Thursday, January 13, 2011

Creatures of Habit

If nothing else, I am a creature of habit. Not to say that I am boring, but if someone wanted to stalk me they wouldn’t have a difficult time. I have been ordering the same drink from Starbuck’s for 20 years, and when I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon, (and sometimes there really is no better way to spend a Sunday afternoon), I grab the camera, hop in the car, and take a drive out the Historic Highway in the Gorge. Yesterday was one of those days. The weather was not ideal, but it was better than sitting home in front of the TV. So out for a Sunday drive with the family I went.

As I said, the light was not very good, and the ice that had attacked me earlier this week had mostly melted. The snow on the cliffs was quite beautiful, and the swans are still hanging out in Mirror Lake beneath Crown Point. We decided to continue on to Bonneville Dam and enjoy the ride. As we were leaving the visitor center, the sun was just setting, and we decided to drive to one of the island fishing areas and try to get some pictures of the sunset behind Beacon Rock. As I stood there snapping pictures, I heard the sound of a large animal in the water, kind of like what you hear when watching the Discovery Channel and they are showing whales. I knew right then it had to be one of the infamous Bonneville Dam salmon munchers, more commonly known as sea lions.

These guys are the ultimate creatures of habit. Regardless of what us humans try to do, they won’t be deterred from their preferred meal of endangered fish. They come back, over and over again. I stood there and watched him (or her for that matter) swimming upstream. Before I knew it, the sea lion disappeared from view and returned to the surface, with a mouth full of his favorite delicacy flapping in his mouth. I hurried to get a picture, but the light was bad and he was too far away for one of those amazing wildlife pictures you see in National Geographic or the like. Above is the best I could do under the circumstances. He finished his meal, once again disappeared from sight (I assume in search of a second helping), and I realized it was time for this creature of habit to go home and have her own supper.

Click here for a news article with a much more detailed explanation of the sea lion issues at Bonneville Dam.

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