Monday, November 02, 2009
The Basics of Life - Sex and Death
We skipped kayaking yesterday and instead we drove just out of town to Goldstream Provincial Park to watch the final act in one of nature's most amazing migrations.
These are Chum salmon in the last few days of their short six or seven year lives heading upstream to spawn, and then die. While some salmon swim upstream upwards of 3200 km as in the Yukon River, these fish only have to swim a few kilometers from the river's mouth on Saanich Inlet (where we've kayaked a few times) up the river to their spawning grounds.
In places the river was so thick with salmon you could almost imagine being able to walk across on their backs. About 30,000 chum made into the river last year and their numbers are slowly increasing, although other species are in decline. One species had only 3 salmon make into the river last year.
The run has just started, so there aren't too many dead fish around yet and the birds and other wildlife haven't started their feast.
No, this is not a rainbow trout. At the Goldstream Park Nature House, this salmon was being used to make fish prints. Paint the fish, wrap it in paper, and violà -- instant art!
We ended our visit with a short hike to Little Niagara Falls.