We’ve shared various of the “bird cam” projects here before: websites, often run by universities like Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology, that host a live-streaming video of a nest somewhere so that people around the world with internet can tune in to the parent or chicks’ activities at any time of day. In some circles, similar videos of cats are also available. Now, not necessarily for the first time but at least the first I’ve heard of personally, there’s a live-streaming site of a real-life stream owned by The Nature Conservancy (I’m surprised their blog writers didn’t pun their way into that one). Matt Miller and Chris Babcock write about the new Salmon Cam:
Welcome to Salmon Cam, where you can enjoy the underwater happenings of a California salmon river throughout the day, on your computer or device.
The Salmon Cam is located in a tributary creek on The Nature Conservancy’s Shasta Big Springs Ranch. The camera is powered on in daylight hours (currently between 7 am and 7 pm Pacific time). Throughout the season, it will provide a view of migrating Chinook and coho salmon and steelhead trout.
Watch the changes and post your sightings and questions in the Comments section below. One of our staff will respond to any questions. The Conservancy’s Chris Babcock will also post periodic updates on what to look for in the river at different times of the fall.
Salmon Cam is located in a part of the stream fed by cool (13-15 degrees Celsius) springs, the perfect temperature for juvenile coho salmon. This is a good time of year to see the juveniles on the cam. The nearby Shasta River is too warm during the summer, so springs like this provide coho with refuges where they can grow during the hot summer months.
And grow they do: the cool waters are naturally rich in nutrients, which allow for vigorous growth of aquatic plants. These plants in turn provide food for prodigious numbers of aquatic invertebrates, which in turn are food for coho and other fish.
Coho that rear in this area have some of the fastest growth rates recorded under natural conditions.
To identify coho on the camera: look for dark vertical bars along their sides (called parr marks) and large bright eyes. They are most reliably visible on the screen in the mid to late afternoon, when the viewing pool is in deeper shadow and provides the most cover from predators including great blue herons and kingfishers.
You may also see speckled dace, a skinny fish that have a darkish stripe down the length of their body, and golden shiner, a species that somewhat resembles a dull goldfish.
Read the original article and see their higher-quality pictures at Cool Green Science!