In May of each year, hundreds of thousands of alewives make their run from the ocean, up the Damariscotta River, through the Great Salt Bay, up the fish ladder at Damariscotta Mills, and finally into Damariscotta Lake. These members of the herring family are anadromous, i.e. they migrate from hatchlings in fresh water to mature and spend most of their lives in salt water, then return to fresh water to spawn. These river herrings are important to the ecology of tidal Maine rivers such as the Damariscotta. During their annual spring run, they are major prey items for osprey, double-crested cormorants, ring-billed and herring and black-backed gulls.
This gallery begins with a photograph of alewives schooling at Damariscotta Mills, followed by a series of images of osprey hunting, diving and catching alewives. Also there are photographs of cormorants and gulls hunting and consuming alewives.
© Keith Carver Photography • Zen