlis, Oregon Dunes, January 30, 2009.
One of the reasons I love hiking at the John Dellenback Dunes is because of the vast expanse of open dunes you find there. While European beachgrass
is visible in this photo, much of the Dellenback Dunes are not vegetated. These beautiful dunes allow for hiking up the largest dunes on our coast (see the photo on our
home page) as well as to the beach. When you go, bring lots of water, a hat and sunblock since there are no opportunities for shade and,
in some areas, the hiking can be strenuous. Dehydration and heat stroke are risks if you are not prepared. I always bring twice as much water as I think I'll need (and usually
use all of it). Bring plenty of water for your dogs as well since you are not likely to encounter creeks or ponds in summer. Photo by Dina Pavlis, John Dellenback Dunes,
September 8, 2008.
Fourth-graders from Siuslaw Elementary School spent an afternoon learning about the history, geology and topography of the Oregon Dunes.
The kids helped remove invasive plants and attended guided walks with time for exploration. In this photo, kids and teachers get a close up look at salamanders
and frogs during a guided hike. Photo by Dina Pavlis, Oregon Dunes Day Use Area, March 23, 2012.
The Common Garter Snake can be easily found on the Oregon Dunes, especially on warm, sunny days. This young snake crossed my path
during a recent hike, presenting a great photo opportunity. Common gartersnakes den up during winter, so they are usually seen during the warmer weather months.
They survive by eating frogs, earthworms, salamanders, fish and occasionally mice. Photo by Dina Pavlis, Oregon Dunes, March 24, 2012.
Wind-blown sand expands the dunes eastward by piling up against the forest. When it piles high enough, the sand slips down, burying
all in its path. Trees such as these are affectionately referred to as "Ghost Trees" and are a popular destination during guided hikes because they show the
awesome power of moving sand and give a visual explanation of how the dunes were created and continue to move. Photo by Dina Pavlis, Oregon Dunes Day Use
Area, March 23, 2012.
I was sitting in a ranger's office the other day and he made a comment to me. He said, "I immediately grasped the entire story of the Oregon Dunes the
day I walked over a fence." This picture is a great example of the awesome and unstoppable power of moving sand. Come out to the Oregon Coast and walk over a fence
and you immediately understand how the dunes were formed...by wind-blown sand moving inland and covering everything, forests, lakes, rivers, and valleys...and later, roads,
homes, farms and fences. Photo by Dina Pavlis, Dunes on the North side of Fred Meyer in Florence, Oregon, April 2, 2012.
I came across this beautiful patch of Maritime Reindeer Lichen (Cladina portentosa subspecies pacifica) during a hike a few weeks ago.
I thought it was so lovely mixed in with the other plants and elements; I couldn't resist taking a photo. Marty Stein, USFS botanist, told me that this is the same genus
as the reindeer lichen that grows on the tundra, but this species is found just along the coast from Alaska to N. California. I felt I had been given a special treat when
I realized the limited area in which it is found. Photo by Dina Pavlis, Oregon Dunes near Florence, Oregon, March 24, 2012.
I came across this Hairy Woodpecker cleaning out a nest. The female will lay between 3 and 6 eggs inside of the nest. The male
will sit on them during the night and the female during the day. After two weeks, the eggs will hatch and the babies will fledge about a month later.
Photo by Dina Pavlis, Oregon Dunes, April 22, 2012.
I believe these caterpillars will mature into Silver-spotted Tiger Moths (Lophocampa argentata), one of the more beautiful
moths found on the Oregon Dunes. Adults lay their eggs in July and August. The larvae feed until winter at which time they spin a tent-like web for shelter
and hibernate until spring. Photo by Dina Pavlis, Oregon Dunes, March 24, 2012.
On April 22 (six photos to the right of this thumbnail), I posted a photo showing a hairy woodpecker cleaning out a nest. Since then, I have been watching the nest
daily from within my home. In early May, the chicks hatched and the parents began a grueling daily grind of non-stop hunting and feeding from sun-up to sun-down. Each time they
returned to the nest, they would climb deep inside to feed the chicks. This changed during the last week of May. I noticed that the parents no longer went into the nest to feed.
Instead, they simply ducked their heads inside; the chicks must have been getting larger. On June 1, the chicks began sticking their heads out. I was able to discern by feather
patterns that there were at least three chicks (one female and two males). It is possible there were more than three because they may have looked alike. I felt lucky to get this
photo of the mother and one of the male chicks taken that first day. I wondered what he must have thought when he took that first look at the world after living in the dark for
so long? Over the next 6 days, the chicks grew much larger and their beaks lengthened to match their parents'. Then, on June 7, the chicks fledged. I thought they might hang
around for a while after coming out of the nest, but they did not. I woke up that morning and they were gone. I was sad to miss their departure, but I enjoyed watching the activity
while they were here. Photo by Dina Pavlis, Oregon Dunes, June 1, 2012.
This moss, Pogonatum urnigerum, is not only beautiful, but it has a fascinating reproduction process. The red cups are where moss sperm and egg (sexual reproduction)
come together to grow into the capsules that contain the spores (asexual reproduction) that we usually see on moss. Thanks to Marty Stein, U.S. Forest Service Botanist, for
help with identifying and providing information about this moss. Photo by Dina Pavlis, Oregon Dunes, March 24, 2012.
One of the fun things about spring and early summer is watching all the young birds heading out for their first flights. Imagine my joy at seeing a young
Hooded Merganser taking what might have been its first flight. Flying in a crazy, unsteady pattern, it circled overhead. The duck, perhaps gathering its strength
and confidence, seemed unable to fly for more than a few seconds at at time. This resulted in it stopping to rest in crazy locations, like this treetop (that my
husband estimated to be about 75 feet overhead). I sent the photo to a friend who is a biologist for the US Forest Service and she commented that she's never seen
a Hooded Merganser perch in a tree like this. Photo by Dina Pavlis, Oregon Dunes, June 1, 2012.
Hikers exit the dunes and prepare to cross Sutton Creek on their way to Baker Beach. There is no bridge at Sutton Creek, so locating a shallow area
and wading is required if you choose to cross. September 14, 2010.