Late in October, COASST reported algal bloom resurgent, distressed birds and dead birds and lingering brown foam on the beaches to the south on the Long Beach Peninsula; and to the north, MS's email said, "Birds on the north beaches alive on 20-22 October but by 23-25 October only a few alive on the beaches. The counts are between 50 to 60 dead on each of the 3 major beaches in the north (Hobuck, Sooes and Shi Shi). Species about 50:50 red-throated loons and common murres on Hobuck and then almost entirely common murres on Sooes and Shi Shi."
So I was sent on October 31 to Kalaloch North to survey with a writer preparing an article for High Country News. The idea was he would see actual handling of dead birds by amateur citizen scientist (me).
Last Tuesday when I was out with Rocco at Rialto there had been quite a lot of foam, calf-deep at one spot; but no birds. It seemed likely that further to the south we'd have birds to work. It rained all Friday night, the Sol Duc River as we drove over its bridges en route west and south was really fluffed up, high and muddy. We thought, 'Working in the rain, storm surf, dunes of foam, more birds than we can handle...' But instead we had sunshine, a beach swept by high tide, very little foam (1)(2), and no distressed or dead birds. (I was glad, but not so good for EW's article about COASST.)
Near the mouth of Kalaloch Creek we were chased up into the drift by a tide that didn't seem to know it was supposed to be going out and instead was getting higher. We retreated up one of the beach access trails, and came down again at our start point. We looked fairly thoroughly, and picked up a lot of trash on our return from the north end of the beach. No birds. By then the tide really was going out. There was the wide flat Kalaloch Beach to examine, but the retreating tide left us no beached bird offerings in the surf line.
EW spotted a peregrine falcon. There was a group of happy live scoters out in the surf. It began to cloud up. Gulls stood around. We headed home.