Saturday was a day for a recreational paddle on Beaver Lake. It's a sheltered lake, a small end of a roughly figure-eight shaped lake still known by two names: Elk Lake for the big loop where the rowing sculls zoom about, and Beaver Lake for the small loop where the speed of boats is generally much lower. (Yeah, yeah, they've been one lake for a hundred years since Colquitz Creek was dammed to raise the water level when this was the resevoir for Victoria. We still think of them as two lakes. Go figure.)
It was a mild winter day, so I paddled in regular clothes... well, if River Pants from MEC and an Icebreaker merino shirt qualify as "regular" then I was in civvy clothes. Actually, I wear them a lot in the winter, so there! I also took the small inflatable kayak rather than my lovely sea kayak, because I wanted to be able to take the bus home. The Necky kayak doesn't fit on the bike rack on the front of the bus, alas.
Out on the water, I noticed a flock of over a hundred coots sitting on the water. It was easy to give them lots of room, and on my way back from admiring some birds' nests and a cormorant perch at the mouth of Elk Lake, I saw the coots again. Now they were splashing with their wings, one or two birds at a time and usually at the edges of their big flotilla.
What were they up to?
After a few minutes of drifting and observing their ducking heads and splashing wings, it seemed clear that the coots were following a school of little fish and chasing the fish into the centre of their group. As the coots milled around, everybody got a chance to dip in and take a fish. I couldn't tell what kind of fish were being caught, just that they were small fingerlings.
What a day to forget my camera!