Oh, Carp!

Our property backs onto Alder Creek, which drains some of the area southwest of Kitchener and empties into the Nith River at Ayr. A bit upstream of us, an earth dam forms Alder Lake.

There is a spot near us where the creek is trying to dig a new channel: at flood levels this channel gets plenty of flow, and the high spot between this and the main channel is pretty much submerged. The main channel is partly blocked by some fallen tree trunks so lately the side channel has been getting used more and is getting deeper, to the point where now even at normal creek levels, the side channel almost flows.

Last week we had a day of heavy rain, and the creek rose to its typical spring flood level for a few hours. Two days later I looked down into the creek valley and saw something that at first looked like a piece of tire. I thought it might have been uncovered by the flow.

But it turned out to be a dead carp; what looked like tire tread to me was the scales. There were three others nearby in various stages of having been eaten. The largest one was perhaps 60-70cm long and the other three were almost a big.

My assumption is that the high water flow washed them out of the lake, and they found this new side channel as a relative calm area in the otherwise torrential creek flow. As the creek level dropped they became stranded and, exhausted from fighting the current for so long, they were not able to escape to the main creek.

Over the next few days they slowly disappeared, likely being eaten by crows, raccoons, and coyotes, not to mention smaller scavengers.

Slightly gross pictures follow the break…



By the way, I had a delay in getting the photos off my camera. They were taken April 10th, and the flood had been around the 8th.

Posted in Fauna, Kevin

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