Silly season has begun already. Tourists. Fishers. Kayakers. The first of the ‘seasonals’ are upon us. Bit early, this year. Usually it gets going sometime in May (long weekend-ish) but with such a mild spring, they are out and buzzing around already.
Over-wintering sun-birds have returned. Summer neighbours are in touch – making plans. That’s all good.
But things have changed in one short half-year.
The star-fish or sea-stars on our coast have been devastated by some kind of wasting-away disease and they are the main consumers of small urchins. So, absent the stars, urchins are in full bloom. So now, many more sea-birds are on the beach having uni (sushi term) for lunch.
DFO mismanaged the prawn fishery in the usually ignorant and catastrophic way they have with all the fisherys (despite being given information that would have saved it) and so our prawn season is already a bust. Just before the commercial pillage begins, the prawning is usually good. It is a two week window before the pros 600-odd trap lines go down and we can usually get ten or so pounds for our year before they hoover up their allotted tons. But neither of us are likely to get lucky this year. The prawns just ain’t there. It may be the oddness of climate change. It may be over-fishing. It may be any number of things but we have more too-small-to-eat urchins, less juicy fat prawns this year.
Fid warded off the advances of an otter wanting to squat on our little point for a few days in a row. That is good. Otters tend to stink up a place. I love seeing them but, preferably, down the coast a mile or so is just fine. Haven’t seen too many seals.
Come to think of it, Fid chased off a mink that was trying to set up a homestead under the house a week or so ago, too. He’s been good this spring although the squirrel definitely has Fid’s number. The squirrel is simply too much for Fid. Too hard to see, too small to catch and simply not afraid of silly old Fid. Fid only has bluster, hardly any bark and no bite (unless you are a human male over 16 in which case your butt is up for bites!)
Ravens are gone again. Eagles are in. Spotted a nesting pair of Canada Geese. Fewer seagulls than ever before. Fewer herons, too. Way fewer hummingbirds but it is not quite the season for them – not yet.
I saw a big black fin-less leathery tube-like creature the other day. I just caught a glimpse of a rolling black body that was whale-like but without any fins or markings or even any splashing. Not a clue what it was but it was the size of a sea lion with the surface appearance of a whale. Could have been a Minke but even they make more noise and splashing plus they have small fins. No idea.
But it all adds up to the season beginning. More life showing up for the summer. It’s simply the way it is. I like it. And I like it when they all leave, too. The dead of winter can be peaceful. We don’t usually opt to stay for the deadest part but we have been here year ’round a few times and know well the dark days, the short days, the days seemingly without sun. They can be bleak but they can also be private, peaceful and primitive in a hunker-down and hibernate kind of way.
Variety is the spice, eh?