The alewives–anadromous members of the herring family–are running in many Maine rivers much to the delight of gulls, osprey, and people up and down the coast. That was certainly true this morning for herring gulls at Damariscotta Mills who enjoyed an all-you-can-eat buffet. Alewives in the thousands were teed up waiting for the tide to rise so they could run up the new fish ladder. They need to make sure they turn right into the new fishladder stream rather than go straight. Those who fail to make the turn probably end up in the harvest bin destined either for lobstermen or the smokehouse. It looked like there were plenty to go around today.
One observer said osprey bypass this area when the gull count gets high. Gulls will completely mob an osprey to steal its meal. Not that the gulls needed help today to catch their brunch: snatch from the teeming water, take two gulps, go back for more.
Intrigued? There’s an alewife festival at this site over Memorial Day weekend. There’s usually one in Benton, Maine too. Those alewives travel all the way up the Kennebec before they make a turn into the Sebasticook River. For more information about alewives and the Damariscotta Mills fish ladder visit their website. http://damariscottamills.org/