We have Salmon in Lake Ontario.
This is the time of year when they start to go upstream to spawn. This involves leaping energetically over any obstacles that happen to be in the way. A full-on Salmon Run is quite spectacular. In the Toronto area, Salmon have two options for streams to swim up: the Don River, and the Humber River. We don’t have many Salmon around – they were mostly extirpated over the last century by a combination of pollution and overfishing, and are only now being reintroduced. Consequently, our Salmon Runs are small, and not very spectacular in the grand scheme of things. However, it’s still pretty impressive if you happen to be sitting next to the water when a forty-pound fish decides to launch itself three feet in the air right next to you!
I went for a walk in the Don Valley this past weekend, not expecting to see much, but hoping for some bird pictures. I got some, which will no doubt show up here at some point. There is a weir part way up the river, originally built for flood control in the late nineteenth century, that is now used as a barrier to keep Lampreys (an invasive species) from getting up the river. A lot of ducks, cormorants, and other birds like to hang out in the shallow, fast-moving water just below it, where there are lot of rocks. As I was taking a photo of a very co-operative duck I heard an incredible “splashsplashsplashSPLASH”. I turned, and saw a large dorsal fin squeezing past a couple of the rocks. A few minutes later there was an even larger splash as an enormous Salmon made the first of many attempts to get over the weir.
That pretty much determined how I spent the rest of the afternoon. I parked myself directly beside the weir and dedicated myself to catching photos of the leaping Salmon. I took well over a hundred photos, with lots of missed shots because the Salmon decided to jump a couple of feet beyond where I had focussed or because I wasn’t fast enough with the shutter. However, I got a couple of good ones like the one at the top of this post, and I had a great time chatting with all the other people who came by to ask if the Salmon were leaping!
(Side note: WordPress informs me that I have now been publishing this blog for two years. Where does the time go?)