Spawning Salmon – Buckingham Creek

Upon hearing reports of spawning salmon at Deer Lake this afternoon, I rushed down to the east end of the lake where, in fading light, I managed to watch several chum salmon (I couldn’t get a good count) actively working the gravel of Buckingham Creek in an attempt to build a redd in which to drop their eggs, and fertilize them.

Salmon spawning on the edge of a residential street, right next to the children’s swings in the playground must rate as some kind of ultimate trick and treat the day after Halloween!

All I could see at first were pale shapes beneath the creek’s dappled surface.

While listening to the slap of tails, and swooshing of water, the ghostly figures soon resolved into the recognizable shapes of salmon.Finally, I got progressively better looks, and was able to recognize them as chum salmon, one appearing to be more than 70 cm long.

More splashing action was followed by more waiting, until swimming near the bank one of the fish came into full view, its back above the surface.Over the many years I’ve enjoyed Deer Lake Park, this is my first sighting of spawning salmon here. Maybe I’ve missed something in previous years. After all, being a birder I’m always looking up, rarely down. However, there are a number of reports of other chum salmon returns to Burnaby waterways such as Byrne Creek, and Stoney Creek. See Burnaby Now reporter Jennifer Moreau’s blog.

Byrne and Stoney Creeks annually have spawning salmon. I’m not sure if Buckingham has been a member of that exclusive club in recent years. If not, maybe it’s time to think about doing some stream rehabilitation at Deer Lake too. Salmon in the city just has to be worth some effort. After all, the fish are clearly trying hard.

I’ll do some more research to see what I can find out about salmon at Deer Lake, and update this post next week.

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8 thoughts on “Spawning Salmon – Buckingham Creek

    • There is lots of salmonberry in the park, but in this stretch of the stream the main “shrub” is Himalayan blackberry, but it’s doing a great job sheltering the streambed.

  1. When I was in grade 6 we released the salmon that we had from eggs into Deer Lake (down by the bench in front of the Hart House just before the wooden boardwalk starts) maybe these ones are relatives!!!

  2. This is amazing news! I sent it to a few friends who also love the lake area. One said his son’s school (Brantford Elementary) has been releasing salmon fry in the streams for a few years. It may be paying off. I am more than willing to make the stream more habitable for spawning fish, if someone knows the process and can get permission. To see these fish in the centre of a large metropolitan area is very encouraging indeed!

  3. That’s so cool! It’s such a great program that Elementary Schools do, hopefully this can serve as proof that it deserves the funding and enormous effort put in by teachers!

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