Pawtuckaway State Park

Pawtuckaway State Park

40 Pawtuckaway Road Nottingham, New Hampshire 03290

Official Website
Pawtuckaway State Park trail map

Tips for Birding

When submitting eBird observations at Pawtuckaway State Park, it is most helpful to start a new checklist for each hotspot in the state park. Use the general hotspot when you have a checklist that includes multiple locations or if no other hotspot or personal location is appropriate for your sightings.

There are tips for birding Pawtuckaway State Park in Birdwatching in New Hampshire, pp. 87-88.

The best birding entrance to Pawtuckaway State Park is from Reservation Road in Deerfield, off NH-107, but the other 2 entrances may also be worth checking.

Reservation Road entrance: From NH-101 exit 3, take NH-43 north through Candia and past the Deerfield Fairgrounds for 7.4 miles. At the junction with NH-107, turn right (south) on NH-107 and go 0.7 miles to Reservation Road, and turn left.
From NH-101 Exit 5 in Raymond, go north 0.5 mile on NH-107 to the junction with NH-27. Turn left and follow NH-27 and NH-107 for 4.0 miles until they split. Bear right onto NH-107 north for 3.2 miles to Reservation Road, and turn right.
On Reservation Road, go 1.1 miles to the powerline crossing and continue another couple of miles until the road ends at a T intersection. The road to the left traverses the western edge of the park and will eventually circle back and come out a short distance west of the T intersection, where you can turn right to return to the powerline crossing. The road is usually gated in the winter and spring.

Main entrance: From NH-101 Exit 5 in Raymond, go north on NH-107 for 0.5 mile, turn left at NH-27, and then make an almost immediate right on NH-156. Go about 1 mile to Mountain Road, and turn left. Follow about 2 miles to the entrance road to the park, which provides access to the campground area, the south end of the Fundy Trail, and to several other trails leading up the mountain. There is an entrance fee during the warm-weather months, and the road is closed during the colder months.

Boat launch entrance: From NH-101 Exit 5 in Raymond, go north on NH-107 for 0.5 mile, turn left at NH-27, and then make an almost immediate right on NH-156. Go about 4.8 miles to Deerfield Road and turn left. Go 1.8 miles to just past Shadow Lane, and turn left onto the blacktop road, which becomes dirt just around the curve. (The sign for the boat launch is missing.) This road terminates after about .5 mile at the parking area and the north end of the Fundy Trail.

Birds of Interest

At the Reservation Road entrance, it is worth birding the high-tension north-south power line corridor, which has small shrubs and an ATV path in both directions. Most shrubs were cut back in 2006 by a power company on a periodic maintenance cycle, which may affect birds seen for some time. A good-sized pond over the hill going south. Parts of the trail may be impassable due to high water after heavy snow melt or heavy spring rains. Chestnut-sided, Prairie, & Yellow Warblers, Common Yellowthroat, Field Sparrow, Eastern Towhee, Eastern Kingbird.

Pawtuckaway is best birded in May and June and seems to attract both northern and southern birds. Breeding Dark-eyed Juncos, Evening Grosbeaks, Yellow-throated Vireos, Cerulean Warblers, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. Other common breeding birds include Scarlet Tanager, thrushes, and many warblers (Blackburnian, Redstart, Ovenbird). The most reliable area for Cerulean Warbler in recent years has been the first mile of Middle Mountain Trail as well as Tower Road within a few hundred yards up and downhill from the trailhead. This is also a good area for Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (try the cleared parking spot just above the trailhead) and Yellow-throated Vireo. Acadian Flycatcher (a rarity in NH) has been seen most recently a few hundred yards up Tower Road from the trail to the Fire Tower and along the Boulder Trail, though there are many areas worth checking for this species. Winter Wren and Dark-eyed Junco seem to be most reliable on South Mountain near the fire tower area, while Evening Grosbeak can frequently be heard overhead in the pines near the intersection of Tandy and Reservation Rds or along the first stretch of the North Mountain Trail north of Reservation Rd. Louisiana Waterthrush may be found in the ravine across the road from the trail to the fire tower, or along the beginning of the road to Round Pond from the “T” intersection with Tower Road (though they may be difficult to find after mid-May). This latter spot, with many Eastern Hemlocks, is a good area for some of the other breeding warblers and even Pine Siskins on occasion. Listen throughout for rare southern species such as Worm-eating, Yellow-throated, and Kentucky Warblers, as all have been reported here very rarely. Finally, the power-line cut before the intersection with Tandy Road can be good depending on the stage of succession, with Brown Thrasher, Prairie Warbler, Indigo Bunting, and Field Sparrow as possibilities.

About this Location

Pawtuckaway State Park is a huge state park covering most of the southern end of the Town of Nottingham. It centers around several peaks that comprise Mount Pawtuckaway and abuts the western edge of Pawtuckaway Lake. (The other edges of the lake are private property.) An area called Burnham Marsh is near the end of the main entrance road just before the campground and adjacent to the Fundy Trail. Because of the campground and the many people who stay there, this area usually has a lot of people around, so the birding may not be ideal.

Pawtuckaway Lake is on the east side, but most birding is done in the large forested area in the western part of the park. That area includes Middle Mountain and South Mountain, trails through the extensive forest, ponds, and scattered open wetlands. The flies come out after mid-June, so try to visit before then. Of course, most of this rather large park is not explored by birders on an annual basis and surprises likely await in the more remote areas.

The Fundy Trail between the campground area and the boat launch area passes through woods and by Burnham Marsh. It can be productive, but because of the nearby campground and the many people who stay there, it is often crowded.

Notable Trails

The TrailFinder website and the Hike-NewEngland website have trail maps and descriptions of hikes at the state park.

Last updated October 25, 2023