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 Buffle Head squealing,growling and eating. The resulting painting tells the tale.
The Chinook Salmon: Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
The Chinook, also known as The King, has always been an important food fish; the average weighing 126lbs. (57.2kg.) and measuring up to 4 feet 10 inches (1.6 m.) 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 rivers bottom. 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 rolled for in uncountable volumes until they became endangered. Now new controls and standards we hope are slowly bringing populations back up.
The Herring Gull: Larus argentatus
First year birds have mostly dark tail and extensive brown on body, adults have pale gray upper side, black wingtips and pink legs. Hybridizes extensively with Glaucous-winged gull. Forages 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 so gather in large numbers during the herring run. They are our smallest duck. They are common to our lakes, harbours and bays.