Birding the Scarborough Marsh

by John Briggs on April 1, 2007

in Blog, Weekend Birding

Gorgeous back to back sunny days on a weekend is a privilege not too often experienced in early spring here in [tag]Maine[/tag], and when it does happen, you best take advantage of it.

Saturday, we traveled our regular birding loop.  We saw plenty of Ring-Necked Ducks, Green-Winged Teals, Common Eider, Hooded Mergansers, Red Breasted Mergansers, an adult Bald Eagle flying over Etherington Pond, and many songbirds. Their many beautiful songs were a welcomed reprieve from the quiet, cold Maine winter. 

Today, we rose before the sun, headed to the Scarborough Marsh, walked the Eastern Trail at sunrise and [tag]birded[/tag] for over two and a half hours. Highlights include:

  • Tree Swallows (including one who was checking out a nest box)
  • Song Sparrows
  • Tree Sparrows
  • Hooded Mergansers
  • Red Breasted Mergansers
  • Willets
  • Canada Geese
  • Snow Geese (a fly-over of 6)
  • Common Golden eye
  • Bufflehead’s
  • *Golden Crowned Kinglet (life bird for both of us!)
  • Chickadees
  • Goldfinches
  • Black Ducks
  • Mallards
  • Mourning Doves
  • Green-Winged Teal
  • Common Loons

All in all, not a bad morning!

Afterwards, we drove to Pine Point. I had the good fortune to [tag]photograph[/tag] Old Squaws (Long-Tailed Ducks) yet again! It amazes me seeing the behavior of these beautiful ducks. I could watch these creatures all day long.

As done last weekend, I laid down on the dock between some lobster traps and waited for the Old Squaw to come to me. At one point, a male was no more than 2 feet in front of me which led to focusing issues with my camera. I waited until he backed away and then fired away. The photos may be seen below.

To make myself perfectly clear, I did not approach these ducks. They approached me!

To end on a disturbing note, Biddeford has seen fit to post NO PARKING signs all along Granite Point Road. The only parking area to view the Granite Point piece of the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge is a very small grassy parking area near the beginning of the refuge. One would be lucky to place three cars side by side in this parking spot. And if it is muddy, forget it.

From what I’ve heard from a Granite Point resident, last summer drivers parked on both sides of the road at the private beach at New Barn Cove. They did not pull off the road far enough, blocking the way so that a fire truck responding to an emergency call, had not been able to get through.

Because of this incident, the Biddeford Council decided to post no parking signs on BOTH sides of the road, for the entire length of Granite Point Road. To me, it would make more sense to post one side of the road, so people can enjoy the beauty of, and the wildlife in, the refuge. Now, with this nonsense, the only way to view the refuge is by doing a drive by, or hoping out-of-staters enjoying their stay on Granite Point don’t fill the 3 measly spaces the refuge provides for parking as their personal parking place. A really fun way to enjoy our free space! Thank you Biddeford, another wise decision.

I thought that the refuge was for everyone to enjoy, not just a select few.  If you have been following my postings, you would know that at least 75% of my pictures were taken at this wildlife refuge. Now if I want stop to take a picture or two, I may be arrested and/or fined. That also is true for the few people who like to park at the end of the road and read a book, or just enjoy the view and sound of the sea. Walking the road, which is 3 miles from beginning to end, is not an option for many who are unable to walk this distance. Yet another Maine coastal area where public access is being denied.

Now that my venting is over, I am going to contact the main office of the refuge and see what can be done about getting a small parking area at the end of Granite Point Road, on refuge property.

If you enjoy going to Granite Point, and would like to see more parking, please join me in emailing the refuge office and see what can be done. The email address is

Below are [tag]photos[/tag] of [tag]birds[/tag] taken at various places while [tag]birding[/tag] over the weekend. Click a thumbnail for a larger view. Comments and criticisms are welcomed.

Male Black Duck - Scarborough Marsh, Scarborough, Maine. Black Duck Pair - Scarborough Marsh, Scarborough, Maine. The DownEaster - Scarborough Marsh, Scarborough, Maine.
Female Common Eider - Pine Point, Scarborough, Maine. Female Hoodie (Hooded Merganser) - Scarborough Marsh, Scarborough, Maine. Golden-Crowned Kinglet - Scarborough Marsh, Scarborough, Maine.
Grackle - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Green_Winged Teal - Granite Point, Biddeford Pool, Scarborough, Maine. Male Old Squaw (Long-Tailed Duck) - Pine Point, Scarborough, Maine.
Male Old Squaw (Long-Tailed Duck) - Pine Point, Scarborough, Maine. Song Sparrow Singing - Scarborough Marsh, Scarborough, Maine. Watching the sun rise - Song Sparrow - Scarborough Marsh, Scarborough, Maine.
Tree Swallow - Scarborough Marsh, Scarborough, Maine. Tree Swallow - Scarborough Marsh, Scarborough, Maine. Tree Swallow - Scarborough Marsh, Scarborough, Maine.

Happy birding!


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