Thursday, April 8, 2010

Herring . . .

Travel destinations, family events, holidays, fashion - some of the usual topics I regularly write about. Today, something a little different . . .


Not very glamorous, not a newsmaker, not even very tasty, but these little guys have had such a tough time recently that I thought they deserved a little recognition! The herrings that migrate through my town, Middleborough, are Alewife and Blueback Herring; if you need a little herring education, visit this link to the Commonwealth's website to learn more about the different types of herring in Massachusetts!

Every spring these ambitious little fish return to spawn. In April and May, you can observe them at many different locations. Large schools making their upriver trip to calmer waters - the same waters they originated from. Struggling against the current, trying to climb "ladders" that assist them in their endeavors - they are relentless in their pursuit toward the calm waters on the other side of the challenging waters.

This year their migration was different than in years past. Due to the horrible flooding experienced here last week, the trip up the rivers and streams has become very challenging for them. In my town, the area in the Nemasket River where they travel through usually looks like this:

Photo courtesy of
After the flooding, it now looks like this:

My youngest son and I spent some time last night watching these brave little fish make their trip against the raging waters. Some were caught in the roaring waters above (and by the number of scales floating in the water, we assumed some didn't make it), but most seemed to escape the wrath of the flood waters to make the trip safely up the ladder.
Resting after their trip!

The average count of herring who make it across "the finish line" (my son's term - I'm sure in the world of fisheries and wildlife there is a more technical word for it!) typical for this time of year is about 17 per minute - hopefully the swift current will not change these numbers too drastically.

After viewing make the difficult trip up the ladder, we crossed the street to watch a few cross the yellow "finish line" - click on the video below to see some who did make it!

This is my first attempt at adding a video to my blog - not perfect as I couldn't get it to freeze on the first frame of the video - just click on the arrow!

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