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Welcome home Salmon.

October 12, 2011

It has been raining for the last week, and today the sun came out in the afternoon, brightening up the world after several days of dreary, grey clouds. The trees are starting to turn colours, and the squirrels are busier then ever gather whatever food that they can find to store or eat on the spot. I was hoping that my sunflowers would last until Halloween, but they were eaten a few weeks ago.
Today I went for a walk along creek that runs through the forest next to my house. My father is visiting from out-of-town, and we thought it would be a nice stroll to walk up the path, over the foot bridge and see if we could spot some fish. Last month, when my husband’s father was visiting we went on the walk and saw the little fish fry looking for food. They were about the size of your little finger, and were very busy darting at anything that broke the surface. We brought some aphids that had infested my lettuce, and the little fish were able to gorge on the bugs that we knocked into the stream. I hope that gave them extra energy, since they are off to the ocean now, because on our trip today they were gone.
Even though the fry are gone, our stream still has some fish. The adult fish have returned for spawning. Our particular stream has Coho and Chum salmon. The hatched, baby salmon remain in the stream until the fall, and then leave in groups, on their way to the ocean where they will spend 3-5 years growing, some as long as 7 years. When it is time for them to reproduce they use their sense of smell to find their way back to the stream where they were spawned to mate and start the next generation before they die. The fish carcasses fertilize the stream area, giving back to their home that will support the baby salmon.  Just don’t breathe too deeply then.
We stopped to watch some fish hanging around a small waterfall, a smaller female and two males.  The female was hanging around just at the top of the little falls and the males were competing with each other for her time.  The larger of the two males clearly had more time with her, and even nipped at the tail of the smaller one when he got too close.  I liked the smaller guy, he had a pattern of a bow tie on his head, and he kept trying.  Sort of a geek fish.  Hopefully there will be more ladies coming soon.

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