Kevin Galvin, the Herring Counter of Marstons Mills

Sad news in Marstons Mills, as Kevin Galvin, 63, owner of the magnificent red colonial on the mill pond at the herring run on Route 149 and Route 28 and the blogger who’s maintained the Marston Mills River herring count blog, has passed away from rabies contracted from a bite from a brown bat.

He was a big friend to the herring, along with my former Latin teacher and his wife, Tom and Pieter Burgess.

He’s the first person to die from rabies in the state since the 1930s according to the Cape Cod Times.

I like this post of his on how he knew when to check the run for herring in April:

“I’ve lived right beside Mill Pond for 10 years now and have developed a pretty good sense of the events and cycles that occur at the pond and the behavior of the swans, the blue herons, migrating birds, osprey, turtles, frogs & toads, owls, etc, etc.

I learn more and more as time goes by, but one thing I’m certain of is this: the only time of the year that the aptly-named Herring Gull is on Mill Pond is when the herring are running – and the gulls arrive on Mill Pond exactly when the herring do.

What’s even nicer about this is that I don’t even have to look for the gulls, as I can simply just listen for them. And that unmistakable screech is notice to me to get the folks out to start countin’.

Now sometimes the gulls will show up a few days early and kind of just poke around, but there isn’t any noise, because there’s to nothing to fight over. But when the herring arrive (yum!) the fighting and associated screeching begins, because as with many animals, the easiest way to find food is to try to steal it from one who’s already found it.

So we have a few gulls poking around the pond today, and they’re quiet as expected. But my guess is that within a couple of days two things will happen: there’ll be the sound of screeching gulls and we’ll be counting herring…”

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

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