Tag Archives: sea lions

Help Arrives

 

Early yesterday morning, the skies were clear with a hint of spring in the fresh air. Our neighbours’ willow tree was welcoming a change of seasons. I had taken the dogs out into the yard. As I stood, enjoying the stillness, I realized it wasn’t still at all. Two sea lions called to each other, perhaps to claim their territory among the schools of herring  off the nearby beach. I love the deep sound of their barking, “OW! OW! OW!” I smiled to think that they were back to visit for a while. I know the herring fishermen don’t smile to see or hear them, but …

Before I could stop smiling, I heard, for the first time this year, a Eurasian collared dove calling from a stand of trees nearby.

Yes, spring is coming! Then a robin called its urgent pipping song, and a rufus-sided towhee added his two cents’ worth, asking, “ME? … ME?”

Later in the morning it was time to clean up the yard for the fourth time, after yet another windstorm. As I raked, I came across a circle of tufts of fur lying on the grass in the same place as the feathers of an eaten seabird lay a few months before. Both were under a tall fir –  the favourite tree stand for birds of prey, especially eagles and owls. These birds sit quietly and watch for their dinner to pass by underneath.

Ruby sees the rabbit fur and is most likely thinking about what probably happened here.

Will you look at that? No way he survived that much hair loss.

Ruby is shocked. She ponders the implications of losing a rabbit at this time of year.

Will there be an Easter? Who will paint the eggs and hide them?

But just as the sun was sending its last warm rays to light the underside of the clouds, I looked towards the hedge and saw ….

Reinforcements! He stands bravely under the killing tree and announces to the world:

Easter will go ahead as planned. And you owls, listen up. You can NEVER kill us all. Where there are two rabbits, there will soon be two thousand.

“Now if you’ll excuse me,” he says, “it’s less than a month until Easter and I have some serious work to do.”

Herring Time

When the herring roe fishery happens each spring on the BC Coast, the seine boats and herring skiffs congregate close to shore because that is where the herring can be intercepted as they rush the beach to spawn. At night when the boats have their anchor lights on, it looks like a floating city just offshore.

Sea lions and seagulls and eagles patrol the area in hope of some tasty bites.

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Photo courtesy of P. Knettig

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It’s a bluebird day. Hard to believe it was rough and windy just a couple of days ago. Still it was fishable and the herring filled the seine nets. Then disaster struck as an extra heavy net caused a boat to list  and not recover. The fishing community lost a fellow fisherman. His brother is quoted on CTV News:

“They had a really big set. The boat was listing and Mel went down into the engine room to turn the pumps on, and while he was down there the boat rolled over.”

It brings home to all of us once again, how dangerous fishing is. While the fleet mourns the loss of one of their own, the fishery goes on, as it must. The pretty night lights, and the bluebird daytime sky and sea belie the sombre mood and the heavy hearts of the fishing fleet.

Fanny Bay Sea Lions

A while back, I posted another sea lion article. It was closer to herring time, early spring. March 4, 2015. In that post, I talked about the kinds of sea lions we have and why they are here. If you would like to have another look at it, click here.

So today I was driving by the same location, but there were fewer sea lions. Only a dozen of them this time. Still, it was a photo op and I couldn’t resist. Here they are lying on the big floating tanks that serve as a breakwater just out from the fishermen’s wharf at Fanny Bay on Vancouver Island.

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The one on the far left has an itch he’s trying to scratch.

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The same fellow is sitting up tall and is about to do an amazing back bend

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Can you do that? Lean back and give your fanny a kiss?

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The old bull with the white face is deep asleep, drooling, and dreaming of salmon he’ll steal right off the hooks of the commercial fishermen. If he only knew that his buddies  up north in Haida Gwaii were already having a smorgasbord orgy, he might get up and start making his way up there. Reports are that the fishing guides are frustrated because their customers can’t land a fish. The sea lions are there to take the spring salmon off the fishing lines as soon as the sporties hook one.

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But maybe ignorance is bliss.

What is contentment, you ask? You’re looking at it!