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Mile 334 Report
October 11, 2010
A splendid autumn morning near low tide.
A splendid autumn morning near low tide. We immediately noted that sections of the surf inner zone were a deep chocolate brown, and on closer inspection saw the surface of the discolored water was covered with large bubbles. A diatom bloom! The strand in the intertidal zone was likewise coated with algae. Curiously, the bloom appeared patchy along the beach, with the algae concentrated in 100-300 m sections interspaced by seemingly algae-free areas (judging by color of the breakers). I’ve learned from ODFW that it was a bloom of Asterionellopsis sociallis, non-toxic and good clam food. The debris in the strand line was relatively litter-free save for a few plastic bottles. It was composed of large wood, Nereocystis stipes, and a lot of eelgrass (Zostera marina). It was odd to see so much estuarine eelgrass on the beach as the Columbia estuary is not thought to highly productive. Likely exported from Willapa or elsewhere. We came across six recently killed common murres, four of which had had their breast meat consumed. A pair of ravens we spied may have been doing the scavenging. Flying overhead were ~15 geese and a few gulls.
Temperature: 70 F. Cloud Cover: Sunny. Wind Velocity: Calm/Light.
Wood cutting within a tide.
A pair of Ravens
Total dead birds: 8. 7 murres, 6 recently dead and being scavenged. The other was skeletal. 1 puffin? very decayed.
Seaweeds and seagrass, Wood pieces. eelgrass
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One dead adult Ochre Sea Star was found, with no evidence of wasting.
Merce and Michael