An amazing event took place on the evening of April 4. How happy I was to witness it. Dozens of sea lions congregated along the end of the Ocean Beach Esplanade where they herded schools of herring toward shore in a feeding frenzy. The big marine animals made a huge racket with their honking, slapping and splashing, thrilling those of us lucky enough to be there. One child was intent on replicating their sounds and a man kept saying again and again, “I’ve been coming to this beach for 40 years and never seen anything like it,” while shaking his head in disbelief.
It is wonderful to see so many herring once again gracing our marine environment – with reports of them up and down the coast. I try to avoid eating much herring since it’s the very base of the food chain, feeding our precious marine animals all the way up to whales. Many of us there that evening threw the small, gasping herrings back into the ocean as fast as they washed up helplessly on shore. “Maybe a few of these will escape to breed,” I said to another woman doing the same, and she hoped so too.
Don’t we live in an awesome part of the world? What would we do without the other creatures we share it with? Well, the answer is obvious – we wouldn’t be here! Every March, I wait in anticipation for the tree frog chorus, worrying that some terrible spill will affect the ditches of Hough Road and they won’t return. But so far these tiny denizens of spring return each year with their distinctive symphony for two months of delight. Sybil Sears, an elderly, blind lady I used to help out, loved to hear the tree frogs. Some spring evenings, I’d pick her up at her home on Velvet Road and bring her to Hough Road where we would sit in the car with the windows rolled down listening. To see these tiny bright green creatures in the garden, it’s hard to believe they have such loud voices!
Speaking of tiny, welcome creatures, bumblebees have emerged from wherever it is that bumblebees emerge from. I strive to have enough early spring flowers (even dandelions!) to greet them when they emerge and avoid spraying – bees and dragonflies are incredibly sensitive to toxins. Our reward is having hosts of these lovely little bee-ings (ha).
If you’re racing up Pratt Road these days, please be wary of the ducks sitting between the road and the ditches. I guess they’d rather take their chances with cars than coyotes; but hey, slow down – they have enough on their minds in nesting season.
Let me know of any special creatures you see around Elphinstone. We all have deer visitors and, like me, you’ve probably seen the odd coyote furtively disappearing into the bushes. I’ve never actually seen a cougar but certainly have heard reports of them. Contact me with your wildlife or community news at: firstname.lastname@example.org.