Aki had to wait in the car while I dropped someone off at the hospital. There is not enough time this morning for a proper walk so I drive to the parking lot for our local radio station with plans to walk on the wetlands drained by Salmon Creek.
The roar of in bound traffic on Juneau’s only expressway masks the creek sounds. But the song of a persistent yellow warbler cuts through the urban noise. In a month, maybe two, there will be a dozen eagles on the wetlands, competing with gulls for scrapes of dying salmon. Fish ducks will waddle or float down the creek. People with heavy fishing rods will work the creek mouth for incoming salmon. But today, only the warbler and a scattering of board-acting crows show themselves.
The little dog and I move on to the fish hatchery beach where in June men and women will line the beach, tossing weighted hooks into the channel waters to snag chum salmon. The Salmon Creek gulls followed us to the beach, taking up temporary roosts on the top of traffic signs and hand rails. We see our first bald eagle of the morning sitting on top of a metal piling that secures a large fishing platform. The bird holds it ground as the little dog and I approach. The eagle, having watched throngs of fishermen crowd each summer, seems to know it has little to fear from one man and his 10-pound poodle.
In the water near the salmon holding pens a half-a-dozen harbor seals raise their heads so that their eyes clear the surface. Another seal floats on its back, apparently asleep. Those awake watch a hatchery worker toss handfuls of fish food into the salmon smolt holding pens. Do they expect the next handful to be tossed in their direction?