October 5, 2007

Portland - Scarborough Marsh

While visiting Lincoln Kayaks in Freeport (the home of LL Bean), we had a tip from a fellow paddler that couldn't be dismissed with our yern to explore. Scarborough Marsh is located just outside of the city of Portland, and through efforts of the Audubon Society & the local township, has been protected and preserved. http://www.maineaudubon.org/explore/centers/marsh.shtml

The tidal influence here is pretty strong, varying about eight feet, so our paddle had to be planned to take advantage of the flows without risking getting trapped at dusk in a shallow tributary. We arrived at the launchpoint a bit early, and took a short hike through a nearby preserve.

The fall colors seemed more prominent on the ground than in the trees.
Kim was delighted to find crispy, sweet apples abundant along the woodland trail.

A side trail lead to the river, where we sat, watched shorebirds, and awaited the incoming tide.

The most striking difference from Louisiana paddles was immediately apparent at the lauch, where the water receded some fifty feet away and several feet down from normal high tide levels.

Known as a haven for migrating waterfowl, this area harbors many of the same species as Louisiana. We felt close to home, seeing the many gulls, great blue herons, egrets, plovers and yellowlegs.

The highlight of the birding was sighting four Whimbrels, a bird that is becoming scarce everywhere, and an uncommon visitor here. Unfortunately, they were not as cooperative in front of the camera as the more common yellowleg in this photo.

The paddle was nice and liesurely, with much less birds or wildlife as might be seen in the South.

But the return near day's end brought out those rich, beautiful hues of fall that Maine is well known for.

Most stuning were the stunning contrast of the marsh grasses sitting atop the dead-still marsh surface!