You know it’s Spring when the sound of birdsong is the first sound you hear in the morning instead of the pounding rain on your roof! We know it’s Spring at Deep Cove Kayak because of all the wildlife that is present in Deep Cove at this time of year. It’s a great time of year to rent a kayak to check out the wildlife in the peaceful calm waters before it gets really busy in the summer!
Here’s just SOME of the creatures and birds you might see. [Caveat – I am not an ornithologist, birder or wildlife expert so I’m sure that some of this info is going to be slightly off track…but you’ll get the jist]
So called because of the bulbous shape of its head, the bufflehead duck winters here so won’t be here for too much longer. These ducks are monogamous and return to the same breeding nests in Alaska and Northern Canada each summer so you will only be able to see them in Deep Cove for a little while longer. They are super cute little ducks that feed by diving, and hang around in small groups looking with one on sentry duty looking out for the ones that are feeding – a bit like the duck version of a meerkat!
No, not the James Bond of the duck world, but a relative of the Bufflehead! The Goldeneye is a bigger, medium size duck that also dives for its food. A really pretty duck, the females are brown, the males black with white wings. Similar to the Bufflehead in terms of timing, see them by kayak in Deep Cove for the next few weeks.
Yeah yeah, we know they’re here all the time BUT they are really prevalent on Raccoon Island right now, where they are nesting. They get pretty vocal if you paddle in a kayak or on a stand up paddleboard by there too, definitely making their presence felt! Did you know there are 7 types of Canada Goose?? There’s even a Vancouver Canada goose, B. c. fulva. There, that’s a thing you can astound your friends with.
Now these guys are seriously cool. Known as the punk rocker of the birding world, the females have an awesome mohawk-style hairdo. Their bills also look pretty hardcore, being long and thin – very unlike the flat wide bill that most ducks have. They usually live around freshwater, but can be seen in shallow protected saltwater like Deep Cove too.
Okay so enough about ducks. You’ll only see one kind of sea lion in these waters, the Steller sea lion. The Steller are the really big guys you see, they can get up to 1000kg, the California sea lions that are native further away are a bit smaller. The really cool thing about seeing these guys is that they have only been coming back into Indian Arm relatively recently, which we believe is due to the increase in the fish populations that they eat. And boy, can these guys eat?!? They are known to eat about 5–8% of their body weight (about 15–35 lb (6.8–15.9 kg)) at a single feeding. Keep a fair distance from them, while they’re not known to be aggressive, these guys are HUGE and can be territorial. Best not to see if they can get angry or not.
These are the star attraction in Deep Cove as they are so prevalent. They are also pretty cute and very mellow, as well as being quite curious so they like coming close to kayaks to check out what’s going on. You will see their heads popping up all around Deep Cove and Indian Arm – they feed on fish in the waters here too. As there are no predators of the seals they thrive in Indian Arm, and the populations are very healthy. TRY not to get too close while in your kayak though, if they are breeding you don’t want to disturb them with their youngsters that they might be feeding.
Gray Whale (rumoured)
There were rumours of the Gray Whale returning to Indian Arm last year, with a couple of reported sightings but nothing official and nothing caught on camera. The return of whales to Indian Arm would be something special indeed. Fingers crossed this ‘loch ness monster’ type sighting gets substantiated this year!