Odd visitors in local waters a deep mystery

by Tim Flanagan on June 28, 2011

Craig Welch has the story in the Seattle Times:

OCEAN SUNFISH Found locally: 1997 off Cape Flattery; Natural habitat: Warm and temperate waters [OCEAN SUNFISH Found locally: 1997 off Cape Flattery; Natural habitat: Warm and temperate waters. ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES]

There was the brown booby, emergency the plunge-diving tropical seabird that inexplicably hopped aboard a crab boat this spring in Willapa Bay.

And fishermen have caught spear-snouted striped marlin off the Washington coast and a 6-foot leopard shark in Bellingham Bay. The shark, in particular, is hardly ever seen north of Coos Bay, Ore.

Even Bryde’s whales, which normally range from Chile to northern Mexico, have washed up dead on southern Puget Sound beaches. Twice. Just since early 2010.

The unusual visit last week of two long-beaked dolphins to waters outside Olympia was just the latest in a string of strange animal sightings in and around Pacific Northwest waters. Lots of creatures that at first glance might not seem to belong have found their way here in recent years.

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