Mile 117 Report

December 4, 2010
by Pat&RobertaSmit

Cape Arago, Drake Point, North Cove
Saturday 12:08 PM
55° F
Humans / Pets:
Walking / Running:
Cars/Trucks parking:
Activity Comments:
Notable Wildlife:
Sea Lions,Black Oystercatchers
Dead Birds:
Fish & Invertebrates:
Unable to access North Cove due to muddy, slippery conditions
New Development:
Natural Changes:
Had to observe from the cliff tops owing to very muddy, slippery approaches to the North Cove. Sea lions and Black Oystercathers in the cove. Nine people walking the headlands. Nothing unusual to report.
Other Mile 117 Reports (16)


October 19, 2014 - Jhorse
North Cove of Cape Arago was fairly clean of debris other than boat hull on north end. Did remove laundry basket, crab bait basket, water bottle, beer can and piece of flat plastic. Not bad on the...


December 17, 2011 - Pat&RobertaSmit
Not much to report. In the North Cove: more sand on the inshore rocks than previously; thick accumulations of eel grass as well as shells, animal casings, small rocks, wood pieces in the wrackline....
August 7, 2011 - Pat&RobertaSmit
Here’s how things went: As we clamber down into the North Cove, a magnificent Osprey rises from the water right under our noses. Any closer and we’d have felt the draft from her wings. Once we...
  • Heading down to the North Cove for the quarterly survey
  • Osprey with Fish
  • Osprey with Fish
  • The Osprey battled to gain height intially. Since the fish is fairly small, I assume the water in its feathers was a contributing factor. At this point it shook rather like a dog. I hope you can see the drops of water flying from its feathers.
  • This Osprey didn't really do any fishing but just sat there with an occasional circuit out over the water.
  • Once Diligent had a fish, Lazy perked up and started chasing after her.
  • I guess Lazy was trying to get Diligent to drop her fish.
June 19, 2011 - Pat&RobertaSmit
The tide was very low indeed (photos 1&2). Lots of people on the cliffs, but only two on the beach in the North Cove. Checking for possible injured or dead birds and mammals in the North Cove,...
  • Shell Island is just visible on the left at the end of the exposed rocks leading out into the sea.
  • Shell Island as seen from the beach in the North Cove. Very low tide has exposed seaweed-covered rocks.
  • Mossy Chiton surrounded by closed Green Anemonies, Acorn Barnacles, one or two limpets.
  • Aggregating Anemones in the sand at North Cove of Cape Arago.
  • Turkey Vulture on the beach in the North Cove at Cape Arago.
  • We might not have noticed this Northern Elephant Seal if it had not periodically thrown up sand to cover its body.
March 6, 2011 - Pat&RobertaSmit
Not much activity. Also could not access the beach in the North Cove because it is closed for the pupping season. Saw plenty of Harbour Seals floating in the North Cove with only their heads above...


September 19, 2010 - Pat&RobertaSmit
Two dead sea lions in the North Cove (reported to Stranding Network), otherwise nothing unusual. Lots of noisy sea lions out on Simpson's Reef, and quite a few Harbor Seals swimming about in the...
  • The sea lions were rather far off, but the photo shows there are lots of them.
  • These seals are very curious. Sometimes they'll come quite close just to watch what you are up to.
  • The Harlequin Ducks show up after the summer. These ones were rather far away so you can't see the lovely colors too well, but as you can see there was quite a large group of them on the rocks.
  • The Black Oystercatchers seem to gather here in groups after the breeding season is over.
  • The Center Cove at Cape Arago is accessible but not that easily. We usually examine it from the cliffs above, although we do go down occasionally.
June 20, 2010 - Pat&RobertaSmit
The North Cove is closed in the Spring during the Harbor Seal and Elephant Seal pupping season, so we were not able to walk the beach. Nothing much to see from the cliffs. Using binoculars, we saw no...
February 20, 2010 - Pat&RobertaSmit
NORTH COVE: Evidence of new erosion in the form of small slides with mud and stones covering some of the driftwood logs on the beach. Minimal driftline with almost no seaweed. More sand over the...
  • Juvenile Sea Lion. Cape Arago, North Cove
  • Cape Arago, North Cove. This Sea Lion sat almost unmoving for the hour or so we were in the north cove.
  • Cape Arago, North Cove


