You often hear it on the local VHF radio talk.

“There’s lotsa marine life up XX inlet, just past XXX Cove”.  All the locals here know that’s a sure sign of a herring activity in the area.  We’re quantify this well known “spawn effect” by counting the total abundance of birds and marine and terrestrial mammals at our sites every time we sample there.  We can compare these numbers to sites without spawn, which seem empty compared to the high abundance of eagles, gulls, sea lions and occasionally the lone wolf or bear, that we count at the spawn sites.

This year, at first, it seemed like we were seeing far fewer birds associated with spawning (compared to what we saw last year).  But, of late, down at our Southern sites, like Kwakume Inlet, the birds and sea lions have arrived in large numbers following the spawn! When the herring were spawning the sea lions were very numerous, and the gulls and eagles were having a blast munching on herring as they left their roe and milt (spawn) on the shoreline.  Now, large rafts of surf scoters (black ducks), Canada geese and buffleheads (amongst others), have moved in.  The scoters are especially noisy and keep company with our boat tender as we visit the the underwater world of our dive transects.

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