Beached starfish carpet island sand

Walkers discovered spectacular if sad sight of hundreds of dead sea creatures

Hundreds of starfish were washed up on a beach on an island off the French coast at the weekend.

The spectacular sight on a beach near Saint-Trojan, on popular tourist destination île d'Oléron, was discovered by walkers and posted on the Facebook page of environmental association Maison de la nature de l'île d'Oléron

The picture shows a part of hundreds and hundreds of dead starfish on the sand. A spectacular phenomenon that is quite common on the island. It has been seen in 2008, 2011 and 2015 on the island's coastline.

The association suspects that strong winds from last week's storm that brought blizzard conditions to much of France prompted the incident.

"We see it especially in winter and during storms," one Internet user said. "Strong currents stall starfish that become stunned by low temperatures and have difficulty connecting to the seabed. The current and tides carry them to the coast."

Last week, 11 dolphins were found stranded on the coast of Basque-Landes in the middle of a storm.

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