Horse mackerel Mackerel


There is a  very long pier at one of the container terminals in Halifax. It seems to go out a quarter of the way into the harbour. It offers the best view of the mouth of the harbour and some (now) unique views back into the harbour itself.

As I was standing at the end, jutting into the harbour and watching the passing traffic (hello, cruise ship), I noticed a man with a fishing pole, casting away. He did not seem too successful, but did toss the occasional fish (mackerel) into a large pail. So I watched my ships and he cast away. Sometimes his fish leaped from the pail and flopped about on the pier. He did not seem concerned, though I rather hoped one of them would slide under the fence and return to the water far below.

I stayed about an hour and was preparing to leave. So was the fisherman. He called to me if I wanted any fish. I did have some interest, but, in addition to transporting fish on a bus, and also having to gut and clean them, I declined. It was then he offered the grandest of shows.

He reached into his pail and started tossing the fish over the high, barbwire-topped fence which enclosed the container terminal. On the other side was a vast platform, upon which waited a flock of seagulls. As each mackerel sailed over the fence and slid across the cement, the gulls descended. I anticipated many bird fights. I was surprised to see that each gull which reached a fish first, just swallowed the mackerel whole. Gulp. Slide into gullet. Fly away gull. The other gulls just turned their attention to the next flying fish.

It was quite the entertainment.


Screaming Seagull
Screaming Seagull by  Vera Kratochvil