Eggcellent Biomass

A Fish & Wildlife worker was seen wading into Beach Drive waters yesterday following the movements from the huge flock of Bonaparte’s gulls. He was using a small rake to sample the extent of the rare herring spawn we experienced along the shoreline a few days back. According to an excellent article from the Kitsap Sun, this type of sampling is used to measure the metric tons of biomass (herring eggs) left behind.
Some long term Beach Drive residents that have fished these local water for over 40 years could not recall ever seeing a herring spawn here. From a wider Puget Sound perspective, 2020 may prove to be the largest spawning season on record. Observers north of Bainbridge in Agate Passage spoke to some old timers for their insights
Oleyar said he’s spoken to tribal members who haven’t seen an event of this size: “Some of them have lived here for 60 years or more and they haven’t seen this before. This is pretty historic.”
For the remaining eggs that survive, let’s cross our fingers for a return visit in about 3 years or so.
Scupper, reporting for the BDB

Flock of Seagulls

Right now there are hundreds (well, a lot) of small seagulls off the shores of Emma Schmitz Viewpoint Memorial Park. One of our friends tells us they are Bonaparte’s gulls. They kind of look like a cross between a tern and a gull. Apparently they like herring eggs too!

Hat tip to Michele!

 

What’s with all the Seals and Sea Lions?

Did you get an early wake up call from the barking seals and sea lions this morning? There is a massive herring spawn taking place right now causing the light, milky patches in the sound and attracting a lot of wildlife, including seals, sea lions and eagles.


We captured this photo at Emma Schmitz Memorial Viewpoint where onlookers watched the packs of seals and sea lions take breaks from their feast. The lighter colored water is not typical. The PT Leader has a great description of what’s taking place:

“The CWI’s Anne Shaffer explained that “white water” is the colloquial term for the milt sprayed by males to fertilize the newly laid eggs.

“Scores of marine mammals and thousands of birds congregate to feed on the thick carpets of eggs laid on eelgrass and Sargassum seaweed along the shore,” Shaffer said. “The eggs are still developing but will soon hatch, marking the beginning the 2020 spring plankton season that, in turn, supports the rest of our Salish Sea food chain.”


It’s an amazing sight and I WISH my better camera was working right now.

We’ve noticed a few paddle boarders trying to get a close look at the sea lions and seals.

 

Pair of Bald Eagles


These two beautiful birds were sharing a rock in front of Emma Schmitz View Point until a pesky seagull decided to try chasing one away.

Buddhist ritual helps crabbing in Area 10

Although I’m not quite sure what the karma penalties would be for catching one of the dungy’s, it was a great sight to see this Taiwanese family repatriating 30 large crabs into Puget Sound.

The grandfather and father of the newborn (on left with mother) carefully remove bands from the claws before releasing the 30 crabs purchased from a local market.

This Buddhist ritual is meant to give good health and wellbeing to the newly born child and create harmony with nature. Pretty cool!

 

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

What the duck?!?

We spied this lone duck swimming off of Beach Drive this morning. Any idea what type it is?

Bald Eagles off Beach Drive

The other day, a bald eagle apparently decided it did not want to share it’s small fish. (At least, I think it was a small fish).

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eagles fight for lunchI watched as these two flew back and forth, landing on rocks and post off Beach Drive by Emma Schmitz View Point.

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I have a couple more photos of the eagles posted at Beach Drive Bungalow.

 

 

Meet Beach Naturalist

Want to learn more about the marine plants and animals off the shores of Beach Drive? Meet trained volunteers with the Seattle Aquarium this summer for their “Meet Beach Naturalist” program. “South Alki” is off Beach Drive south the light house – just watch for the signs. Here are the dates.

2016 beach naturalist

Pair of Common Loons

I was just telling my hubby that in the years we’ve lived here, we have seen a lonely Loon singing but not a pair.

Loon

We were thrilled this afternoon to be able to watch two Common Loons.

 

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Here are some interesting tid-bits about local Loons.

Orcas seen off of Beach Drive

What a treat to be able to watch Orcas from your back yard! I don’t recall ever seeing them this close to the shore.

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orcas Nov 10 2015
It was a real show stopper this afternoon at Emma Schmitz View Point as cars and people lined Beach Drive to catch a view of the whales.
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