August 2022

Vol. 50, No. 4

Birding Great Salt Bay Farm Wildlife Preserve in Lincoln County, Maine

Ethan Whitaker

Nobleboro, MaineIf I were limited to birding just one location in the State of Maine, regardless of the time of year, without hesitation I would choose Great Salt Bay Farm Wildlife Preserve in Nobleboro. In winter, Bald Eagles, Belted Kingfishers, and Common Loons are regulars. With spring come the migrating warblers and returning Ospreys. In the summer, the meadows are alive with noisy Bobolinks, and the autumn brush is filled with a diverse array of sparrows. Great Salt Bay is Maine birding at its best.

The Great Salt Bay Farm Wildlife Preserve (hereafter designated as Great Salt Bay) is a 115-acre wildlife preserve that was acquired in several pieces starting in 1994 by the late Mrs. Elizabeth Noyce, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the Damariscotta River Association. The Damariscotta River Association merged with the Pemaquid Watershed Association in 2019 to become the Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust (, which now manages the preserve and recently renamed it Salt Bay Farm and Nature Center. The Trust and various other websites and books designate Damariscotta—and even Newcastle—as the geographical home of Great Salt Bay, but do not be fooled. Great Salt Bay is located within the small, 23-square-miles town of Nobleboro. The best way to find the preserve is to enter its street address—110 Belvedere Road—in either Nobleboro or Damariscotta, depending on the map app you use.

On its south side, Great Salt Bay abuts the Damariscotta River, which flows past East Boothbay and Christmas Cove into the Atlantic Ocean 12 miles away. A strong tidal flow pushes brackish water up the river into Salt Bay, which borders the preserve on the west and north.

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