Scarborough marsh deceptively full of life

Posted June 21, 2012, at 1:13 p.m.

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