||My first trip
eagle-watching becomes a salmon hatchery experience, January 2001.
hearing in the Seattle Times that eagle feeding was at its peak in the Skagit,
I decided to brave the cold and go eagle watching. Jim and I packed our
lunches, hot coffee and headed to the North Cascades.
hooked up with Libbie and Lee Soden who acted as our guides to the Skagit
area. It was a typically beautiful day for January in the Washington. The
views of the Cascades were wonderful as we drove west on the North Cascades
did not take long to find hungry birds. Unfortunately, recent rains brought
the level of the Skagit River
up several feet. This means that the gravel bars that usually contain all
the salmon sushi were covered with rushing water. The gravel bars are the
sushi bars for the eagles. So we saw eagles in trees, but none feeding.
made a visit to the Marblemount Hatchery where we joined a tour hosted by
the USDA Forest Service. It was fantastic seeing how the hatchery functioned.
The salmon eggs are the bright red nodules in this photo.
smolt and fry live at the hatchery until they have a good chance at life
in natural world. I learned that the hatchery fish and wild fish are distinquished
by a physical characteristic. A secondary dorsal fin is trimmed away from
the body of the hatchery fish.
the creek leading up to the hatchery were silver and steelhead determined
to procreate and succumb to their cyle of life in the process. In a way
it was quite moving. We visited a number of other creeks that day and saw
a similar scene. I admit that when it was over I had a terrible craving
for salmon for dinner.