Archives for November 2015

After the fish…….

Life goes on – and nature has it’s ways.  Everything has a purpose for all species – except for us humans, who have selfishly determined that we are better than any other animal and have turned the natural order of things on their head!  Apparently we think the laws of nature don’t apply to us.  But I digress……………….   🙂

After the fish have done their thing, they die, decompose and become nutrients for not only creek organisms, but all sorts of fauna and flora in the environment. Do you know that certain nitrogen elements from returning oceanic salmonids have been found in trees and plants many kilometres from any creek or river?  The Pacific Salmon is one of the key species on this planet. The nutrients they give back to the earth sustain life on this planet far more than anyone would ordinarily think.

One such benefactor of the returning salmon is a little bird called the American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus).  And his favourite food is salmon eggs!  You’ll see him in rivers, streams and creeks in prolific numbers when salmon return home to spawn. They’ll be seen on rocks in the water, with their characteristic ‘bobbing’ action.  They will look for salmon ‘redds’ and any stray eggs that may have been washed downstream.  They can also be seen underwater, either ‘walking’ along the bottom or ‘flying’ underwater!

Here’s an excerpt from the American Dipper page on the Audubon.org website:

Feeding behaviour Most food is caught underwater. The Dipper may walk with only its head submerged, or may dive, “flying” underwater and walking on the bottom, probing under stones in streambed. Also will swim on surface to pick up floating insects. Occasionally takes insects from streamside rocks, rarely makes short flights to catch insects in mid-air

DietMostly aquatic insects. Feeds on many kinds of aquatic insects, including larvae of caddisflies, mayflies, beetles, bugs, and mosquitoes, as well as adults of these insects and many others; also some worms and snails. Also eats fish eggs and very small fish (less than 3″ long)

Below are some local Noons Creek photos of the American Dipper.  He’s quite entertaining to watch, so if you get the chance, just stand back and enjoy for a while.  Also included is a short video of one of our local Dippers.

American Dipper video #1  (video will open in new window; please give it a few moments to load)  Watch at about the 2 minute 30 second mark as he scores a salmon egg, then proceeds to drop it several times, but each time he recovers to finally enjoy his catch!

American Dipper video #2  (video will open in new window; please give it a few moments to load)

Enjoy!!!!!

Photo and video credits to volunteer Aude Bertoncello.

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Coho Video in the rearing pond

Our intrepid French volunteer, Aude Bertoncello (11th Nov 2015) captured some underwater footage of a gorgeous Coho pair in our channel leading from the rearing pond to Noons Creek.

The video is also a great education tool – you can easily differentiate the male from the female.  Upon their return to fresh water to spawn, both male and female Coho lose the stunning silver colour they have in the ocean and hue to a vibrant red.  The female retains the classic fish face with smooth lines and silhouette; whereas the male develops a very aggressive, hooked jaw. These characteristics are common to all species of Pacific Salmon.  Here ends your lesson for the day – you are now a salmonid expert!   🙂

Check it out………………the videos are not too shabby considering they were done with her cell phone.  Our understanding is that it was in a waterproof case at the time!!!!!   Whew!

Coho video #1   (video will open in new window; please give it a few moments to load)

Coho Video #2  (video will open in new window; please give it a few moments to load)

There are also some still photographs of the same fish below………………

Enjoy!!!!

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Chum Egg-Take

P.M.E.S. had our 2015 Chum Salmon egg-take from the Alouette River today (November 7) – with subsequent fertilisation and incubation process back at the hatchery.  It was a VERY wet day and the catch was good but not as voluminous as we would have liked.  We took 7 female and 9 male – so that takes our grand total of Chum to about 18 ‘eggers’ (after our DFO Rep, Sandie got 11 female  and 12 male for us last Wednesday). It would appear that the Alouette Chum run is just about on it’s last legs…………………………..

But the day was great is many ways. There were a lot of newbies that had not seen this process before and learned a lot by jumping in and getting some hands-on experience. In fact, we probably had a record participation today so thanks to everyone that made it out!  And special thanks to Noons stalwart Eric Olsen for once again, getting things ready for us when we returned; and to our DFO Community Advisor, Sandie Hollick-Kenyon for organising the day!

