Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Foxes, seagulls, and alewives

Today we decided to check on the alewive run. Alewives are fish that are born in fresh water, migrate to the ocean for several years to mature, and then return the their freshwater place of birth to spawn. They may leave and return to spawn several times.

On the way there, I saw something brown and tumbling in the highway breakdown lane. I slowed and to my astonishment I saw several fox kits. (Two in this photo-one behind)

Then I saw an adult fox. I parked in a precarious position snapping off photos while the saplings and I stared in astonishment. I tagged my photos as vixen, but I think this may have been the dog fox.

I can't see any mammary glands, and the kits are begging at the mouth, not trying to nurse. The fact that this was high noon, the fox had obviously been running, led me to believe that something disturbed the den and the parent was desperately trying to re locate the four kits.

After a few minutes, they turned and headed back down the embankment, and I tooted the horn at the last cub to hurry them along. There is definitely better cover on the side they were trying to reach, but it was a dangerous undertaking with the high traffic level. Although, the place they were trying to cross was a reduced speed due to a turn off, so it may have been the safest place to cross after all. I questioned whether interfering was the right thing to do.

When we got out at the fish ladder, we disturbed a flock of seagulls that were lying in wait for slow moving fish. Poor Peko freaked out at the sight of this flock cawing and flapping in our direction. Finally we proceeded with much petting and encouragement to the frightened dog.

Here is one of the pools. The dark area is actually many many fish.

The fish swim through waterfalls from pool to pool to reach the lake 41 feet above the bay where they enter.

And here is one of the alwives arriving at the lake after the last leap. This fish was about ten inches long.


Warren said...

great sequence of pictures! How cool to see five foxes (foxen?) at once. I like that shot of the seagulls over the water.

tree ocean said...

Thanks! :)