The Herring are running!

It’s a sure sign that spring is coming when the herring return from the sea to spawn.

I’ve been watching more and more sea gulls gather at the Herring Run in Middleboro. I figured they must know something so Monday on my way to work I stopped to check out the waters. 

The gulls were everywhere, lined up like they were going to a free buffet and in effect, they were. Those poor fish not only have to fight their way upstream from the sea but have to run a gauntlet of hungry gulls and even a great blue heron.

I was on my way over to the bridges when a man approached me. He told me he helped maintain the run. He saw my camera and said if I was into photography  I should go to the fish ladder in the center of Middleboro. He said the herring run only last a a couple of days and that it had been two days already…not much time left. He gave me directions and I promised to check it out.

Since I had to work that had to wait until Tuesday and Tuesday was a “wonderful “, rainy, windy day. I reminded myself that April showers bring May flowers. When the rain seemed to be letting up I hopped in the car and headed over to Middleboro.

I didn’t think I’d remember what the little map meant that the gentleman had given me but before too long I found myself in the center of Middleboro heading toward the municipal light plant. And that’s where I found a little park and the fish ladder.

 My informant was right! There were fish everywhere. I knew what a fish ladder was but I’d never really seen one up close or watched fish using one. This was really interesting. As the fish worked their way upstream the ladder made the jump smaller and provided calmer water on each side to let them recover for the next jump. The ladder was teeming and I felt bad when a fish would make the jump only to be swept back again because they didn’t get into the calmer water on the side fast enough.

Down at the river end was a little falls and there the tiny fish were trying to jump them. These fish are much smaller than salmon and don’t jump as high but trying to photograph one in the air was just about mission impossible. It gave me a whole new insight into those National Geographic pictures of the salmon in mid air flying over rapids and falls. I took over 60 pictures and only managed to catch a fish part way out of the water in one. It’s no prize winner but I will include it here simply because I don’t have anything better. It will illustrate the torrents these fish were trying to navigate.

The park itself is a very pretty little park with picnic tables and benches. I bet it’s a pleasant place on a sunny spring day. 

The gulls were here too but they were just flying overhead. Maybe my presence was keeping them away. It wasn’t too long before the rain started again in earnest so I wrapped up my visit with a last picture of a grass-covered boulder or hummock that made me think of Cousin It from the old Adams Family Show.

 Then I ran for the car before my camera and I got soaked.

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0 Responses to The Herring are running!

  1. wow, I haven’t thought about the herring running in ever so many years. As a kid we would go and catch some, my uncle liked them pickled. (eww). They would come in off the Hudson River. You are bringing back nice memories.

    • Dusty Roads says:

      I don’t remember much about the herring when I was growing up in NY but out here in Southeastern MA it’s a big deal. There are always people at the fish ladders checking on the fish. I’m learning that there are fish ladders for the herring all across the area to help them get to Lakeville where most of them spawn. As for pickled herring..I’ve heard of it but I think I agree with you 🙂

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