|Although this scene looks as calm and peaceful as a Chinese brush painting, some high stakes fishy business is about to unfold at Surfrider Beach. All photos © 2014 S. Guldimann|
Alive without breath;
as cold as death;
never thirsting, ever drinking;
clad in mail, never clinking.
Drowns on dry land,
thinks an island
is a mountain;
thinks a fountain
is a puff of air.
So sleek, so fair!
What a joy to meet!
We only wish
to catch a fish,
—J.R.R. Tolkien, "Gollum's Song"
It's the May new moon this week, and the grunion are running. This small silvery fish is off limits to human hunters in April and May, but it's open season for the local shore birds, who, like Gollum, "only wish to catch a fish, so juicy sweet."
From March until August, grunion come ashore at night to spawn, taking advantage of the highest full moon and new moon tides to lay their eggs in the sand. The eggs hatch 10 days later, the next high tide carrying the hatchlings back out to sea.
When conditions are right, in the dead of night, certain beaches can be covered in living silver as hundreds of fish come ashore, but it's rare to see even one lone grunion during the day. However, the same tides that help the fish reach the sand can strand them. At the Malibu Lagoon, any fish swept over the berm by the tide is fair game for the shorebirds.
This season, the lagoon extends in a long, narrow inlet all the way to the bottom of the Adamson House. While the water doesn't look appealing to humans, it was a kind of cross between bouillabaisse and a sushi dinner for an enterprising egret, taking advantage of fish left behind by the previous night's new moon.
Whoa! crazy photos! xxReplyDelete