The Mousam River in the town of Kennebunk originates at Mousam Lake near Shapleigh and flows through the city of Sanford. The river eventually enters the sea at Parsons Beach just southwest of Kennebunkport village. Saltmarsh habitat borders the river for nearly 2 miles inland from its terminus. The river is a popular spot for sport fisherman, especially at its end.

Ornithological Summary

This area has not been adequately surveyed for the diverse array of birds that occur here. However, yellowlegs, egrets and various sandpipers use the saltmarsh pannes and pools along the river. High marsh portions of the estuary support Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrows. The cut banks of the meandering Mousam provide nesting opportunities for Belted Kingfishers and Northern Rough-winged Swallows. Least Terns feed at the mouth of the river. In the winter, the outlet provides habitat for numerous loons.

Conservation Issues

Water quality and human disturbance are the primary concerns at this site.


Ownership at this site is characterized by a complex of private, non-profit, and federal (Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge) properties. Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge lands are generally closed to public entry to protect wildlife from undue disturbance. However, there is a public trail system here that parallels the Mousam River. This trail network includes a viewing platform and offers good opportunities to bird this area. Please consult the Refuge Manager for directions and current regulations (207) 646-9226 or stop by the headquarters and visitor center at 321 Port Road in Wells.

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