When Yumi and I arrived at the sediment pond in the artificial spawning habitat on Byrne Creek in southeast Burnaby today on our weekly salmon spawner patrol, a heron struggled into the air, two rotund cormorants plunged off of the concrete lip at the lower end and into the pond, and a kingfisher chattered at us angrily.
We saw a couple of dead cutthroat on the bottom of the pond in the 25-30cm range and for a heart-stopping moment we thought there may have been another fish kill, but we finally saw a couple of live trout as well.
The two cormorants refused to fly -- they simply dove under and swam from end to end depending on where we moved to, and we finally surmised that perhaps they had gorged themselves on trout to the point that they were having trouble getting airborne. The big schools of trout were all gone, perhaps they skedaddled downstream when they came under protracted attacks from all the fishing birds. Maybe the birds had killed the large trout and then had been unable to swallow them? Or they were finally full?
(Note: By "refusing to fly" I don't mean that we were trying to drive the cormorants off -- we were being as non-threatening as possible and just observing -- I've just never gotten that close to cormorants before!)
Note: the apparently different colouring on the bottom bird is just a matter of lighting and exposure.Posted by Paul at December 26, 2007 07:32 PM