A recent northern lampfish die-off in nearby ocean waters caused thousands of the tiny fish to wash up on the shores of Taiya Inlet bays last week, bringing in more than 30,700 birds, according to one count by a Skagway Bird Club member. The biggest group represented was an estimated 28,000 glaucous-winged gulls. A few hundred of them are seen taking flight above. Other varieties of gulls were recorded, several ducks, a few eagles and the first group of four trumpeter swans seen right in the Taiya River taking a break from feeding. According to some nature websites, lampfish die-offs usually are a result of oxygen-deprived phytoplankton not being available on the surface where lampfish feed, due to some kind of winter storm. This is the second time this decade that this has happened, preceding the annual migration of eulachon and birds in early May.
The Skagway News is always on the lookout for interesting photos from the community.
Send pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org. PHOTOS BY JEFF BRADY