• Ed Jenkins

Maine Birding: Scarborough Marsh

Updated: Nov 14, 2019

With the first snow of the season in the forecast, Doug Hitchcox and I made an early morning trip to Scarborough Marsh on November Sunday 10th to look for wildfowl and any late shorebirds.

At dawn the conditions were still but cold, just around freezing. Although it was the hunting season, we chose a Sunday, and therefore had the marsh to ourselves. Overall the birding was slow. The pannes held little, with the only shorebirds being a few greater yellowlegs. However wildfowl diversity was better, with small flocks of mallard, American black duck, green-winged teal, hooded merganser and a single red-breasted merganser feeding in the various pools.

As we reached the trees on the eastern end of the Eastern Trail a young red-shouldered hawk flew along the forest edge and perched in a tall tree, the only raptor we came across. The real highlights of the morning were large flocks of horned larks (35) and snow buntings (27), whirling over the marsh before alighting to forage in the low grass. One flock of snow buntings was especially tame, allowing us to approach closely. Other highlights included three flyover American Pipits and an American tree sparrow.

Snow buntings. © Doug Hitchcox

We briefly checked at Dunstan Landing for reported long-billed dowitchers but only found greater yellowlegs and Canada geese.

After thawing our fingers with a short visit to Holy Donut we briefly checked out Grondin Pond (an American coot and a surprising female black scoter) and Prout's Pond (Gadwall, Greater Scaup, ruddy duck, and more American coot).

EJ enjoying close views of snow buntings. © Doug Hitchcox

eBird lists

Scarborough Marsh - Eastern Rd: https://ebird.org/checklist/S61327892

Scarborough Marsh - Dunstan Landing: https://ebird.org/checklist/S61327955

Grondin Pond: https://ebird.org/checklist/S61327939

Prout's Pond: https://ebird.org/checklist/S61327920

By Ed Jenkins