Capisic Pond Park

Capisic Pond Park

An 18-acre nature preserve, featuring bird-watching and ice-skating pond. The park also offers wetland trails. Open dawn to dusk.

A rare bird from Europe has drawn a crowd of birders to Capisic Pond Park in recent weeks. But the city’s misguided approach to invasive plants threatens to set back the park’s biodiversity. Read on to learn more.

Park History

A rare bird from Europe recently stopped in Capisic Pond Park, drawing a group of local birders. The Redwing (or European Thrush) breeds in northern Europe, Iceland, and Russia and had never been seen before in Maine.

The 18-acre park also boasts great views of Capisic Pond and the Fore River. The mix of water, pond, and green space is said to attract waterfowl, wading birds, warblers, and orchard orioles.

City mismanagement of this natural area is a concern, as the use of mechanized cutting (and mulching) destroys the habitat. The unselective approach promotes invasive species that out-compete regenerating natives. Ultimately this type of treatment limits food sources for frugivores and other wildlife.

Libbytown is bordered by Nason’s Corner and Deering Center neighborhoods to the west, Evergreen Cemetery on Ludlow Street to the south, and the Presumpscot River to the north. Homes are generally smaller in this neighborhood, but the proximity to Capisic Pond Park and easy access to downtown Portland makes it a popular location.

Park Activities

The 18-acre nature preserve, a popular birding destination during warbler migration in Spring, also offers ice skating and an undeveloped wetland trail. Open dawn to dusk.

City-maintained trails for bikes, dogs, and snowshoes are accessible at Capisic Pond Park and nearby Evergreen Cemetery Woods. The City’s winter conditions map shows five skating ponds, three sledding hills, and groomed cross-country skiing trails.

A major problem at Capisic Park this Fall was the City’s misguided effort to clear-cut large sections of woodland, including a significant portion of the pond area. Such a heavy-handed, unselective treatment not only degrades the appearance of the park, but it will set back regenerating native habitat and accelerate the spread of invasives (Asiatic bittersweet, bush honeysuckle) that will outcompete regenerating species. Such a mistake could have been avoided by using low-impact methods such as girdling and targeted pruning that would have improved habitat while eliminating the need for mechanized clearing. A must-see place!

Park Facilities

Capisic Pond Park is a natural area that provides a pleasant walking experience for Portland residents and visitors. The park features a moderately sloping dirt path through woods and fields from Macy Street (off Capisic Street) to Lucas Street (off Brighton Avenue). The path offers exploration of the city’s largest freshwater pond, which is surrounded by wetlands. Benches are located along the trail.

In the summer, the park is lush with a variety of wildflowers and grasses that attract migrating birds. Its wetlands and cattail marshes are attractive to waterfowl, including common sea ducks and gulls. Song sparrows overwinter here as well.

The park is also a good place to watch for wintering Orchard Orioles and other fruit-loving birds. The eastern promenade overlooks Casco Bay, making it a good place to scan the water for eiders and other seabirds.

Park Map

Easily navigate to Capisic Pond Park (Capisic Pond and Brook Trail) using Moovit’s free maps and directions. Featuring up-to-the-minute schedules, routes, and timetables, Moovit makes getting to Capisic Pond Park (Capisic Brook Trail) simple and fast.

After a multimillion-dollar dredging project, the park now offers a lush display of blooming wildflowers, native shrubs, and trees. Along the gravel path running from Capisic Street to Lucas Street, yellow buttercups, pink and violet lupin, and white campions fill the open meadows.

In the woods, tan cattails bob in the water, and purple ragged robin covers the ground. The architect of the park’s landscape called for plants that grow wild in Maine and replaced invasive species with food bushes such as serviceberry, winterberry, and chokeberry, as well as native viburnums and dogwoods.

The area is popular for birding and a favorite spot for migrant warblers in late spring. It is also home to deer, foxes, and muskrats. Dogs are allowed off-leash here but must be under voice control. Click here for the next blog post.

 

 

Driving directions from Pristine Exterior Cleaning to Capisic Pond Park

Driving directions from Capisic Pond Park to Mackworth Island State Park

 

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