Narrow River – Wide Assortment of Wildlife

Headwaters of the Pettaquamscutt or Narrow River

Gilbert Stuart Birthplace

Gilbert Stuart's birthplace is the site of a fish ladder

Anadromous Fish Return from the Sea to Spawn

Alewives return to their natal river

Alewives return to their natal river


Catadromous Species Spawn at Sea and Their Offspring Journey into Freshwater

glass eels

glass eels

After hatching in the Sargasso Sea, “glass eels” or elvers infiltrate streams, creeks and marshes in Rhode Island

elvers or glass eels

transparent eels

eel in brackish pond


These resilient animals can live over 20 years in our ponds and lakes before heading back to the Sargasso Sea to spawn and die

American eel
American Eel

Rhode Island Ospreys Mate Above the Narrow River

This pair of fish-hawks mate high above the Narrow River, also known as the Pettaquamscutt River. After mating,  the male osprey scoured the area looking for suitable nesting material. I hope he finds enough river herring to support his future nestlings.

The “Fish Moon” and River Herring

Herring Return on Full Moon The Full Moon in April Motivates Herring to Move The 2012 herring run started early this year; perhaps due to the unseasonably warm temperatures in March.  However, very few herring ran up the river during the last week–I was getting a little nervous. Did the industrial fleet of pair trawlers [...]

Opening Day of Tautog Season

For New Jersey anglers it’s
opening day of Tog Season 2012

Tautog or Blackfish next to a rocky reef in Narragansett Bay

Tautog or Blackfish next to a rocky reef in Narragansett Bay

 Good luck, but please toss the egg laden females back.

Fishing Our Way Down the Food Chain

The Lion's Mane Jellyfish is the largest jellyfish in the worldThe Lion’s Mane Jellyfish is the largest jellyfish in the world

When does Jellyfish season open?

Look at the RI landings

Top 10 seafood landings (by pounds)


In 2010, more pounds of squid were brought ashore in Rhode Island than any other seafood.


Squid (Illex)
Atlantic herring
Little skate
Squid (Loligo)




When I was young my family and I ate all of the above, but we also had a steady supply of cod, haddock, flounder, halibut, pollock and even swordfish—the majority of which could be called “local” with a straight face. In the fifty years since, overfishing for these prize species—those that fetched highest ex-vessel prices—has done huge and well-documented damage to both our once-abundant groundfish and the habitats that sustain them.

Now that we’ve pummeled the stocks of bottom dwellers and longlining has dramatically reduced apex-predator stocks like sharks, tuna, marlin, swordfish, and so on, the race is on to catch every last critter that can be consumed. Look at the above list of commercially landed species and consider: In my childhood—heck, even now—most would fall neatly under the “bait” heading….

If we don’t get our regulatory asses in gear, we’ll soon be dining on spider crabs and jellyfish. Speaking of the food chain—its bottom links in particular–did you take your krill oil today?


Early squid?

Longfin inshore squid (Loligo pealeii)

Will the Longfin inshore squid (Loligo pealeii) spawn early?

I’ll be diving this week to see if I can find the first wave of squid to invade Narragansett Bay for the 2012 squid spawn.

profile picture of a longfin squid

profile picture of a longfin squid

Last year was a mad rush for these valuable eatables, with draggers from all over—some of staggering proportions and horsepower—pummeling the south shore beaches relentlessly, April into July.


two extremely different colored squid

two extremely different colored squid

Squid landings amounted to six times the volume of lobster that crossed the Ocean State docks last season, but both generated roughly the same revenue: $12.4 million.

pink and pearl colored squid

pink and pearl colored squid

By some estimates, Rhode Island’s commercial fleet produces the largest volume of domestic squid landings on the Eastern Seaboard (some would suggest that Cape May, NJ comes close). Pretty impressive for what once was an underutilized resource (a kiss-of-death designation that generally transitions—at a breakneck clip—to “fully exploited” and soon thereafter to “crashed” or “collapsed”).

squid blows jet of water into the sand

squid blows jet of water into the sand

squid eating blueback herring

squid eating blueback herring

squid lined up in a row

squid lined up in a row

macro shot of a squid eye

macro shot of a squid eye

Point Judith is now the Loligo squid capital of the Eastern Seaboard—its product regarded as among the world’s finest, and in constant high demand, particularly in southern European and Asian markets.

For what it’s worth, the old exit sign off Route 1 to Galilee once designated the port the
“Tuna Capital of the World.”

Galilee Tuna Capital of the World

Galilee was home to the Atlantic Tuna Tournament and even Frank Mundus would weigh in a fish or two.

Getting to Know Big Blue

Learning the routine of fish and fowl is the first step to getting interesting imagery

budding birch tree

Budding birch tree will soon fill out

The woods are still pretty barren, but most trees are about to bud and it won’t be long before their full size leaves once again shield the animals of the forest from casual view.

great blue heron flies through the brush

Great blue heron flies through the brush

It’s taken a little while, but I’ve got the timing pretty well pegged for finding Mr. Blue either feeding or rousting for the evening.  It’s great that indeed these are “creatures of habit.”

Great Blue Heron Flaps its Massive Wings

Quick and Nimble Means a Meal

Tide Line Buffet

This collage of shots shows what happens in less than half a second  

Sandpiper pulls out a worm

Sandpiper pulls out a worm

Sandpipers stalk the surf line and when the waves recede they look for meals in the mud and sand.

Yesterday, I also found a number of ducks at the southeast corner of Mackerel Cove, Jamestown, Rhode Island…including this rather vocal specimen.

Red-breasted Merganser Ducks

A red-breasted Merganser with something to say

Buds, Birds and Bugs

Springtime on the Narrow River Pussy Willows These are among the first trees and shrubs to bloom, however, this year they are opening up just as fast as the skunk cabbage. Color Returns to the Forest I love watching the countryside come to life with splashes of color everywhere. It won’t be long before the [...]

On the Lookout for River Herring

Hunting for Herring

Yesterday afternoon I went looking for river herring…I wasn’t the only one.

A great blue heron swooped in and kept an eye open for returing alewives.  We were both out of luck.

A great blue heron flys through the trees

A great blue heron flys through the trees

Last night was a return to winter-like conditions with freezing temperatures that shut down the run of herring.  It seems both me and the heron were out of luck.


The Last Few Days Have Been Ducky

This is a great time of year for watching birds, especially ducks.  The display of colors is breathtaking and seeing the same ducks return to the same ponds, puddles, creeks, and rivers is a welcomed sight.  The quacking in the marsh behind my house is another matter.