It's been more than a decade since it took this long for the annual spawn of Pacific Herring to take place in the Parksville-Qualicum Wildlife Management Area. After what I experienced today, I'm beginning to think it was worth all the waiting and worry! From Northwest Bay in the southeast, to the Little Qualicum River in the northwest, there was over 40 continuous kilometers of spawn along the shoreline today. Essentially, the entire WMA was seeing active spawning at the same time. In places, the spawn was so heavy, that milt churned into foam by the stormy weather, was forming drifts a meter deep, and covering hundreds of meters of shoreline. At the Little Qualicum River mouth, the bay was covered by foamy milt, as far as the eye could see. Near the mouth of the Englishman River Estuary, I took a quick lunch break from doing Brant research, and fed heartily on fresh herring roe on seaweed, cast up by the storms. It was delicious. The Mew Gulls watched me jealously at every bite.
Parksville Bay was the hot spot for birds today, with many thousands of scoters, long-tails, scaup, Brant, and various gulls. This weekend should probably produce the peak numbers of birds in the Wildlife Management Area for this year. I can't wait.