The "point in time" salmon numbers? Turns out its not just a fluke, and also not just a local phenomenon here in the San Juans. The Oregonian reported today that Columbia River sockeye are unexpectedly experiencing the highest returns since 1955. Some runs are 25 times larger than the average over the last decade, and some fish are amazingly traveling more than 450 miles and over eight dams to reach spawning grounds in Idaho. While celebration is in order (these fish are showing the survival capabilities that have allowed them to thrive in the northwest over the last 10,000 years), the news has also immediately sparked a political debate about why these runs have been so successful. While some cite improved ocean conditions, others jump on the fact that Judge Redden (see the "Dam It" post) ordered increased water flow over the dams when these particular adult salmon were smolts. It will be interesting to see if these runs aid the salmon's cause in current court trials.
As for my intuitions on rhinoceros auklets, the news isn't as great. Last night I attended Joe Gaydo's lecture at The Whale Museum, and he indicated that the common feeling is that rhino auklet numbers are down. Coincidentally, this was the one species he wasn't able to provide historic data for, since that data "went missing" with one researcher's retirement. I will post more facts and thoughts from Dr. Gaydos' lecture in the near future.