On the outer edge of Biddeford Pool, tucked just beyond beautiful private residences and the spectacular Abenakee Club golf course, sits Maine Audubon’s best-kept secret: the East Point Audubon Sanctuary.
At only 30 acres, it is Maine Audubon’s smallest sanctuary. But what it lacks in area it more than makes up for in beauty. A short trail weaves along the perimeter of the rocky point, providing rare public access to this stretch of the Maine coast. Visitors are treated to 270-degree views of Saco Bay and the Gulf of Maine, including the Wood Island lighthouse and long stretches of important coastal habitat. It is a premier migratory stopover and summer home to birds like the Chipping Sparrow, which are easy to spot from the comfort of benches placed along the open trail.
Over the past couple of years, the trail’s viewsheds have improved thanks to a collaboration with the Abenakee Club and Biddeford Pool residents. With their support, in 2014 Maine Audubon undertook a project to remove invasive plant species that proliferated in the sanctuary. The work included a full wetland delineation and mapping. The required permits were secured, and three-and-a-half acres has been cleared to date. With sufficient financial support, the project will continue into 2017.
The benefits of this work are already making themselves clear. Robert Searle, superintendent of the Abenakee Club, reports a greater variety of birds in the area. “This year was the first time I’ve ever seen a Killdeer on the golf course,” he explains. “We’ve also had a surge in Whimbrels the past couple years.” Longer term, he says, the removal of invasive plants will result in new vegetation and create an even greater variety of habitats for wildlife.
Searle notes that members of the club and local residents have a vested interest in this work. “Our members have a deep respect for the ecological significance of Biddeford Pool,” he says. “It’s in that spirit that the club has been and will continue to be a great neighbor to the East Point Sanctuary.”
Have you visited the crown jewel of Maine Audubon’s sanctuaries? Find directions and more information at maineaudubon.org/east-point.
Interested in supporting the East Point invasives removal project? Please contact Development Director Bryce Hach at 207-781-2330 ext. 218.