The Batson River and the smaller Smith Brook meet in a large saltmarsh and flow into Goosefare Bay. Smaller saltmarshes border both rivers and coalesce into a larger saltmarsh system as the flow nears the ocean. Pockets of pitch pine forest grade slowly into ribbons of thick maritime shrublands, switchgrass, and gradually into saltmarsh along the undisturbed sections of shoreline.

Ornithological Summary

American Black Ducks, Common Eiders, Buffleheads and Mallards are all common occurrences in winter and during migration. During migration, the mouth of the Batson River is often home to rafts of Red-breasted Mergansers. Pannes and pools, together with the saltmarsh north of Marshall Point Road, provide feeding habitat for numerous egrets, yellowlegs and Mallards. The beach at the north end of Marshall Point Road has had nesting Piping Plovers in the past. The uplands in the area are home to nesting grassland and shrubland birds, including Bobolinks and Eastern Towhees, both species of conservation concern in Maine. Portions of the marsh have high nesting concentrations of both species of sharp-tailed sparrows.

Conservation Issues

Invasive Phragmites is a problem in this portion of the coast and red fox predation on beach-nesting birds can be significant. As with other sites in coastal portions of southern Maine, bordering land uses and upland development are a constant threat to ecosystem health.

Ownership

Ownership of the marshes and surrounding uplands is a mix of private, non-profit conservation and federal (Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge) holdings. Rachel Carson National Wildlife lands are generally closed to public entry in order to protect wildlife from undue disturbance. There are some public use trails and public uses that are permitted. Please consult the Refuge Manager for current regulations (207) 646-9226 or stop by the refuge headquarters and visitor center at 321 Port Road in Wells.

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