Thursday, July 14, 2016

On Wednesday we spent a lot of time at the Solomon Gulch Hatchery across the bay from Valdez. We went in the morning at low tide and then again in the afternoon at high tide. At low tide the swell of salmon attempting to return to their birth place are visible in the water. During this period there are a lot of eagles feeding in the area and the every present gulls are everywhere. At high tide the sea lions come in to feast and sometimes bear travel down the mountain to catch salmon. We did see many sea lions but only one bear and it was still in the woods. We were hoping to view the bear catching salmon but none were at the weir dam while we were there.

The Solomon Gulch Fish Hatchery harvests the eggs from the female salmon, fertilize them, incubate them, and then release them back into the bay. The hatchery is permitted to incubate 250 million Pink salmon eggs and 2 million Coho salmon eggs annually. When these salmon mature to the spawning age they return to the hatchery. The following video demonstrates the volume of salmon that return to spawn.

Salmon return to Solomon Gulch

Eagles feed while gulls wait

Eagle grabs a salmon

In the evening huge sea lions gorge themselves on salmon and then 
lounge around with full stomachs.

Are you going to eat all that fish say the gulls

Sea lion love triangle

Let me whisper in your ear

How about a kiss

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