With the arrival of so many new island neighbours and a lot of blog readers who weren’t following the blog during our last really good herring spawn, I thought I would provide some information which might excite you for what may come again. Cross your fingers the spring of 2021 will provide another great nature show. With all the crazy that is going on in our world, we could use something to look forward to. A reward if you will.
This spring it will have been seven years since the last really good herring spawn around this island. A number of times in the last week we have tried to explain to newcomers what to watch for and how really exciting that time was here. It is very hard to describe, but here is a summary of our experience from 2014.
What we have observed from the 2014 herring spawn (our first) is as follows.. It is not meant to be scientific in any way but for our record.
March 21 – We saw schools of herring below our deck and watched them release eggs which floated to the surface
March 28 – Pacific White sided dolphins swam below the deck presumably here for the herring
April 2 – Spawn in the waters opposite our house on neighbouring island. Eggs visible on the kelp, water white with milt, Gulls and eagles feasting on herring pushed to the surface by hundreds of sea lions
April 6– Pod of Orca (5) follow the spawn through the Narrows past our house. April 8 – Milt in the water north of our marina.
April 9 – Spawn outside of south Marine Park… Lots and lots of eagles
April 10 – Milt appears in our south bay.. begins in front of the family house and spreads across the bay. By early evening it filled the bay and the shore off the Point.. The bay next to us completely is white also by the time we went home.
April 13 – Marine Park full of eagles and sea lions… Our sister-in-law woke up in the family house to an episode of the national geographic in the south bay. Over fifty eagles, and as many otter, sea lions and seals feeding on the spawn. It continued for the next two days
April 20 – Hundreds of herring gulls and sea gulls remain on the beaches at the south end. Fields of Scoters hang around on the water for over ten days just off shore.
There has been some question of the route the herring follow.. There are those in the camp who say the herring come from the north, moving south… as we witnessed with the spawn and others who say the herring move north… E’s dad was of the opinion they moved north. I would never argue with him. Especially as he spent most of his career with the DFO. So I looked it up in on the google… I attach for your interest….. Herring Migratory Behavior
It seems the herring feed in the fall and winter off the west coast of Vancouver Island and then move north up the Georgia Straight, past us, to then spend the spring spawning and moving back down south. It seems everyone was right
I am confident that very few of you have followed this blog since the beginning in 2010 and even fewer have later joined and then read it from the beginning. You could call it laziness that I am just repeating an entry from six years ago but I figure few of
you will notice