A Chinook Herring Run Tale


As I walked along the beach during the Pacific Herring run thinking of the Chinook and their dwindling population (and the resulting dwindling population of the orcas), I observed the Pacific Herring gulls standing along the shore all facing south eating their fill. Out farther were hundreds of Bufflehead squealing, growling and eating. The resulting painting tells the tale.

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The Chinook Salmon: Oncorhynchus tshawytscha

The Chinook, also known as King salmon, has always been an important food fish; the average weighing 126lb. and measuring almost five feet long. They are found near the surface and at mid-depths in the Pacific Ocean from Bering Strait to Southern California, being most abundant in the Pacific Northwest. These salmon spawn in large rivers, digging holes and burying their bright red eggs in the gravel on the river bottoms. The eggs were made into cakes and dried by the indigenous peoples, then eaten as a delicacy in the winter. Popular angling fish, they have also been commercially trolled for in uncountable volumes until they became endangered. Now, with new controls and standards we hope populations will slowly increase.

The Herring Gull: Larus argentatus

First year birds have mostly dark tails and extensive brown on the body. Adults have pale gray uppersides, black wingtips and pink legs. They have been hybridized extensively with the Glaucous-winged gull. They forage for fish and other animal prey mostly scavenged primarily on the water though you will find them at garbage dumps.

Bufflehead: Bucephala albeola

These funny looking birds nest in tree cavities near ponds and rivers. Usually small flocks gather in large numbers during the herring run. They are our smallest duck and are common to our lakes, harbors and bays.

Additional information

Original or Print

Original Watercolour Painting, Giclee Print – double matted, Giclee Print – unmatted, Art Card