A herring “ball” results when a school of herring is chased to the surface by a predatory fish, ducks or other diving birds. Often the herring balls can be spotted by a large flock of seagulls noisily feeding on the surface. Spotting the gulls feeding is a joy for your guide as the unenviable fate of the herring is to be dinner for a larger mammal meaning humpback whales. As a guide once the herring ball is located the intent is to stop the boat in proximity of the gulls and wait. “Keep your eye on the gulls and as they lift into the air get ready for a picture of a whale lunge feeding”(see tomorrow’s blog) is the directions given to the guests while we wait. James O’Donoghue’s photo captured the mass of the gulls but not the noise they produce. The area for the lodge’s whale watching safari day is Blackfish Sound not far from Vancouver Island’s Telegraph Cove. It is an area known for the abundance of herring and thus popular for salmon fishing which also means orca that feed on the salmon.
Using the grizzly bear viewing stands after August 24th requires a short drive from the river estuary to the stands. On the drive we pass by the man-made spawning channel that contains thousands of salmon and many grizzly bears feeding. On this day a bear was standing on the road looking down into the channel to see if it was safe to continue down the bank to fish. It is a minor problem when grizzly bear viewing is delayed by grizzly bears.
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