On the Wing – July 30 2015
Rain pours down and fills the creeks and rivers. Salmon have a chance. Adults return to their natal streams and tiny alevins leave their gravel home, become fry and head towards the ocean. It’s a big world out there and they need to fatten up. Without water, everything dies. One of the more important aspects of restoring Delkatla Wildlife Sanctuary to a tidal estuary twenty years ago was to provide a salmon nursery for salmonids and other fish. It’s working. There are thousands of fry out there right now holding against the current and waiting for the tide to rise. In another part of the forest, near Entry Point, hundreds lie dead where there once was water. They were left, quite literally, high and dry. It’s a big loss.
Fingerlings feed everything. While they eat aquatic insects, birds eat them. Herons stalk the shallows, kingfishers dive headlong into the deeper water and many shorebirds while probing the soft mud also scarf fry. It is the way of nature and it would be a sorry world without it.
Richard Louw’s book “Last Child in the Woods” is about nature deficit disorder. He notes that children are, quite literally, losing their senses. “Not that long ago,” he writes. “the sound track of a young person’s days and nights was composed largely of the notes of nature…today, the life of the senses is, literally, electrified” Television, computers, air conditioning and the noises of indoor life can be all that children hear. He contends that if we and our children don’t get out more we are more likely to suffer from depression and loneliness, especially if we spent a lot of time on the internet.
“Immersion in the natural world cuts to the chase,” he writes. “(It) exposes the young directly and immediately to the very elements from which humans evolved: earth, water, air and other living kin, large and small…if we forget our place, we forget that larger fabric on which our lives depend.”
We are fortunate to have a wildlife sanctuary in our back yard, beaches where we can run for miles, forests where we can listen and fields to play in. So it’s raining! As a friend once told me when I balked at taking the dogs for a walk in the rain ‘we’re not made of sugar, we won’t melt!’
Juncos are back at the feeder with a clutch of four healthy young. The season is almost over for singing birds, they will be moving along soon and taking the summer with them. However the hummingbirds are still around, one fed in the roses this morning and an Orange-crowned Warbler family hops through the trees. Twenty-three Sandhill Cranes landed in Delkatla last night, they have been in the vicinity all summer and have come in for the evening. Over 150 Canada Geese are relaxing at the water’s edge looking very much at home. They were gone for a few weeks either in the moult or raising goslings.
A new visitor came to the waterhole this week. It didn’t have wings and it goes bump in the night under the house. An otter. Investigations will have to undertaken before burrows are dug and the house collapses.