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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Local Waters: Teeming With Life

It's been amazing to look into the water from the docks over the last few days. The marine life has been abundant everywhere you look. Most striking has probably been the huge schools of fish:

One evening the fish were this dense in all directions. There's only a gap at the bottom of the image because that's where the shoreline is. There must have been millions of them:

During lunch on Monday I was watching thousands of bigger fish feeding on the millions of little fish. There was a current that looked like a superhighway of the larger fish all traveling in the same direction, but a few would peel off and dart into the schools of small fish. I was bummed I didn't have my underwater video camera charged to capture a better view of it than this - the big fish in the middle on the left:

I did charge the camera, and will post some underwater video of the smaller fish that were around later in the day in a future post.  In the meantime, the still camera had to suffice to try and capture the schools of fish everywhere:

I captured a few of the fish in my net to take a few close ups. Anyone know what kind they might be?

It's not just fish out there, however. If you look closer you can find amazing things like this - crab larvae!

Last night another stunning scene unfolded. We heard it before we saw it. From off the docks all the way over to Brown Island and across a distance of several hundred yards, fish were jumping right before sunset. It sounded and looked like it was raining giant raindrops. It's hard to capture the full effect in a photo or even a video, but each of these little white splashes was a jumping fish to give you an idea of how many there were (click to see a larger view):

There were lots of gulls hanging around but it didn't look like they were able to catch any fish - they were just sitting there pondering what to do since fish were everywhere! It was hard to tell, but these looked similar to the larger fish that were preying on the small fish earlier in the day. Since the camera was out, I took a picture of the sunset from our dock too:

Back on land, this last weekend I added another year bird as cedar waxwings (161) have arrived on the island. Today I was able to get a picture of one at English Camp:

But as you can tell, my attention has been more focused on the water lately. There are whales out there too! Here's a shot of the J17 matriline on the west side of the island today:

A further testament to the thriving life in our local waters right now is that soon after the whales passed by, there was again jumping fish over a huge area of water. They filled the whole bay to the south of the Land Bank property. Let's hope this abundance continues all summer up and down the food chain. It's incredible to see!


Vera said...

Amazing blog. You are definitely living in the right place "for you"!

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Isn't the sea great! Full of life and surprises.
Your little fish looks like it could be some sort of sand eel - do you have those over there?
Will you be celebrating World Ocean Day on Saturday