Fish & Feathers: Have you ever seen a baby gull?

<I>RON MALAST photo</I><BR>A chick gull perched on a roof top in Surfside (note spots on head).

For those living close to water, seagulls have become part of our everyday life; the average person probably observes thousands upon thousands of these birds every year. You also see baby ducklings, little quail, goslings (geese) and all sorts of little guys, but for me, never a baby seagull. A female adult gull will lay two or three eggs with an incubation period of about 28 days; one brood per year and the chicks will leave the nest in 35-40 days.

Mike Yednak of Ocean Park, who is a very knowledgable person when it comes to flying creatures, had never seen one either. The other day Mike called and said, "I finally saw one, actually three, very close to where I am working. The adult gulls had built a nest next to the crown of a roof in Surfside."

The next day I drove to the site and observed the two adults standing guard while these three fur-balls huddled together nearby. Upon my getting out of my truck parked on the other side of the street, the parents started squawking and hopping up and down on the roof. I knew what was coming, but was not prepared for the onslaught. As I tried to get a picture with my zoom lens, the two adults start making diving passes on me (within in 3 feet) over my head; Pretty soon the sky above was filled with noisy gulls, each in turn making bombing runs, with me as the target. Knowing to leave well enough alone, I retreated back to the safety of the truck and got my picture from there. But now I have seen a baby seagull and can sleep peacefully at night.

Halibut season closesThe coastal waters for Marine Area 1 closed for Pacific halibut on July 25. The catch quota for halibut in this area was projected to be taken by the end of that day. An assessment of catches, however, will be made after the closure to determine if any additional opening is warranted.

Buoy 10 season opens The Buoy 10 season which opens Sunday, Aug. 1, is expected to produce catches of 12,000 Chinook and 16,000 coho. Last year 16,300 Chinook were caught, the second highest number since 1988. Another 54,400 hatchery coho were also landed.

The popular Buoy 10 fishery last year prompted 88,800 angler trips. With each angler trip generating, on average, $130 in spending. The fishery contributes some $11.5 million to the area economy, WDFW said.

When the Buoy 10 or Marine Area 1 fisheries are open, anglers may fish for salmon seven days a week off the North Jetty. Salmon anglers may use barbed hooks off the jetty or in the Buoy 10 area, but barbless hooks only in the ocean. Any Chinook, fin-clipped or not may be kept, only clipped coho may be kept in either area. The minimum size limit for Chinook is 26-inches and 16 for coho.

Boat anglers beware!After exiting the Port of Ilwaco and proceeding toward the Fort Canby boat launch, a new "No Wake" area has been posted, so slow down. The county mountie is sitting on the bank with his field glasses and will write you a ticket if you do not slow down.

Ron Malast is owner operator of the charter boat Big Dipper operating out of Pacific Salmon Charters in Ilwaco (360 642-3466)

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