Alewives running in Damariscotta

Posted May 22, 2012, at 9:54 a.m.
Gulls feat on running alewives at Damariscotta Mills.
Dave Small
Gulls feat on running alewives at Damariscotta Mills.
The river runs black with alewives.
Dave Small
The river runs black with alewives.
Gulls enjoy the spoils of &quotfishing" the alewife run.
Dave Small
Gulls enjoy the spoils of "fishing" the alewife run.
An American toad and a green frog.
Dave Small
An American toad and a green frog.
A killdeer at Reid State Park.
Dave Small
A killdeer at Reid State Park.
Lupi the Bergamasco.
Dave Small
Lupi the Bergamasco.
A magnolia warbler.
Dave Small
A magnolia warbler.
A magnolia warbler.
Dave Small
A magnolia warbler.
A piping plover defends its territory.
Dave Small
A piping plover defends its territory.
Crashing waves at Reid State Park.
Dave Small
Crashing waves at Reid State Park.

Two weekends ago, our adventure started with a trip to Bath with Deb’s sister and brother-in-law. The weather gods were in our favor as we departed early Friday morning.

First stop in Bath was Thorne Head nature preserve. Located adjacent to the Bath landfill, at the end of High Street, it was a pleasant hike, visually. Then on to Reid State Park, my second time there. The Canon saw some action along Mile Beach. Wave action attracted several surfers, a very active killdeer and an active pair of piping plovers.

Although I didn’t think I was intruding on anything — I’m very respectful of the animals I photograph — the maybe two-ounce male, I think, kept charging me. Deb thought she heard it say, “get your own woman.” Their privacy was my rule from then on.

Time to check in at the Benjamin Packard House B & B in Bath … a recent discovery of Deb’s sister. We were welcomed by their official greeter, an Italian sheep dog breed (Bergamasco) named Lupi. Lupi and the innkeepers were both extraordinarily friendly. Lupi was very well-trained and quite photogenic. Deb and I will certainly make a return visit.

After an evening out, a great sleep and a wonderful breakfast, it was off to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay — Also, camera-friendly. The magnolia warbler posed trail side while singing a most intriguing song. I can’t say anything about the toad and green frog. I guess it’s up to you. These gardens are a must-see for young and old, they are beautiful!

We pressed on to Damariscotta Mills, and as good fortune would have it, caught the first day of the alewife run upstream to Damariscotta Lake. The alewives painted the river bottom black as they grouped to make a run. Waiting in vast numbers were anxious sea gulls and photographers.

As near as I could tell, gulls were only occasionally successful, me getting images of gulls carrying off fish, less than that. As a first-timer, I really enjoyed seeing the show, a true demonstration of the struggles of nature. A newly constructed fish ladder around the falls made for a great place to observe the alewives as they made their way upstream.

To end a wonderful time, we made our way home on U.S. 1 with a stop in Rockland for ice cream … yum!

 

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