Published 08/08/23 at 10:41 p.m.
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff
(Seaside, Oregon) – More wild cougar action is spotted on the north Oregon coast, this time around Neskowin – at the other end of Tillamook County from where they were recently seen. On top of that extraordinary sight, Seaside gets a visit from a gray whale, feeding unusually close to the Cove area and entertaining many. (Above: photo at left Seaside Aquarium; at right courtesy Blink Home Security)
Three cougars were spotted this time, in the Oregon coast hamlet of Neskowin, which sits below Cascade Head and near Proposal Rock. See the YouTube video
The footage was caught by a Blink home security cam at 4:42 a.m. on August 5. The owners of the home remain anonymous. See Stunning Photos of Oregon Coast Cougar Incident – How’s and Why’s
This time around it was three cougars that were seen, not long after a variety of cougar sightings in Cannon Beach put that town on guard and others at Nehalem Bay caused the closure of some trails for a time. In this case, the cougars were filmed simply hanging out around the driveway of the home. The owners have told regional media that their dogs were in the fenced yard and were unharmed.
The incident follows the nationally-covered cougar sighting where a large cat was seen hanging out on Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach in mid July. That caused the entire surrounding beach to be closed down as officials waited for it leave.
Another pair of sightings a couple of weeks later caused some alarm.
Officials from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) said mountain lions are increasing in population in the Coast Range, and thus moving outward. The incident at Haystack Rock is considered a landmark first: no one had ever documented a cougar wandering onto the rock before. It was presumably looking to hunt some birds that live in fairly large numbers up top.
On Tuesday, August 8, another rare visitor wowed Seaside. Tiffany Boothe of Seaside Aquarium shot some rather amazing video of what turned out to be a gray whale feeding in the Cove area of Seaside.
There is currently a whale feeding in the Cove. The tide is coming in so the whale will probably be there for a while, especially if there is plenty to eat. If you get a chance go check it out.
There are reports of the whale being in distress or caught up in a crab trap. Thankfully, the whale is fine and is just taking advantage of the plentiful food in the area before continuing its journey. There are also a lot of pelicans doing the same thing.
Posted by Seaside Aquarium on Tuesday, August 8, 2023
That identification took a little bit of time. It was in the afternoon that Boothe got word of whale in the cove, and by then some reports on social were circulating that it was in distress, apparently struggling with being caught in a net.
Others soon reported back to Boothe that was definitely not the case.
Boothe was able to point a camera mounted on the Seaside Aquarium at the Cove, using a very powerful zoom on the scene. Through that, she caught some remarkable video of the whale spouting. The distance here is about a mile, showing off some impressive capabilities of the camera.
Seaside Aquarium / Tiffany Boothe
Both humpbacks and gray whales are known to enter the cove and linger for awhile as they chomp on plankton, shrimp and other fish. But it’s not very often, so this is considered a treat.
“This is very typical behavior for either species. While this is the tail end of their migration, if there is an ample food supply they with stick around,” Boothe told Oregon Coast Beach Connection. “This is also the time of year when humpbacks enter into the Columbia River to feed on baitfish. While they do not come into the river every year, this may be the time to keep an eye out. They’ve been known to travel up river as far east as Tongue Point.”
See Get Ready: Feeding Frenzies and Humpbacks May Be Headed for Oregon / Washington Coast
“August and September are the best months for whale watching because the surf tends to be small, making it easier to see whales, especially from shore,” she said.
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