Thursday, November 21, 2013

Frost and Fish

Yesterday, on a very cold and frosty morning, we ventured out to Goldstream Park to witness the annual salmon run. We aren't really used to these types of cold, clear days so we bundled up as best we could. Normally the salmon run make the whole park a pretty smelly place as fish who have spawned lie dead on the side of the stream. However, the very cold temperatures had frozen the dead fish so we were not subjected to the smell of decomposing salmon.

It was quite novel for April. To see these big salmon struggle against the current and from time to time exert great effort and jump over a branch or shallow spot. She was also amazed at the number of seagulls that come to feast on the remains of the salmon. I must admit they were in impressive numbers this year. We sadly only saw eagle while we were there, I guess they were outnumbered by the gulls. April asked many times why there were so many dead fish and what happened to them. We talked about how their lives are not long and how they have returned to this stream to lay eggs so their babies can be born in the spring and then pass away. They die so that other animals can eat them. Animals like eagles, gulls, bears and raccoons need food too and when the fish die they become dinner for other creatures.

As we wandered around the park, we really started to feel the cold. Luckily the nature house was the perfect escape from the frost. We checked out their displays on owls, eagles, salmon and mammals while we warmed ourselves. It is such a fun and interactive place for children. Unfortunately, we visited on the same day as several school groups so we were limited to the areas where the lectures were not.

It was finally time to pack it in and head home. Our walk back to our car was just as enjoyable. We saw many many mushrooms, small icicles, little winter wrens, a few small waterfalls and we stumbled across a small arm of the stream where some salmon were struggling in the shallows. It was great to be able to get close and watch the strength and determination of these creatures. We finally found our car and headed home. However, as with all of April's new experiences, she spent much of the rest of the day talking about salmon. Music to my nature-loving ears.

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