Surf Scoters wash up dead on ocean beaches – Seattle Times

9/14 Seattle Times
About 100 dead or sick sea ducks found at Kalaloch, LaPush beaches
By Jonathan Martin
Seattle Times staff reporter

Researchers have found at least 100 dead or sick sea ducks on two Northwest Washington beaches since Friday, likely due to a bloom of toxic algae in the coastal waters.

The bird kill appears to be mostly afflicting two specific breeds of sea ducks — the white-winged scoter and the surf scoter — that eat shellfish. The kill also appears to have hit only the Kalaloch and LaPush beaches, said Julia Parrish, executive director of Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST), a citizen science project from the University of Washington.

“We’re seeing dead and almost dead birds and in huge numbers,” said Parish, director of UW’s Environmental Studies Department. “If you go to outer coast beaches, you might normally see one dead scoter in a kilometer. We’re seeing more than 100, and reports that some are staggering around.”

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