Skip to content
Home » Living in Reel Time

Living in Reel Time

Sunset thru trees at river mouth

After enjoying a much shorter winter, Tom and I are thrilled that Spring is showing her majestic charm so early in the year. Now that we live in Edenton, North Carolina, we spend the majority of our day working in the fresh air. After a winter’s rest, we find the nature’s display waking nothing short of amazing. Here are our first experiences with two Southern nature rituals that have been etched in our minds.

Fish Migration

Spawning season is underway for North Carolina’s migratory fish. We were told our basin was a hotspot for river herring, and the rumors did not disappoint. River herring are actually two distinct species, the alewife and the blueback, but the two are so closely related as to be almost indistinguishable. So, the common name river herring is generally used for both. Each female will release an average of 100,000 eggs directly into the water. The fertilized eggs will hatch in three to seven days after spawning, depending on the water temperature.

For several weeks night and day, we heard splashing and jumping and watched herring swim in schools. Our 120′ x 800′ basin has been at the locale for their annual spawning run for years, and they especially love it under the shade of the docks. There are so many, you could dip a net into the water and come up with it full of fish. Who needs television when you have something like this to watch!?!

Bird Migration

Late one morning, after spending some time in the garden I heard birds. Not “birds”, but thousands of birds! As I looked up I saw a dark cloud traveling at a good clip, heading towards us. I wondered if what I was witnessing was normal and had a de-ja vu movie moment. You know the movie, Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, which was forever imprinted on my younger mind. I briefly considered if this could really happen. Very seriously, I texted our good friends, Kim & James, who have answers to all my birding questions.

Farm field of a spring migration of black birds.

They responded right away that I was witnessing the legendary spring migration, an event every birder has on their bucket list. I am sad that I never knew this was an occurrence, and wonder what else I am missing. If you have never seen it, it’s fascinating, do it once in your lifetime. My video is a very small clip of my original and does not do it justice. Driving around town, you would see endless flocks of birds all over farm fields and in the air for days. I am looking forward to next years migration, and will have my nice camera ready.

It’s amazing what you don’t know you don’t know. Get out there and figure it out while you can!


Old rusted sunken barge Tom discovered just off our property
Sunken rusty old barge discovered by Tom

It’s been a busy week, and I didn’t have time to include anything in our property progress, but no worries I have lots to report in the future. I did want to tell you about two simple wildlife experiences we enjoyed this spring.

I’ll leave you today with a photograph of a rusty old sunken barge that Tom has discovered just off our property. Seems that barges are meant to be part of our lives. One day, he will salvage those massive cleats off of it.

In the past few years, I have learned that we all have so much to live for everyday. Look at simple things in life and find joy! Have an amazing week.

6 thoughts on “Living in Reel Time”

  1. You are sooooo right, we do have much to live for!! Some people have looked at me strangely sometimes, because I to take great pleasure in the simple small things in life. It doesn’t take much to make me happy or give me pleasure.

  2. This was the first year I had ever heard of the birds migrating. I was fascinated that they are picked up on radar! So, I sat up two nights waiting….. no luck! I envy you!! Next year…..

  3. Tiffany — River herring and the spring bird migration. You were in the center of two of the most wondrous displays of our natural world. We send greetings and share your awe.

    To Jean — Nearly all songbirds but few waterfowl migrate at night. The fascinating reasons for this are entertainingly and superbly explained in the book, Living on the Wind, by Scott Weidensaul, an ornithologist we consider amazing. Weidensaul showed us a few radar weather websites two falls ago. In real-time shortly after sunset, we watched on the radar as millions of songbirds took off throughout Maine, achieving their migratory altitudes, and heading south. Many land-only birds flew over open ocean too far from shore to survive if they were forced into the water. For us, it was a discovery beyond words.

  4. Stumbled across your blog via social media. Interesting herring video & info. I’ve been curious about them since moving to NE NC, hearing locals talk of scooping herrings during their seasonal spawning runs in Rocky Hock off the small roadway bridges. I hear they are a local delicacy, the whole fish & their roe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *