Saturday, May 02, 2009

Mowing the Fish

There's a new webcam at La Push. It looks west, across the river channel and out between the islands to the endless ocean. Next landfall Japan, as they say in Tofino.

Webcam at the mouth of the river. Now. (Click for larger image.)
Webcam at the mouth of the river. Yesterday. (Click for larger image.)

So yesterday I was exactly there, looking just to the right of the image, watching sea lions, a whole bunch of sea lions, fishing in the river. Local guys would pull up, watch for a while, and agree with each other profanely (at least) that the sea lions were mowing the fish, catching all the fish. These huge fat critters would come up with a fish in their mouth, toss their head around a bit to rearrange the fish, then gobble it down. One of the less inebriated guys told me the fish were probably king salmon.

The sea lions were enormous, and vocal, and lunging around catching fish. Inbetween fishing episodes they spent time hanging a front or back flipper or both up in the air. Thermoregulating (1)(2).

I tried to see enough characteristics to be able to look up and find out what they were. Steller's, I decided last night, studying Folkens. (I needn't be right, but the California sea lions' heads seem different...

No whales, one eagle (heard a couple of others). There were sea lions close in at First Beach, too. One particularly, spending most of his time hanging an enormous back flipper up in the air, and a front flipper, and sticking his head up now and again. It was shirt-sleeve weather, and the surf was calm. I read my book.

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