When I lived in Newfoundland I always kept a close eye on the arrival of capelin around the island. I even created the Capelin Calendar to keep capelin enthusiasts informed about spawning dates and locations around the island.
On Prince Edward Island, capelin are largely unknown. There is no spectacle associated with their arrival, like the whales and puffins feasting on them near many Newfoundland beaches, so when the capelin arrive here nobody notices anything, and nobody gets excited.
For the past 2 weeks I have been noticing something though. First, I saw gannets and gulls diving into the shallows off my favourite local beach. Days later I found dead capelin on the shore, not from a spawning event, they looked more like they’d been dropped by the birds while they were chasing each other around. Then last Friday while taking a walk on the beach, I spotted a small group of capelin cruising the shoreline:
Capelin on Prince Edward Island
I followed them around for a bit, they didn’t mind, I waded into the water to get this shot. Eventually they returned to deeper waters where I ran into a much larger school of sand lance, they were easily spooked.
If anyone from Newfoundland sees a capelin picture like this I’ll understand if they don’t get excited, it’s such a small gathering of fish, but for me it was my first sighting of live capelin since I left, so it was pretty exciting to me! 🙂