December 20, 2009 - Pat&RobertaSmit
Winter storms have cleared away the seaweed driftline. There were, of course, the usual big logs. The sea lions that usually inhabit Simpson's Reef were all close in shore in large groups, both on...
  • We've never seen such large numbers of sea lions floating about in the North Cove. Most of them are usually out on Simpson's Reef or on the headland at the southern end of the cove.
  • Shows the headland of the North Cove with Simpson's Reef in the background. Lots of sea lions on the headland rocks.
  • The Sea Lions' usual beach is flooded. Perhaps this is why they are mostly in the Cape Arago North Cove
  • The Black Oystercatchers gather here in groups in the winter months. The birds with lighter, shorter beaks are juvenile birds.  The adults look exactly like the ones we have seen in South Africa except those have red legs as well as red beaks.
September 20, 2009 - Pat&RobertaSmit
Unusual to find six dead sea lions in the North Cove. One had been reduced to a skeleton although the skin was still more or less intact, the others were still intact although they had clearly been...
  • There are usually two or three turkey vultures floating about above the Cape Arago North Cove. On this morning there were many more, wheeling about above the southern end of the cove.
June 14, 2009 - Pat&RobertaSmit
North Cove closed for pupping season so observations made from cliff top. There were the usual sea lions and seals on the reef; many gulls, a few pelicans; saw only two cormorants; one turkey vulture...
  • Cape Arago, North Cove from the cliffs on the way to the viewing area above the southern headland of the North Cove.
  • Sea Lions on the southern headland of the North Cove - Cape Arago
  • Bald Eagle in trees above the Cape Arago North Cove. Spotted at a distance. A bit fuzzy on account of digital zoom necessary to identify the bird.
  • Shows how the trees on the rim of the Cape Arago Middle Cove are being undermined. Next picture shows a tree fallen recently.
  • This tree obviously fell into the Cape Arago Middle Cove fairly recently. It still has some leaves.
  • Turban snails clustered round a bit of feather boa seaweed in the Cape Arago Middle Cove
  • All that remains. One small crab that didn't quite make it. (Cape Arago, Middle Cove)


November 2, 2008 - Pat&RobertaSmit
The north cove is always full of life. Harbor seals, sea lions, gulls, a variety of other birds as well from phalaropes, oyster catchers, and the odd kingfisher to a blue heron we see out on the reef...
  • The sleeping Northern Elephant Seal pup was in the north cove on the morning of October 31.
June 7, 2008 - Pat&RobertaSmit
During pupping season the North Cove is closed. In addition, the Center Cove is not easily accessible, so all observations were from the cliff tops.Seasonal bird changes include the return of Turkey...
  • The sea lion was on the rocks at the southern headland of the Cape Arago north cove. We weren't sure what it had in its mouth, but after sending the picture to Diane and Dave Bilderback, found out it was a fishing lure.
January 12, 2008 - Pat&RobertaSmit
Shells, animal casings, small rocks, wood pieces and Styrofoam in driftline. Most notably, the previously thick driftline composed mainly of seaweed has been washed away.We saw no dead sea birds and...


December 9, 2007 - Pat&RobertaSmit
During this quarter, there are usually 1 or 2 people on the North Cover beach and the most we saw was 18. Usually driftline is deep (up to 2 foot in places) and runs along most of the North Cove...
  • See a heron in the North Cove at times. This "good" photo was taken Sep 9. Included because photo taken Oct 28, in poor light, is not very good.
  • Rather grainy photo, but at least it shows the heron there on Dec. 9
  • Saw the Kingfisher on Oct 14, but this is the only photo I have of it. Taken Sep 9.
  • Pelicans in flight off the point at Cape Arago. There were several large flights of pelicans, these ones came in close to shore.
  • Harlequin ducks in the North Cove, Cape Arago. When a third male showed up, it was vigorously chased off.
  • Approx 700 golf balls found on the beach.
August 26, 2007 - Pat&RobertaSmit
The beach is only partially accessible along this mile. Most people stay on the cliffs. Heavy driftline of eel-/surfgrass and kelp in the North Cove. Animal casings, kelp/algae, small rocks, wood...
  • Found at the north end of North Cove close to the cliffs.