I’ve come to love the salmon run each fall here in California. It’s one of my favorite parts of the season. This October, when my husband and I visited Tahoe, we stopped along Taylor Creek because we had heard salmon were spawning there.
I was stunned to see such tiny fish compared to the huge chinook salmon that swim upriver from the ocean each fall to spawn. These little, red fish are kokanee salmon, landlocked in Lake Tahoe and surrounding tributaries such as Taylor Creek, where they go to spawn each autumn.
Of course, where there are salmon, there also always seem to be birds. I’ve grown accustomed to the vultures, seagulls, osprey, and even an occasional eagle that all follow the giant chinook upstream from the ocean. I was in for a surprise at Taylor Creek.
I don’t know much about duck behavior, and I suppose I always assumed ducks might eat fish eggs, but I wasn’t prepared for this Merganser’s quarry as it splashed back up above the water’s surface.
Perhaps these Mallards weren’t after the salmon themselves, but I did wonder what threat they might pose to the salmon after seeing the Merganser’s behavior.
We headed back to Taylor Creek a second time and took a less well-traveled path along the creek. The reward was a tranquil spot where we could watch salmon and another Merganser stalking them in the water.
The Merganser seemed to be enjoying his time in the water. I don’t remember what caused the flap here:
It was a beautiful spot to sit on the rocks in the creek and take in the beautiful, clear water and the salmon swimming around.
If you’re ever near Tahoe in October, you owe it to yourself to visit Taylor Creek. It’s a spectacular place to see one of the best parts of California in fall.
What’s your favorite part of autumn where you live?