Damariscotta Mills Alewife Run and Osprey

by John Briggs on May 8, 2010

in Bird Photographs, Bird Photography Weekly, Blog, Wildlife

I have been waiting for this time of the year all winter long. The alewife run at Damariscotta Mills, Maine is in full swing. It seems fitting that the day after classes ended for the spring semester, the alewives are running and the Osprey are many. Instead of books in hand, I am back with my old pal the camera. It’s great to become reacquainted with an old friend!

Damariscotta Mills, Maine

Damariscotta Mills, Maine

It was a cool and windy Friday morning, with clouds beginning to break up as a cold front pushed off the coast. Several hundred Gulls and a few Osprey greeted me upon my arrival and I could see plenty of alewives in the water. If I could see them, so could the Osprey.

The alewives make their journey from the Atlantic Ocean, swimming up the Damariscotta River estuary and into the Great Salt Bay before getting to the fish ladders that takes them into Damariscotta Lake. The photo above shows the area just below the fish ladders. Gulls, Double-crested Cormorants, Osprey, Bald Eagles, Great Blue Herons and even an occasional seal or two patrol the Great Salt Bay and the areas leading to the ladders to feast on the alewife.

After setting up in my favorite spot, I waited for the action to commence. Because of the high winds, the Osprey were having problems hovering over the water to look for fish. When the Osprey dove to grab a fish, the wind would knock them off course and their were many “misses.” I had problems with flight shots, as I am still healing from two broken ribs suffered a few weeks ago. I mainly focused on the dives and the plunge into the water.

Several times throughout the morning, a Harbor Seal made its way into the area beside the parking lot. The Seal would swirl in circles, causing the fish to be stunned, and then gobbling them up as fast as it could. At times, during this swirl process, alewives would jump clear out of the water to escape the hungry seal.

Enjoy the following photos of Osprey fishing for alewives at Damariscotta Mills, Maine.

Some of the following photos are “tall” and those with smaller screens may not see the full size photograph after clicking a thumbnail. Hit your f11 key to open your browser window to it’s fullest size before clicking a thumbnail. Once a photo is open in the shadowbox, navigation arrows are at the bottom to go to the next photo.

Happy birding!


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