Monday, May 22, 2006

It's May and the alewives are running.

Is it alewives or alewifes? No matter, they're fish about 10 t0 12 inches long, some even larger, that are ANADROMOUS, meaning they grow in salt water, but reproduce in fresh water.

Isn't this just the best sign in the Grandma Moses, Maud Lewis sort of way?

The alewives make their yearly migration to Damariscotta Lake to spawn, ( and many other places along the east coast) going back to where they were born. Millions of them. At the same time. The interesting part is that they have to swim UP a waterfall to get there, all 42 vertical feet of it...
so the local fishermen have made a ladder for the lucky few that can make it past their nets, because of course they are waiting for them. They are used for lobster bait these days instead of a food source for humans. The osprey and eagles and seagulls who see an easy snack are also waiting, some more patiently than others.

These seagulls were the noisiest bunch and this is just a few of them waiting and fighting over the fish. All I could hear was "Mine, mine, mine, mine.."

It was decided in the early 1700's that these fish should always have access to their spawning grounds so local legislation has appointed a committee ( in existence since 1807) whose sole purposse is to make sure they can get from A to B. It's a sight to see. One of the natural wonders of living in the state of Maine.

If you look very closely you can see some of them swimming in the water. The ladder is actually constructed of stones and sort of tacks back and forth beside the waterfall, with little 'resting pools' every now and then.

This is what we did this weekend instead of sewing anything for either of the two shows I'll be in in the coming months. But today is another day with great potential! And I have some new ideas floating around in the creative place.


Joanne S said...

So they eat Smelt and don't eat Alewifes? All this Maine Stuff is so "tricky" to learn.

Isn't May in Maine gorgeous? I could just stand or sit around in my yard and "look" all day. Such green grass. Such blue sky. So quiet. Ahh!

Sarah Ann Smith said...

So that's why there were so many gulls and cormorants in the river at Payson Park in Warren on Saturday! Thanks for the lesson...will have to see if there are any in the Megunticook???? The boys should see this! Any recommendations of places near Camden that I could take them?

Cheers, Sarah

Elle said...

How cool! Thanks for sharing this!