Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Chow Time

I was down at the harbor the other day to get a picture of Floyd Peterson. I wanted to get out of the house for awhile because it was sunny outside and I wanted to get the stink blown off. As I was driving around I happened to notice Floyd's boat drifting close to Graveyard Island with a pretty good sized flock of seagulls hanging around the stern. I had heard that there were a few kings around, so I figured he got his share. I went down to wait for him to come in and tie up. While I was there I noticed a lot of activity in the area around the floats. The gulls were agitated and there were a few eagles perched on the trolling poles of some of the boats. There was quite a large flock of Mergansers swimming in the harbor also. They are fish eating ducks, so in all my brilliance, I deduced that there must be some reason for the interest. As I was walking down the ramp I could see the dark line in the water that separated empty water from that which was teeming with life. For whatever reason there was a tremendous shoal of fish inside the basin and it had caught the attention of the birds. I'm not sure how much success any of them had reaching the herring. They were several feet down but because the water was so clear, they stood out like a sore thumb. I can understand the frustration of the gulls- how often have I been surrounded by fish jumping, swimming so close to the boat I can see them just under the surface, and yet not a strike. I think the only bird to have any luck at all was a kingfisher that was perched on an electrical line. I wanted to get a picture of him, but when I got close he just screeched and took off. Probably too busy eating to take time with me. I can't blame him. It seems awful early to have herring hanging around, but if they're here, you can bet that everything that eats them will show up. This is just a smattering of the innumerable herring that I saw that day. The contrast didn't show up at all when I tried to get a picture of them until I passed by the Don A where they stood out against the green backround of the bottom. I think I should name the gull in the bottom picture Tom. He just stood there looking at all the fish right below him with no way to get them. He looks kind of sad doesn't he? I know the feeling buddy. Don't feel too bad for him though. I'm sure he gets plenty to eat. I've watched the gulls in the winter pull small starfish off the pilings and swallow them. It looks pretty painful. You can see it as it slowly works its way down his throat. They just keep swallowing and swallowing until it finally reaches their gut. I would imagine that a starfish wouldn't be any too tasty. I don't know of anything else that eats them. Not much meat on 'em. It would seem like they'd be pretty hard too, but when times are tough, the tough eat starfish.

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