Dead Ends

So today we walked up the river for a change of pace. It is quite full due to the amount of winter rain that we have been having. At one part of the river bank, the path is washed away and you have to walk along the rocks and pick it up again further along the shore. I mistook an old washed out path for the path I wanted and wound up higher along the bank and at a dead end. As I turned around I startled what I thought to be a heron sitting on a branch about eye level but at a distance so I could not make out much more than a dark shape. It made such a funny alarm call though that I thought in the back of my mind, that couldn't be a heron as herons seem to make a funny clack-clack noise.  At any rate, I turned and clambered back down and picked my way through the smooth jumble of river rocks until I stopped and looked further than my nose and saw the salmon swimming in ankle deep water. They had taken the wrong path as well as it was just a finger of water split from the main river, no doubt overflow from the heavy rains. They were stuck now and swimming slowly in circles. If they weren't programmed to go upstream, they could have made their way back down the trickle of water and rejoined the river but I guess you can't fight DNA (unless you are a mad scientist). And what I thought to be the heron was a juvenile bald eagle, waiting for me to stop wandering through his dinner.  

Maggie was a bit non-plussed. She stood in the pools of water sniffing at the dead salmon, but not quite figuring out what was swimming through her legs, even though she could see their fins breaking the surface. At one point, after carefully considering the matter, she pinned the dorsal fin with her mouth. She didn't use her teeth though. I told her to let it go and it swam away and hid morosely under a tiny wedge of rock.


I also spotted an American Dipper along the way. I've seen one before right near that path and wonder if it is the same one or if they just frequent the area since the water is so clear.  He resembles a wren in body shape and seems far too small to be hunting under those river currents but he does not seem to mind at all. Apparently their wings have modified muscles to help them swim under water and their feathers are very dense and waterproof so they don't feel the icy cold water which is snow run-off at this time of year.