I include some photos below, but there are many more at the link below.  As more people come forward with photos, I’ll add them to the link.

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A New Generation…

A new generation of salmonids begins……………………………….

Today (11/4/2015), we had our DFO gurus Sandie Hollick-Kenyon and Scott Ducharme on site at the hatchery to help start our Chum egg incubation from the 2015 brood year.  But it was only a start – the story goes like this………………………..

Sandie (our DFO Community Advisor) called earlier in the week and said that the Alouette River run of Chum was starting to slow.  Not a good sign when it wasn’t until next Saturday (11/7) that Noons was going out there to get all our Chum broodstock!  So Sandie suggested that as she was heading out there with another group on Wednesday (11/4), she would grab a bunch of eggs to bring back to Noons in case we were short the following Saturday.  Good plan!!

So this afternoon at around 2pm, both Sandie and Scott showed up at Noons Creek with an estimated 27,500 Chum eggs (circa 11 fish @ 2500 eggs per fish) and 12 bags of milt (male sperm) to start the fertilisation and incubation process.

The eggs were divided evenly into 12 sterilised plastic bowls (arranged in a long row), and into each approx. 75% of each bag of milt was emptied. The bag of milt was then passed along to the bowl to the right and the rest emptied into that one.  This is done so that each female’s eggs are fertilised by more than one male…….it helps to strengthen the gene pools.

After fertilisation, the eggs are then sterilised in ‘ovadine’ solution to kill any impurities or bacteria on the eggs for 10 minutes. Then they are placed in ‘heath trays’ and carefully placed in our stacks in the incubation room.  They will now stay undisturbed (with fresh creek water running over them constantly) until the eggs develop the ‘eyed’ stage – when you can see the little black dot on the eggs that is the fish’s eye.

What happens after that is another story……………….you’ll have to wait until the next exciting episode of ‘Noons Creek Nannies‘!

Many thanks to both Sandie and Scott – and Noons volunteers Aude BertoncelloDave Bennie and Doug Calder for helping out today!

And special thanks to Noons stalwart Eric Olsen for getting everything ready earlier this morning in preparation for the whole exercise!!!!

Below are some photos taken today of the fertilisation and incubation process…….enjoy!!!

Photo credits:  Brian Wormald

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Sandie Hollick-Kenyon (DFO) separating the Chum eggs into 12 equal sized portions – prior to fertilisation. The small bags of milt are just to the left of the bowls – ready to pour on the eggs.

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Volunteer Aude BERTONCELLO ‘stirring’ the eggs after the milt (sperm) has been added – to fertilise them.

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Sandie checking that all looks good before sterilising the eggs prior to placing in the incubation room.

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PMES Vice President Dave Bennie (left) helps Scott Ducharme (DFO) do the housekeeping – washing up after the fertilisation process!

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Chum eggs carefully placed in a ‘heath tray’ in our incubation stacks after being sterilised of any impurities or bacteria.

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Some immediately noticeable infertile or dead eggs are removed to prevent bacteria growth on the remaining healthy eggs.

 

 

 

Side Channel

We continue to be thrilled that our side channel ‘makeover’ has been so successful. It started with the Pink Salmon taking a liking to it, then the Chum and Coho moved in.  All in all, the traffic through there – and up to the over-wintering ponds – has been a joy to see.

I want to thank our stalwart steward, Eric Olsen, for instigating the makeover.  His initial idea of removing the old weirs and making it a ‘stream’ with a steady gradient with refreshed spawning gravel, was looked at sceptically by some at first.  But time has proven his theory to be sound.  Thanks also to the volunteers (and Eric) who moved much gravel to complete the makeover.

Shall we ‘love it’ or ‘list it’?    I think we’ll ‘love it’!

Here’s some pics of recent fish activity in the ‘rejuvenated’ side channel.

Photo credits to P.ME.S. volunteers: Aude Bertoncello and Brian Wormald

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Pair of Pink Salmon preparing to spawn in one of the Noons Creek Hatchery side-channels on 2015-09-03.

Pair of Pink Salmon preparing to spawn in one of the ‘renovated’ Noons Creek Hatchery side-channels on 2015-09-03.