Scarborough marsh deceptively full of life

Posted June 21, 2012, at 1:13 p.m.
The sun rises over an oxbow curve at the Scarborough Marsh Sunday, June 17, 2012. A boat ramp leads to the water over the muddy bank in the foreground.
The sun rises over an oxbow curve at the Scarborough Marsh Sunday, June 17, 2012. A boat ramp leads to the water over the muddy bank in the foreground. Buy Photo
A singing songbird is silhouetted by the rising sun at the Scarborough Marsh Sunday, June 17, 2012.
A singing songbird is silhouetted by the rising sun at the Scarborough Marsh Sunday, June 17, 2012. Buy Photo
Phil Gasowski and his son, Bennett, 13, of Gorham paddle kayaks while fishing for striped bass at sunset on the Scarborough Marsh Friday, June 15, 2012.
Phil Gasowski and his son, Bennett, 13, of Gorham paddle kayaks while fishing for striped bass at sunset on the Scarborough Marsh Friday, June 15, 2012. Buy Photo
A sparrow returns to a nesting box at the Scarborough Marsh Sunday, June 17, 2012. A gull (right) uses another birdhouse as a temporary perch. Dozens of birdhouses are located throughout the marsh.
A sparrow returns to a nesting box at the Scarborough Marsh Sunday, June 17, 2012. A gull (right) uses another birdhouse as a temporary perch. Dozens of birdhouses are located throughout the marsh. Buy Photo
A red-winged blackbird divebombs a great egret that may have been encroaching on the smaller bird's nesting area at the Scarborough Marsh Sunday, June 17, 2012.
A red-winged blackbird divebombs a great egret that may have been encroaching on the smaller bird's nesting area at the Scarborough Marsh Sunday, June 17, 2012. Buy Photo
A tree swallow (top) drives off a sparrow from a nesting box at the Scarborough Marsh Friday, June 15, 2012.
A tree swallow (top) drives off a sparrow from a nesting box at the Scarborough Marsh Friday, June 15, 2012. Buy Photo
A duckling calls to its mother at the Scarborough Marsh Friday, June 15, 2012.
A duckling calls to its mother at the Scarborough Marsh Friday, June 15, 2012. Buy Photo
A crescent moon and the planet Jupiter rise in the eastern sky at dawn at the Scarborough Marsh Sunday, June 17, 2012.
A crescent moon and the planet Jupiter rise in the eastern sky at dawn at the Scarborough Marsh Sunday, June 17, 2012. Buy Photo

SCARBOROUGH, Maine — A motorist traveling on busy Route 1 through the Scarborough Marsh may glance out the window and think the place looks, well, a bit boring. But anyone who has taken the time to pull over and peer through binoculars knows the state’s largest salt marsh is teeming with nature’s little dramas.

A red-winged blackbird swoops down on a great egret, trying to drive the wader away from its nesting grounds in the tall grass nearby. Glossy ibises, willets and little blue herons fly in and peck at the mud along the banks of a tidal stream. Soon a group of black ducklings swim by, following their mother in single file.

Dozens of nesting boxes have been put up throughout the 3,100-acre marsh and nearly every one seems to be occupied by a swallows or sparrow.

The wide-open landscape may seem dull at midday, but go at dusk or dawn for an unobstructed view of the sky’s changing colors.

Dozens of trails give walkers and bicyclists access into the marsh, but the best way to explore it is probably by canoe or kayak. But plan your trip during high tide. You wouldn’t want to get stuck in the mud.

For information on the marsh, visit http://maineaudubon.org/our-locations/scarborough-marsh/.

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