The Art of Rain: Salmon Spawning, Umbrellas, Puddles and more...

The rains have come to Marin and California!
I told you they would... (see my last post about the drought).
Dog Walk in the Rain | Fairfax, CA | 2/8/14 (Aidan + Mesa)
I have been enjoying the rain so much, my Instagram stream of photos is full of rainy day images of raindrops, buckets, wet flowers and streets. I even was one of the 4 finalists in "Colors of the Week" on Instagram last Sunday for my B&W photo of a puddle in the rain.  Today, I took my middle schoolers to view the Leo T. Cronin Fish Viewing Area in West Marin. After 18 years in Marin County, and driving past Shafter Bridge hundreds of times, I realized I had never seen the salmon spawning and decided to take my sons. There were many others out to view these native fish, returning to their birthplace to spawn.  Click the thumbnails below to view our Salmon Spawing images from today:
Salmon Spawning 2014Salmon Viewing 2014Rain in Marin 2014Waterfall dropping into Lagunitas CreekSalmon Spawning 2014Bridge along waterfall into Lagunitas Creek
Male & Female Salmon Spawning 2014Pilgrimage to see the Salmon Spawning 2014Shafter Bridge, West MarinSalmon Pilgrimage II_ 2014Salmon Pilgrimage I 2014

Salmon Spawning 2014, a set on Flickr.
We bumped into the local Founder of Stapleton Ballet out for a walk with her husband. We also were lucky to be there when Candice, a volunteer with SPAWN, was alongside the creek, pointing out the unique fish and telling us what she knew about each one. One female's tail was completely white and she was very spotted. This apparently means she is an older fish, having been around the creek for a couple weeks now.  After the females release their eggs, they protect "the Redd"(the spot where their eggs are) from other females using it for up to 18 days before they die.  The newer females are darker with no torn up fins. The Males with white on their backs get this way when other males bite them to compete for females.  There is also a fungus that grows on the fish after they are bitten that appears white. It was absolutely incredible to see 2 foot long fish in the creek.  I wished I'd had my good camera with 300m lens!
Many years ago, I worked for a very brief stint with MMWD and the Fisheries Biologist, assisting with drawings of woody debris structures and computer work for a report on the fingerlings in the creek. This was a summer job and I enjoyed wearing waders, working alongside a Humboldt University Fisheries Student and learning how to find fish in the creek. ( Click here to see Gregory Andrew's report that many of us Seasonal helpers participated in via MMWD.)  What a thrill it was to share this with my sons today. If you'd like to go out and see the fish, you may find the directions to several viewing areas in Marin County, here. Stay dry and have fun!