Around 8:30 p.m. on my first day in King Salmon, with the sun still high on the horizon, I wandered down to the river to see what I could see. I had been listening from a distance to a rowdy, raucous honking party going on for some time and I wanted to join the festivities.
For miles up and down the Naknek River, there were hundreds of trumpeter swans floating, flying, honking, singing, and generally carrying on in white wild abandon on the river. Keeping them company were gulls and mallards, greater yellowlegs and ravens, all swooping and diving and dipping and bobbing in what I knew just had to be really cold water since the river remained edged in ice.
Beluga whales are coming in, too, about an hour before high tide each day. Last year park staff were able to see hundreds of them at this spot.
High tide tonight is at 5:54 and in the morning at 7:12. I’ll be out there, listening for the whales singing.