New Year’s Day at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery

I left the house around 9:30 am to go walking at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery, and Marty left just a little bit after I did to attend a New Year’s party in Vallejo with friends.  There was very little traffic this New Year’s morning, so I got to the hatchery in no time.  There were some obnoxious people along the trail by the hatchery, but thankfully not too many.  There was one kid who had his dog on a leash; he was on one side of the trail and the dog was on the other so the leash was blocking the trail and no one could get past him.  I told him he’d better pick one side or the other because I wasn’t stopping… and he pouted but moved anyway.  Some people’s kids.  Sheesh!  Then I came across a small family group that had walked down to the water’s edge to watch the guys fishing along the bank, and instead of being considerate, they starting yelling and throwing rocks into the water to scare the fish off.  The fisherman just stared them down until they stopped.  I swear, some people leave their brains at home when they go outdoors…

Because there were so many fishermen around, there weren’t a great many birds in the area (except for the ubiquitous gulls who come to the waters outside the hatchery this time of year to eat all the dead salmon.)  One guy asked a ranger if he could down and take some of the dead salmon from the water, and the ranger told him, no; the dead fish were part of the ecosystem and helped to feed everything from mammals to invertebrates.  “I’m a mammal,” the guy complained.  “You don’t count,” the ranger said.  Hah!  Take that guy to the burn unit.

There were no fish in the fish ladders (which were running anyway).  The Steelhead will be coming up them in the next week or so, though.  I got photos of the gulls, some Buffleheads, Goldeneyes, Cormorants and Mergansers, then as I was walking out I noticed two egrets near the observation platform just above the gates in the river: a Great Egret and a Snow Egret.  I think I stood there or about 20 minutes just getting photos of them.  I had to shoot through TWO fences to get the shots, but thankfully a few of them turned out well.