Right about now, about a month into fall, for more than 20 years, this happens at Fauntleroy Creek: A ceremony to welcome the coho salmon spawners home – and then the watching and waiting. This afternoon, about 25 people gathered at the creek’s fish-ladder overlook to drum, dance, sing, and chant. Watershed steward Judy Pickens emceed:
Jamie Schilling led the music:
And the children led the way in joyfully participating, as you can see in our video:
Some had been there before, we saw when Judy asked for a show of hands. But no two autumns are alike, even if it is the “circle of life,” as noted on the sign Phil Sweetland hoisted for a call-and-response:
A bit of video:
Three years ago, 274 coho spawners showed up – the most ever. The following year, none. Then last year – 19, a few of which had shown up even before the welcoming ceremony. It’s impossible to predict, so the volunteer watch starts tomorrow; Judy said the tides are looking most promising starting next weekend. The mouth of the creek is near the ferry dock, across Fauntleroy Way from the overlook where the salmon-welcomers gathered late today.
When there are fish to see, by the way, the creek overlook will have a better view than years past, because of some recent trimming.